Hypersonix USA, Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA, is partnering with Rocket Lab USA, Inc., Long Beach, California, for the first launch of DART AE, a single-use, hydrogen-fuelled, scramjet demonstrator with the world’s first entirely additively manufactured airframe in high temperature alloy.
Defense Innovation Unit’s (DIU’s) hypersonic and high-cadence testing capabilities (HyCAT) project and its mission partners are prototyping a suite of modern, low-cost, high-cadence, dual-use airborne testing platforms (vehicles) that provide data that accelerates the evaluation of potential systems, concepts, technologies, and mission sets.
Hypersonix was selected to provide a vehicle solution for the HyCAT project. The scramjet engine requires a boost to Mach 5 in order to self-ignite. Once flying at this speed, the oxygen-breathing and hydrogen-fuelled engine, manufactured out of high temperature alloys, is capable of accelerating to speeds of up to Mach 7.
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Hypersonix’s solution, DART AE, makes significant use of Additive Manufacturing and is powered by a single patented additively manufactured SPARTAN scramjet engine. The advanced fixed geometry of the engine and smart design of the DART AE vehicle developed by Hypersonix provide a simple, reliable service.
Rocket Lab’s Hypersonic Accelerator Suborbital Test Electron (HASTE) rocket will safely bring DART AE to its initial operating speed, allowing DART AE to demonstrate its non-ballistic flight patterns, acceleration, flexible engine burns and up to 1000 km range, and collect valuable flight data from its journey at hypersonic speed.
Hypersonix and Rocket Lab, two new space companies, are reported to have been considering avenues of cooperation since 2020. The two companies share a similar outlook on customer requirements in a growing market for simple solutions to high availability and high cadence launch. This opportunity to work together will show the attractive benefits of a new space culture and approach.
“We have looked at various launch providers globally, as DART AE is designed to work with a variety of boosters,” stated David Waterhouse, CEO Hypersonix. “We are particularly excited to get our first ride from Rocket Lab. Their track record of successful launches, their team as well as their rockets are impressive and we look forward to seeing DART AE fly for the first-time next year.”
Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck added, “We look forward to partnering with the innovative team at Hypersonix to deliver highly capable, frequent, and cost-effective hypersonic and suborbital test opportunities.”