XTEK Ltd (ASX:XTE) and project partner Skykraft Pty Ltd have won an International Space Investment: Expand Capability grant from the Australian Space Agency that will fund the design and qualify a launch stack system that deploys constellations of up to 30 small satellites into low earth orbit from low-cost rockets.
This project will use XTEK’s XTclave™ technology, which has unique technical advantages in space applications.
Investors responded positively with XTEK shares increasing as much as 20% to an intra-day high of 81.5 cents.
XTEK managing director Philippe Odouard said the grant represented a significant milestone for XTEK’s composite capabilities while the recognition from the Australian Government and global collaboration provided external validation of the technology.
He said: "This 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.”
The company is 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 will 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 will be fabricated using high-quality, void-free, lightweight structural composite material that is ideally suited for space applications.
This advanced manufacturing process, together with 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 launch certification and validation will be carried out in collaboration with New Space India Limited, the commercial provider of India’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV).
Achieving weight savings
Skykraft managing director James Prior added: “A critical factor in any launch is the weight of the spacecraft and the launch systems used to release the spacecraft into orbit.
"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.”
The companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the co-engineering and potential manufacture of small spacecraft and launcher systems, on June 12, 2019.