Meet the Project ThunderStruck Team

team_medium1The Project ThunderStruck Team

by Robert Brand

Over the next week I will introduce you to the entire team that makes up Project ThunderStruck. Remember that There are two parts to ThunderStruck the test phases and the total Spacecraft. Similarly, there are two types of people that we will introduce to you. Those that are helping with the test phases and those that are part of the core team, here for the “long haul” to build a spacecraft.

We are moving aggressively to ensure that we stay on our chosen time frame and we are also working for world coverage and support. I quite like the small image at top right as the team is lifting the direction from flat to “UP”- an obvious direction for a spacecraft.

The team is made up of people mainly from Australia, but we have invitations out to people from other countries that will be dedicated to making the project a global success.

Similarly we also have companies, universities and even government bodies supporting part or all of the project.

We will be letting you know the big picture, because it will be impossible to build this spacecraft without solid support from those that have the expertise in the relevant field. Similarly we may end up using old and outdated technology without the proper guidance and support.

Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF)

For instance, today I spoke with the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF). Please note that before I go any further, there is no agreement or other offers associated with this first contact, but the contact is both important and mission critical in my opinion. The ANFF says on their website:


ANFF logoEstablished under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS), ANFF provides researchers and industry with access to state-of-the-art fabrication capabilities through a network of 8 nodes including 21 institutions throughout Australia. The ANFF facility portfolio consists of over 500 instruments with projects valued at over $200m. ANFF nodes draw on existing infrastructure and expertise providing a critical mass of capabilities in their respective specialisations. Each node provides their facilities on an open access basis enabling researchers to engage in interdisciplinary research across the following fields:

  • Micro and Nano electronics
  • Microfluidics and MEMS
  • Bio-nano applications
  • Advanced materials
  • Sensors and medical devices
  • Photonics

ANFF provides services for both academic researchers and industry. Researchers are able to either gain direct access to facilities under expert guidance, contract for specialised products to be made or undertake contract research projects.

I believe that this group of laboratories, clean rooms, test centres, etc are an invaluable facility for the future of space. Under local staff guidance, it is even possible to be trained in the use of some specialised equipment and be able to use it with your own staff. Naturally there is a cost with this, but imagine if you needed to build, buy of create this yourself.

A later phone call to the University of NSW Aerospace Dept was also greeted with a strong welcome. There was a lot discussed and I have been invited to speak at an upcoming event on April 1st that is all about CubesSats. I mentioned John Moody in a recent post. He is building an Australian Spaceport. I understand that he is also speaking on the day.

As momentum builds so do the spin-offs. other groups are finding the project reigniting their stalled projects. Project ThunderStruck has become a catalyst in the space sector. Universities are looking for places for their students as interns. It is a rare thing to find intern work in the space sector here in Australia. Possible Joint Ventures are already on the table and we are considering our next steps.

ThunderStruck is about to become again embedded in the Australian mindset. First as a hit for ACDC and now as an Australian Spacecraft. Fly me to the moon maybe another song that we try out once we build the commercial version of the craft. Not to land, but to swing around the moon and on to Mars. Now that would be a nice shakedown cruise to check out the craft!

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