Gippsland, Victoria based DefendTex will use $3 million in Cooperative Research Centre Program funding announced last week to scale up its successful demonstration 3D printing of small-scale rocket motors.
The demonstration, funded by an earlier CRC grant, will be scaled in a three year project to produce Australia’s first 3D printed rocket boosters in modular sizes that can take a craft into space.
DefendTex is leading the project along with RMIT, Centre for Additive Manufacturing, Defence Science Technology Group (DSTG) and Rocktech Pty Ltd.
DefendTex CEO Travis Reddy said: “The novel approach of additive manufacturing will allow for reduced cost, waste and greater responsiveness for space access, enabling domestic production of commercial rocket boosters which translates to affordable space access for Australia’s emerging space industry.”
While imported rocket boosters are available, the regulatory burden and cost combined with foreign government control on their use are significant barriers.
Reddy said: “A few years ago, little funding and support was available for early-stage research in space technology, and through the Cooperative Research Centre Program the opportunity for collaborative engagement between academia, industry and defence has been made possible.
“This is allowing Australia to rapidly strengthen capability and expertise in this field to achieve game changing breakthroughs, future-proofing our economy and capturing a greater share of the space launch market”.
DefendTex produces unmanned aerial vehicles, body armour, chemicals such as pepper spray for security forces and cast composites and Polymer Bonded Explosives (PBX).
The company plans to fill a space industry capability gap where there are no commercially available, domestically manufactured rocket boosters for launch in Australia.
DefendTex’s recent award is its fourth Cooperative Research Centre Project (CRC-P).
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