"Boulia, we have a problem."
It's not certain if Gilmour Space Technologies uttered those exact words but their planned rocket launch on the weekend in North West Queensland failed to blast off.
The Gold Coast-based team tried to launch their 8.6-metre 1600kg 'One Vision' rocket from an undisclosed property near Boulia on the weekend but high winds meant a two day delay.
When they finally got going on Monday July 29, GST's attempted to get their rocket airborne failed after problems developed just seconds from launch.
GST's CEO, Adam Gilmour said the launch was trying to to flight test their proprietary orbital-class hybrid rocket engine and demonstrate their mobile launch capability.
"At T-7 seconds to launch, the test rocket suffered an anomaly that resulted in the premature end of this mission," Mr Gilmour said.
"Initial investigations show that a pressure regulator in the oxidiser tank had failed to maintain required pressure, and this anomaly resulted in some damage to the tank and rocket."
Mr Gilmour said there was no explosion due to the safe nature of hybrid rocket engines, and no observable damage to the engine.
"Despite failing to launch, our team successfully tested the mobile launch platform and mission control centre, which had journeyed over 1800 km to the test site," he said.
The automatic 'load-and-launch' ground support system performed nominally through countdown, and went automatically into safe mode to dilute the oxidiser when the tank was compromised."
Mr Gilmour said with this mobile launch system, they had the capability to launch a light orbital vehicle from anywhere in Australia.
"Our team is safe and understandably disappointed not to have completed the mission," he said.
"It was a third-party component that failed and we will be following up on the matter with them. In any case, rocket engineering is all about testing, failing, learning and rebuilding."
Mr Gilmour said one Vision was a development and test rocket, and their learnings from from the Boulia failure have already informed many design features in their next vehicle.
"Gilmour Space will now look to launch an enhanced version of this suborbital rocket in the near future, and test more of the technologies we will require for our orbital launches," he said.
"We would appreciate your continued support as we work to build a safe and reliable road to space for the next generation of small satellites in LEO (Low Earth Orbit)."
North West Star