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Hypersonix’s spaceplane deal with NASDAQ firm

Hypersonix Launch Systems has agreed a deal to provide 20 of its hypersonic “spaceplanes” to the NASDAQ-listed defence firm Kratos.

The Brisbane-based company hopes the deal, which will go through once the system has been successfully demonstrated, will allow it to “significantly” expand its presence in the US.

The announcement comes months after Hypersonix was chosen to supply the US Department of Defense with one of its vehicles for testing in a breakthrough moment for the local hypersonic industry.

While hypersonic tech – defined as flying at least five times the speed of sound – is nothing new, countries are currently in an arms race to develop the next generation of missiles that are so manoeuvrable in mid-air, they can’t be intercepted or detected.


Hypersonic technology is also believed to be able to one day create aircraft that can travel into space, creating an alternative to traditional vertical rocket blast-offs.

Co-founder Michael Smart, who invented the “Spartan” engine that will power its vehicles, previously told Space Connect’s sister brand, Australian Aviation, his long-term aim is to fly customers to space “like you fly with Qantas”.

The new agreement will see the NASDAQ-listed Kratos Defense & Security Solutions procure up to 20 “DART AE” systems from Hypersonix, once the flight system has been “successfully completed and demonstrated”.

David Waterhouse, Hypersonix chief executive officer, said, “We are excited to begin manufacturing and supplying DART AE vehicles to the US market as soon as possible.


“To team with a demonstrated proven industry leader like Kratos, to provide this game-changing capability, is a significant step forward for our company, our stakeholders, and the successful execution of our strategy and business plan.

“We are proud that DART AE will fill an important role, including as a hypersonic test system and platform, collecting critical flight data related to multiple mission applications at hypersonic speeds.”

Kratos said it has previously launched “multiple” Australian hypersonic missions in collaboration with the Defense and Science Technology Group (DSTG) and the University of Queensland (UQ).

Space Connect previously reported how Hypersonix was awarded a US patent for the engine that will power the “Dart AE”.

The “Spartan” differs from traditional scramjets because it is fuelled by environmentally friendly hydrogen and can propel its aircraft forward at 12 times the speed of sound.

It also crucially allows the vehicle to be steered rather than restricted to a traditional ballistic-style trajectory.

“Our team has already integrated my inventions and fresh ideas into various additional features that cement our technological leadership in hypersonic propulsion and flight,” Smart said.

Adam Thorn

Adam Thorn

Adam is a journalist who has worked for more than 40 prestigious media brands in the UK and Australia. Since 2005, his varied career has included stints as a reporter, copy editor, feature writer and editor for publications as diverse as Fleet Street newspaper The Sunday Times, fashion bible Jones, media and marketing website Mumbrella as well as lifestyle magazines such as GQ, Woman’s Weekly, Men’s Health and Loaded. He joined Momentum Media in early 2020 and currently writes for Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.

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