Under the MoU, XTEK and Skykraft will work together to co-engineer spacecraft and launcher structures and identify opportunities for the supply of these structures out of XTEK’s patented XTclave™ production facility.
XTEK’s role is the development of advanced composite fibre-reinforced-plastic (FRP) material selection, component designs and processing technologies of components.
The company has begun working on a lightweight carbon fibre satellite structure design for Skykraft to be produced using its proprietary XTclave technology.
XTEK managing director Philippe Odouard said: “This MoU with Skykraft represents a significant commercialisation milestone for XTEK’s composite capabilities.
“This provides external validation of the XTclave technology and provides us a valuable opportunity to expand our capabilities and presence in the growing Australian space composites sector and beyond the defence sector.
“We are looking forward to working closely with Skykraft to develop exciting space solutions, while also accelerating the commercialisation of our proprietary XTclave technology.”
XTclave technology used to supply composite parts for space applications
While XTEK remains primarily focused on the defence sector, there has been an increasing interest in the XTclave technology in other applications.
This has been driven by the potential enhanced performance characteristics offered in by XTclave produced advanced composites.
As such, the space market represents a new target sector which broadens XTEK’s XTclave commercialisation plans.
XTclave technology advantages include potential plastic outgassing reduction, which represents a serious concern for all plastics used in space, and achieving higher specific strength-to-weight ratios due to the ultrahigh processing pressure.
Following the MoU, XTEK and Skykraft will work towards a supply agreement between the parties for composite spacecraft and launcher systems.
Given the attractiveness of the space sector and complimentary nature to the target defence sector, XTEK intends to build a space composites design and production capability underpinned by the XTclave technology and a new factory in Australia.
Separately, XTEK is completing additional work on launcher systems and satellite deployment composite parts for space applications.