SINGAPORE (Feb 22): Adam Gilmour had been a banker for more than 20 years when he left his job in 2012 to realise his boyhood dream of developing space technology, especially rockets.

Today, the CEO and co-founder of Gilmour Space Technologies leads a team that designs and builds hybrid rockets, which he claims are cheaper, more environmentally friendly and safer.

This is because the company’s hybrid-propellant rockets — unlike most commercial rockets in operation today — use a liquid oxidiser and a proprietary solid fuel. This overcomes long-standing performance issues with traditional hybrid rockets, especially explosions.

Gilmour Space’s rockets will be carrying a payload — such as a satellite — into space.

While the company’s rockets have yet to be commercialised, test performances of its engines have shown promise.

The space industry is expected to grow into an enormous and lucrative one in the coming years. According to a Morgan Stanley report last year, the global space industry is forecast to generate revenue of US$1.1 trillion ($1.48 trillion) or more in 2040, up from US$350 billion in 2018. 

With declining launch cost and commercial players warm up to business applications using satellite technology, this provides opportunities for companies such as Gilmour Space.

“Our vision is to be world-famous in developing fantastic space technology quickly and cheaply. This could involve technology required for deep-space missions, space mining or even trips to the Moon or Mars. We want to be right out there in space because that is where the future is,” says Gilmour.  

Find out more about the CEO’s ambitions for his company in this week’s issue of The Edge Singapore (issue 870, week of Feb 25). Login to read the full story, Ex-banker shoots for space with better, cheaper rockets, or click here to subscribe.