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Ex-US ambassador appointed chair of Hypersonix

A former Coalition minister and ambassador to the US has been appointed chair of the board at Hypersonix Launch Systems.

Arthur Sinodinos, former chief of staff to prime minister John Howard, also served as minister for industry, innovation and science from 2011–19 and as Australia’s US ambassador from 2020–23.

He took over from co-founder David Waterhouse last month, with Waterhouse taking up the role of deputy chair.

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 that 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.

The Australian company is seen as one of the world’s pioneers in these techniques and has previously said its vehicles could one day fly customers to space “like you fly with Qantas”.

“Hypersonix is a great Australian success story and I am grateful to have led the company through the early start-up stage, establishing our first foothold in the US Defence market and laying the groundwork for where we are now,” said Waterhouse.

“I’m excited to see the heights Arthur’s extensive experience will help us reach and I look forward to continuing my work with Arthur and my fellow board members as we embark on the next chapter for the company.”


During his time as ambassador, Sinodinos played a role in finalising the AUKUS agreement between Australia, the UK, and the US, which includes hypersonic and counter-hypersonic capabilities as a designated advanced technology.

Hypersonix chief executive officer Matt Hill said Sinodinos brings a “wealth of knowledge” and connections to the company.

“The executive team is very excited to draw on his experience and extensive insight into government, defence, and industry,” he said.

“Arthur’s time as ambassador to the United States will be invaluable to inform and guide our global growth strategy. We have big plans, commencing with the upcoming first flight of our DART hypersonic flyer with the US Defense Innovation Unit.”

In a statement, Sinodinos thanked Waterhouse for his stewardship of Hypersonix.

“When I first learned about Hypersonix in 2022, I was amazed by the access-to-space technology and ‘green-fuelled’ launch vehicles that they were developing,” he said.

“There is a critical need for hypersonic technology in defence, and an equally significant potential for commercial applications.

“Hypersonix has the right leadership team in place and I look forward to guiding and supporting them to maximise growth potential and bring the product line to market.”

Sinodinos took over from Waterhouse, who co-founded the company with Michael Smart, on 18 March.

Hypersonix has recorded a number of recent wins, including being selected by the US Defense Innovation Unit for a program and being awarded a US patent for its “Spartan” scramjet.

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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