iLAuNCH Trailblazer Project Aims to Reduce Satellite Mass with Carbon Composite Technology

iLAuNCH Trailblazer Project Aims to Reduce Satellite Mass with Carbon Composite Technology

Cost can be a huge barrier for Australian companies to reach low Earth orbit (LEO), with payloads billed per kilogram of weight by launch providers. At the same time, structures need to be robust to survive launch and operations in the extreme and harsh temperature environments of space. The next iLAuNCH Trailblazer project aims to reduce weight in satellites through the additive manufacturing of lightweight and thermally stable composite structures that will ultimately save on the cost of accessing space.

Teaming up with The Australian National University and industry partner New Frontier Technologies, this Trailblazer project will develop a material solution based on carbon fiber.

“This first Materials and Processing commercialization project will develop protective coatings for carbon composite components that will be deployed in space environments for long durations,” said iLAuNCH Trailblazer Executive Director, Darin Lovett.

“We are developing world-class sovereign manufacturing capability that is cost competitive and utilizes the latest advancements in materials; vital for realizing the full potential of an Australian space manufacturing industry.”

In LEO, spacecraft are exposed to a range of environmental hazards that can damage their structural integrity, including UV irradiation, atomic oxygen, high-energy particles, and space debris. These environmental hazards can cause surface erosion, cracking, and delamination of composite materials, which can lead to a reduction in the mechanical properties of the material and can compromise the structural integrity of the spacecraft.

The project will leverage material research capacity in the Research School of Physics at the Australian National University; including nanomaterials fabrication and characterization, x-ray computed tomography (CT) imaging, and space testing capability at the Australian Advanced Instrumentation Centre (AITC) at Mt. Stromlo.

“The target applications are satellite structures such as struts, booms, and reflectors. The primary aim of the project is the development and validation of carbon-fibre/thermoplastic composite structures for these applications with coatings that provide improved radiation shielding and resistance to atomic oxygen degradation,” said New Frontier Technologies Director and CEO, Paul Compston.

“We will develop coating application methods that are compatible with our automated composites manufacturing technology to produce structures that are lightweight, to help to reduce launch costs, and have added protection once deployed in the harsh space environment.” The coatings will be based on nanomaterial technology developed using the expertise of ANU.

“We are pleased to partner with New Frontier Technologies,” said the Australian National University’s Research School of Physics, Professor Patrick Kluth. “We will use our expertise in nanomaterial science and characterization capabilities to develop and optimize robust coatings that meet performance requirements for space applications.”

“The strength-to-weight ratio of these materials will allow a substantial reduction in mass which is a fantastic benefit to space applications,” said New Frontier Technologies Director and CEO, Paul Compston.

This activity will demonstrate innovative nanomaterial technology, novel designs for increased structural efficiency, and rapid precision manufacturing of satellite components with a huge cost benefit to decreases in weight while maintaining technical performance.

Click here to learn more about iLAuNCH Space Accelerator.

Publisher: SatNow
Tags:-  SatelliteLEOLaunchGround

GNSS Constellations - A list of all GNSS satellites by constellations


Satellite NameOrbit Date
BeiDou-3 G4Geostationary Orbit (GEO)17 May, 2023
BeiDou-3 G2Geostationary Orbit (GEO)09 Mar, 2020
Compass-IGSO7Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)09 Feb, 2020
BeiDou-3 M19Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M20Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M21Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M22Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 I3Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M23Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019
BeiDou-3 M24Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019


Satellite NameOrbit Date
GSAT0223MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0224MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0219MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0220MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0221MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0222MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0215MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0216MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0217MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0218MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Kosmos 2569--07 Aug, 2023
Kosmos 2564--28 Nov, 2022
Kosmos 2559--10 Oct, 2022
Kosmos 2557--07 Jul, 2022
Kosmos 2547--25 Oct, 2020
Kosmos 2545--16 Mar, 2020
Kosmos 2544--11 Dec, 2019
Kosmos 2534--27 May, 2019
Kosmos 2529--03 Nov, 2018
Kosmos 2527--16 Jun, 2018


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Navstar 82Medium Earth Orbit19 Jan, 2023
Navstar 81Medium Earth Orbit17 Jun, 2021
Navstar 78Medium Earth Orbit22 Aug, 2019
Navstar 77Medium Earth Orbit23 Dec, 2018
Navstar 76Medium Earth Orbit05 Feb, 2016
Navstar 75Medium Earth Orbit31 Oct, 2015
Navstar 74Medium Earth Orbit15 Jul, 2015
Navstar 73Medium Earth Orbit25 Mar, 2015
Navstar 72Medium Earth Orbit29 Oct, 2014
Navstar 71Medium Earth Orbit02 Aug, 2014


Satellite NameOrbit Date
NVS-01Geostationary Orbit (GEO)29 May, 2023
IRNSS-1IInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)12 Apr, 2018
IRNSS-1HSub Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO)31 Aug, 2017
IRNSS-1GGeostationary Orbit (GEO)28 Apr, 2016
IRNSS-1FGeostationary Orbit (GEO)10 Mar, 2016
IRNSS-1EGeosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)20 Jan, 2016
IRNSS-1DInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)28 Mar, 2015
IRNSS-1CGeostationary Orbit (GEO)16 Oct, 2014
IRNSS-1BInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Apr, 2014
IRNSS-1AInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)01 Jul, 2013