FAQ

Hypersonix

What is Hypersonix?

  • An Australian startup with the goal of providing sustainable access to space and with the backing of over 30 years of world-leading Scramjet research at the University of Queensland.

Why do we need Hypersonix?

  • Space based technology is critical to the everyday lives of Australians, just read the expert panel review for the new Australian Space Agency. Being able to put our own satellites into space in a sustainable manner is important, and Hypersonix has key enabling Scramjet technology to help make that happen.
  • Launching from Australia means local customers can easily ensure safety and security of their payloads.
  • Hypersonix will be able to launch often, getting satellites into orbit faster and making money sooner.

But aren't SpaceX already using reusable rockets?

  • SpaceX rockets, along with a number of other providers, are optimised for launching heavy payloads into space. Whilst ridesharing is an option, satellites sharing a ride don’t get a big say over the orbit and need to book a long time in advance. Hypersonix, acting similarly to an airline will be able to be very responsive to short notice, small payload requirements.
  • Hypersonix is developing a reusable rocket system for launching the small satellites of the future very often. We’ll help put whole networks of satellites into space in very specific orbits.

Our Crowdfunding Campaign

What will we do with the funds raised?

  • Hypersonix has developed a technology roadmap for building its reusable launch system. The next stop is to demonstrate our ability to control a Boomerang booster in the re-entry phase and safely land it.
  • Hypersonix will use the funding to construct a scale Boomerang Booster prototype and high altitude balloon testing apparatus. We will develop test plans and work with the authorities to obtain appropriate permissions to test and ensure that adequate safety protocols are in place. We will then conduct a series of tests, leading up to a ‘re-entry’ test.
  • The re-entry test will involve sending the Boomerang Booster up into the stratosphere on a high altitude balloon, and then dropping it. It will accelerate to supersonic speeds, and we will demonstrate that we can control it, slow it down, deploy a wing and land it.

Why do we need to do a re-entry test?

  • Controlling a transonic unmanned glider is a difficult task, and Hypersonix needs to develop the technology to use it on the Boomerang Boosters.
  • Whilst difficult, we believe this is also an achievable challenge that will demonstrate to the world what Hypersonix is capable of. This will give investors confidence to help us develop the full reusable rocket system.

When will we do the re-entry test?

  • We have an ambitious project plan which says we can complete the test within 12 months of starting. Whilst we will make every effort to achieve this, we’ll make contingency plans to allow us to finish even if it takes 2 years

What will we do after the re-entry test?

  • We will be conducting development activities on the scramjet in parallel, success with the re-entry test will enable us to work towards full scale development of our reusable launch system

How much funding do we need for the test?

  • Developing a transonic glider, even a prototype one, and testing it with stratospheric balloons won’t be cheap. We can’t and won’t compromise on safety, but by using a lean and effective team and innovative manufacturing methods we’ve estimated we can complete the project for one million dollars.

Why are we using crowdfunding?

  • We want to provide sustainable access to space, and develop a system people can be proud of. We hope to play a part in building a growing high tech space economy and provide jobs for the future. We think people will want to help that become a reality.

What crowdfunding rewards will we be offering?

  • Lots – including items that have gone to the edge of space! Stay tuned.

About Hypersonix technical systems design

How is the Hypersonix system different to other launch systems?

  • We use a hypersonic jet for our second stage. Being able to collect the majority of the fuel mixture from the air along the way rather than bring it with us is a game changer. We can use this weight saving to make a more robust craft and therefore make it reusable. This allows us to fly into space, reuse over 80% of our launch system, and launch often and sustainably.

Will it work?

  • Yes. We are building the simplest, minimum viable product initially. While scramjets have been shown to work at speeds as high as Mach 20, we are focused on the Mach 5 to Mach 10 range, which is the sweet spot, the area we have most thoroughly researched and know that we can maintain strong ignition and acceleration. This gives us enough advantage to achieve reusability. Once we are operating and profitable, we can continue to gather data and evolve the design to stretch out those limits. So this isn't a try it and see venture. We are building what we know will work. 

How do we stop the scramjet from melting?

  • Recent technological improvements have led to the development of high temperature mouldable materials that we can build our scramjets from. This materials can sustain temperatures of up to XXX without melting.

What is the Boomerang Booster?

  • Just what it sounds like, a booster that comes back! The Boomerang Booster is a rocket used in our first stage, and we add a deployable wing and control surfaces to allow the booster to return to an airfield to be refuelled and reused.

How much of it is reusable?

  • Our launch system is over 80% reusable, including the Boomerang boosters and hypersonic jet.

Will our system create any pollution?

  • The hypersonic jet uses hydrogen fuel, which, when mixed and burned with oxygen in the air, creates exhaust that is simply superheated steam and doesn’t pollute the atmosphere.
  • We haven’t selected the core of our Boomerang booster yet, but it may use a traditional rocket fuel initially and produce some pollution, but we will continue to innovate in this area. In the meantime, we will seek to offset the impact of our rockets.

Won’t the acceleration of the Scramjet damage the payload?

  • No, the acceleration of the Scramjet is actually smoother than a rocket. Even a “squishy” payload like a human would be fine. Having said that, the acceleration will be similar to what a powerful sports car can produce, so it would be quite a thrilling ride!

How often could this system launch?

  • We plan to launch at least once a week. In a similar way to airlines, we will refine the process where it becomes a matter of refuelling and a check over by engineers.

How much payload could it carry?

  • We’re targeting approximately 150kg of payload to Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

How much would it cost?

  • We plan to be competitive with other small size low cost launch providers, and have a per kg launch cost well below today’s rates. Being able to reuse our scramjet and Boomerang Booster massively reduces the cost per launch, since the actual fuel itself is only about 1% of the current cost of a launch. The rest is in the cost of the rockets that usually have to be thrown away.

When could we have the full-scale system ready?

  • How does before humans get to Mars sound? We plan to be launching satellites by 2025.

How much funding would we need for the full system?

  • About a cool $USD150 million.

How would we get funding for the commercial system?

  • We have a strong business case for meeting the upcoming demand for small satellite launches. The space industry has delivered well above average returns and the stated goal of Australia’s Space Agency is to triple the size of Australia’s space industry by 2035. We believe there are long-term investors who will realise the benefits of investing in Hypersonix. The crowdfunded project to continue significant tests will help to make further investment more attractive

Would it be safe to carry passengers on a scramjet?

  • Yes, but it makes more sense to start with satellite launches first and develop a strong record of reliability and safety before we start taking humans on board.

What else could we use hypersonic technology for?

  • Super fast Earth to Earth transport is an attractive problem which could be solved with Scramjets.