Defence materials manufacturer signs with Australian Space Agency

The latest partnership between a local manufacturer and the Australian Space Agency focusses on lightweight composite materials.

Canberra-based engineering company, XTEK, signed an agreement with the Agency to further develop and produce these composites, which are ideal for space applications.

The Agency has previously partnered with satellite start-up Myriota, and these parternships are designed to grow the space industry as a whole, rather than seeking to bring all operations in house, as head of the Agency, Dr Megan Clark, identified.

“This Statement of Intent will assist in the development of space-related industries as the Australian Space Agency aims to grow the local space sector from $3.9 billion to $12 billion over the next ten years, and create up to 20,000 new space jobs,” said Clark.

The ASX-traded XTEK has until now worked in the defence sector, as well as the mining and earth-observation fields. As Clark highlighted, agreements such as the one made with the Agency allow companies that have worked in space-adjacent fields to expand further.

“XTEK intends to employ 45 new engineers, technicians and machinists over the next three to five years, boosting the capability in the sector. This statement also highlights how manufacturing companies can diversify their activities into the growing space sector in Australia,” said Clark.

The Agency will be closely look at the XTclave, developed by XTEK, for it spotential to support space activities. The composite curing and consolidation technology is used for ballistic protection laminates and operates at up to 300 bar and 180 degrees Celsius. According to XTEK, the technology allows for lighter, strong, and stiffer composite articles.

“XTEK has in depth process engineering knowledge, product development and prototyping capabilities which enable it to provide the necessary design, build and testing support to Australia’s space sector. These unique capabilities provide a substantial edge, which can strengthen Australia’s position in contributing to international programs,” said Phillippe Odouard, managing director of XTEK.