Manufacturing News

SoMAC CRC launches with Gilmour into spacecraft composites

Manufacturing News

The new Sovereign Manufacturing Automation for Composites CRC (SoMAC CRC) has launched its first-ever research collaboration which could lead to the development of a new cost-effective solution for protecting space launch vehicles and spacecraft against extreme heat and pressure.

Space vehicles can experience temperatures exceeding 3,000°C during launch and atmospheric re-entry. A common solution is to use carbon phenolic composites – a substance made of layers of carbon fibre fabric held together by a special plastic glue.

Being undertaken in partnership with Gilmour Space Technologies and The University of Queensland (UQ), SoMAC CRC’s inaugural project will see the development of cost-efficient, sovereign high-temperature materials using polymer-based ablative materials.

UQ has been pioneering high temperature ceramic and polymer matrix composite applications in Australia for some time.

Co-Director for the Centre for Advanced Materials Processing and Manufacturing (AMPAM) at UQ Dr Michael Heitzmann said: “The Australian space technologies sector is in growth phase, with Gilmour Space leading the way in launch vehicles

“Partnering with Gilmour Space and SoMAC CRC on this project is an exciting next step for us – and for the manufacturing industry – as we work together to make space technology more accessible and cost-competitive.”

Gilmour has been readying its Eris rocket for its maiden launch – Australia’s first orbital rocket system.

Gilmour Space’s Program Manager for Launch Vehicles David Doyle said high temperature composite materials for Eris launch vehicles would help provide reliable and cost-effective access to space.

Dr Steve Gower, SoMAC CRC CEO said: “SoMAC CRC is open for business, and this inaugural project is exemplary as an industry and research collaboration.

“Working together with partners Gilmour Space and UQ, we are seeking to resolve practical industry challenges, while simultaneously building workforce capability and capacity through Higher Degree by Research (HDR) training and industry placements.

“We are excited to have lift-off, and to start deploying our main mission – to position Australia as a future leader in composites technologies.”

Further reading:
Gilmour shows off its Eris rocket to PM Albanese

Picture: Gilmour Space Technologies/Eris second stage firing

Share this Story
Manufacturing News

Stay Informed

Go to Top