Zero emissions spaceplane parts to be manufactured by Hypersonix


Delta Velos visual. Image credit: Hypersonix.

Hypersonix Launch Systems, an Australian engineering, design and build company, is investigating the manufacture of flight-critical components for their green hydrogen-powered launch vehicles at the University of Sydney. 

Hypersonix signed a Master Research Collaboration Agreement (MRCA) with the University of Sydney to research and manufacture the components for Delta Velos – a zero emissions, hypersonic spaceplane. The launch vehicle will be capable of deploying small satellites into low earth orbit.  

Delta Velos will be powered by four green hydrogen-fuelled scramjet engines, enabling carbon neutral propulsion. It will also include the world’s first 3D printed, fixed geometry (no moving parts) scramjet engine in Australia, completed under the Australian Commercialisation grant awarded to Hypersonix in August 2020.  

Using next generation additive manufacturing technology, University of Sydney researchers will develop flight-critical components (including the spaceplane’s launch system), further versions of the scramjet engine (testing several material components) and vehicle fuselage at the university’s Sydney Manufacturing Hub. The hub was launched in December 2021 by minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade, Tourism and Sport, and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres. 

Hypersonix Launch Systems and Romar Engineering team, with Professor Simon Ringer. Image credit: University of Sydney.

The research team will be led by Professor Simon Ringer, a materials engineer and expert in materials development for additive manufacturing at the University of Sydney. Ringer’s team will work alongside Hypersonix chief technology officer, Dr Michael Smart.  

“We are delighted to be working alongside such an innovative, deep technology company like Hypersonix, using advanced 3D printing processes and world-class additive manufacturing facilities for such an important challenge,” Ringer said. 

“Additive manufacturing is making the previously impossible, possible. This includes the proposed manufacture of satellite-launching spaceplane components right here at the University of Sydney’s Darlington campus, situated in the very heart of Tech Central.” 

Hypersonix managing director David Waterhouse said the company had received a lot of interest for its recently announced DART AE project and would possibly involve the University of Sydney in that project too. 

“We are pleased to have found such 3D additive engineering facilities in Sydney and are impressed with the capabilities of Simon Ringer’s team,” Waterhouse said. “We are aiming to launch DART AE in the first quarter of 2023. It is good to be busy, right?” 

The joint project will commence in early 2022, with Hypersonix working in the facility to develop a series of smaller proof-of-concept launch vehicles to demonstrate the spaceplane’s efficacy. The first of these projects will be DART AE, a technology demonstrator and small version of Delta Velos, powered by one SPARTAN scramjet engine with a range of 500km, that could be used as a hypersonic target drone if required.