Hypersonix granted US patent for SPARTAN scramjet

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Image credit: Hypersonix

Aerospace company Hypersonix has been awarded a US patent for technology used in its SPARTAN scramjet design, which will power its in-development hypersonic ‘spaceplanes.’

The announcement comes months after the Brisbane-based company was chosen to supply the US Department of Defence with one of its vehicles for testing, marking an important turning point in the local hypersonic industry.

In particular, US Patent Number US11639700B2 protects for nearly 20 years some key features of an “Airframe integrated scramjet with fixed geometry and shape transition for hypersonic operation over a large Mach number range”. 

This patent brings Hypersonix’s patent portfolio to three, with the other two being Australian invention patents. 

Other features will be added as the development of our Unmanned Aerial Vehicle family continues, the company said in a news release. 

The design of Hypersonix is powered by hydrogen, which has a greater ISP than other fuels used in aerospace, such as RP1 Kerosene. 

Aside from emitting zero carbon dioxide and being non-polluting to the Earth’s atmosphere, clean-burning hydrogen allows the engine to switch on and off several times during flight, enabling a non-ballistic trajectory that conventional rockets cannot achieve, and it also has a longer range than other scramjets.

Using a high-temperature alloy material, the first SPARTAN prototype was 3D printed in December 2021 as part of a grant from Accelerating Commercialisation Australia (ACA) given to Hypersonix.

Additionally, Hypersonix recently declared the completion of a manufacturing prototype for the SPARTAN engine using ceramic matrix composite (CMC) material, enabling the engine to endure the greater temperatures anticipated at its top speed of Mach 12.

“We are grateful for the DIU’s confidence in Hypersonix as our first customer so early in our history. Many technologies have found their first success in the Defence market before getting applied in the commercial world,” said David Waterhouse, managing director of Hypersonix. 

He added, “And if there is one way for Hypersonix to grow the team faster in the current environment, the answer has to be to provide US Defence with unique capabilities.”

Hypersonix’s co-founders, Michael Smart, expressed his delight to have the company’s original ideas recognised by a US patent for the SPARTAN scramjet design.

“Our team has already integrated my inventions and fresh ideas into various additional features that cement our technological leadership in hypersonic propulsion and flight,” Smart concluded.