Professor Michael Smart is currently leading a team of engineers from the University of Queensland’s Centre for Hypersonics to begin flight tests as part of a three-stage space project know as SPARTAN.
The SPARTAN project is designed to capitalise on the gap in the satellite launch market where there has been a decrease in size and weight of satellites. Its main aim is to construct a reusable satellite launching system using hypersonic technology. However, there is no quick, cost effective way of putting them into orbit. Professor Smart believes his reusable scramjet launcher could make a significant contribution to reducing satellite launch costs and improving launch date flexibility.
'At the moment there's a lot of activity in the small satellite area,' says Smart. 'Currently, there are about 1,265 satellites orbiting in space, but the cost to launch a single satellite is astronomical. Our project's aim is to reduce this cost and make it more economically viable for smaller nations and organisations to launch their own satellites and monitor their own space activity through the development of a reusable space launch system’.
The SPARTAN program is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Australia’s hypersonic industry to join the space community.
For more information on the changes in travel and ‘getting to places’ in the future, you can access the full podcast from 612 ABC Brisbane featuring Professor Michael Smart.