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DefendTex to develop 3D printed rocket booster

DefendTex has already developed a Rotating Detonation Engine (RDE) under a separate Cooperative Research Centre Project. Image: DefendTex

Melbourne company DefendTex has been awarded its 4th Cooperative Research Centre Project (CRC-P) contract, worth $3 million, to produce Australia’s first 3D printed rocket booster.

DefendTex, as project lead, along with RMIT’s Centre for Additive Manufacturing, DST Group and Rocktech Pty Limited, have demonstrated successful 3D printing of small-scale rocket motors in a previous CRC-P and this three year project will scale the process to modular booster sizes capable of reaching orbit.

Travis Reddy, DefendTex CEO, stated, “The novel approach of additive manufacturing will allow for reduced cost, waste and greater responsiveness for s[ace 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.

“DefendTex will use the funding to join with industry and research partners to address Australia’s space industry capability gap where there are no commercially available, domestically manufactured rocket boosters for launch in Australia,” said Mr Darrel Chester, Federal MP for Gippsland.

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