Skykraft, in conjunction with project partner XTEK, have been awarded the Australian Space Agency’s International Space Investment: Expand Capability grant that will fully fund the design and qualify a launch stack system that deploys constellations of up to 30 SmallSats into low earth orbit from low cost rockets.
The launch certification and validation will be carried out in collaboration with New Space India Limited who are the commercial provider of India’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV).
The grant recognises the advantages of XTEK’s unique composite design capabilities and manufacturing technology, and strengthens the Company’s view that the space sector presents a compelling opportunity to further commercialise its XTclave™ technology.
XTEK is now working on a lightweight carbon fibre launch structure that will be manufactured using its XTclave™ composite curing technology and delivered from its manufacturing facility in South Australia.
XTEK can leverage the unique technical advantages of its XTclave™ technology to minimise the weight of the launch system while still retaining rigidity and strength; the launch system is to be fabricated using high-quality, void-free, lightweight structural composite material that is ideally suited for space applications.
The advanced manufacturing process, together with an in-house design, is expected to provide significant value in the Space market, where the weight of the spacecraft and launch system is what makes them expensive to launch.
“The award of this grant represents a significant milestone for XTEK’s composite capabilities,” XTEK Managing Director, Philippe Odouard, said.
“The recognition from the Australian Government and global collaboration provides external validation of our technology, and presents a valuable opportunity to further develop our advanced composites capabilities for space applications, with this project expected to further build our presence in the growing space composites sector globally.”
“A critical factor in any launch is the weight of the spacecraft and the launch systems used to release the spacecraft into orbit,” Skykraft Managing Director, James Prior, said.
“Our focus is to optimise this balance and achieve weight savings, while still retaining rigidity and strength, and so we are very pleased to be partnering with XTEK to utilise their advanced design and manufacturing capabilities through the XTclave™ technology.”