Australia’s Grollo Aerospace Aims for Hypersonic Passenger Flights, Orbital Vehicles

Mark Grollo races to space
The Herald Sun

Grollo Aerospace hopes to demonstrate a high-speed, high-altitude vehicle within five years. It plans to sell its technology overseas and hopes to eventually construct and operate space vehicles.

“We’d like to be at a stage where we are launching vehicles from Woomera,” Mark Grollo said. “But the ultimate goal is to have vehicles which take off from the standard runway and enter orbit. That’s the ultimate goal agencies all over the world are trying to achieve.”
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There’s more in Grollo Aerospace’s submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Economics.  The document that discusses the company’s work on an advanced wave rider technology.

“Grollo Aerospace with RMIT University is researching the technologies for the successful operation of a wave rider spacecraft in the earth’s upper atmosphere, propelled by a RAM-SCRAM-Rocket combined cycle propulsion system. Such a vehicle can be used for space tourism, trans-global passenger transportation or military applications. A wave rider is a vehicle that generates aerodynamic lifting from supersonic compression (shockwaves) of the airflow underneath the vehicle, therefore not requiring wings,” the report states.

“The advantages of a wave rider are that it uses aerodynamic lift for the spacecraft whilst in the atmosphere which significantly reduces the fuel quantity required to enter orbit. Hence a wave rider would allow larger payloads per launch and lower orbit insertion costs which at present are 20 million USD per 1000kg,” the report adds.

Grollo is working with the Australian Space Research Institute at the Woomera range in South Australia in the 2009/2010 time frame. However, Australia is not the only nation developing hypersonic technology.

“The failure of Australia to become active in the International space industry in a manner that allows Australian companies to bid as prime contractors will lead to Australia becoming technologically irrelevant,” the report warns. “As evidenced by the excellent work of QUT with the scramjet, the work by India, Japan, China, USA, Russia and Europe have now developed similar technologies. The need to become a collaborative player facilitating access for Australian companies to the international space industry and hence grow with these countries is essential to avoid Australia becoming technologically irrelevant.”