Support and Sponsorship.

dstoWe have DSTO a new Sponsor and also a University in Discussions.

I am pleased to announce that the Australian Government is helping Jason with the Phase 1 flight of ThunderStruck. They have come on board through the Defence Scientific and Technology Organisation (DSTO). They have supported us from the start but are now officially sponsors for the flight. They have offered equipment, test facilities and advice as part of the package making the value of their assistance very impressive. They have been slotted in as a Silver Sponsor based on the total value to the Project.

A Local University

Early in the new year I will be able to tell you about arrangements with a Sydney based University that has a strong interest in the project. I expect that there will be some work for interns and other people as the project ramps up. Legal documents have to be finalised before any announcement is made. Stay tuned.

Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)

So far I have had strong support from CASA in the area of demonstrating Safety. It unfortunately does not meet their rules for sponsorship, but there may be the possibility of information about ThunderStruck to be included in a number of their publications. Work is progressing. We are not ready to submit our request for an “Area Approval” for the flight, but this is imminent. I need to visit Longreach before we can proceed.

Longreach Mayor

Discussions with the Mayor of Longreach have been positive, but at this early stage, anything is possible. I will visit Longreach in January to check the area and see if it is suitable. More on that as we progress.

Model Aero Clubs

We are seeking support from them and it has been a requirement that it be seen that we are working with CASA before we will get support. They are being careful to protect themselves from claims that they are doing the wrong thing. Until we make the formal request from CASA, we will not get more than some basic help from these groups.

Platinum Sponsor

We have 2 contenders and both are major telecommunications providers. They both have proposals on the table from us that they are considering. One possibility is to have a mobile phone video the release from the balloon and relay it live to the ground via the local mobile phone network.

Australian Space Research Institute (ASRI)

We are hoping to get some discussions and support early in the new year. We have made contact and looking forward to how we can engage fully with ASRI.

How You Can Help

We need:

  • Technology – much off the shelf such as found in electronics stores
  • assistance with the airframe – Sydney Based is preferred
  • funding to buy what can’t be sponsored
  • vehicle usage / rental; accommodation; Petrol; 4 wheeled trailer with good suspension.
  • HAM Radio gear
  • Labour / help in general when things need to be moved and/or tested.
  • Anyone with graphics capabilities to create some pictures and animation

You can also link to our pages and tell everyone about the project.

Update – The Links in the ThunderStruck Chain

dstoUpdate – Things Happen in Order

Defence Science & Technology Organisation

I am pleased to say that we have finally gotten permission to announce that we have support from the Australian Department of Defence through the Defence Science and Technology Organisation. This is huge and we knew this would be pivotal to the direction that we took. It has taken time to finalise the arrangements and I am pleased to say they are on board as supporters and we hope that this will go one step further, but we will wait until next week for the final outcome. Even getting them as supporters is huge. We have already been their guests and invited to Brisbane to discuss hypersonics. As part of the arrangements, the hypersonics team will be providing mentoring to Jason, answering any questions to make ThunderStruck a success.

groundcover - Landscape around Longreach, Queensland.Longreach, Queensland

This now means that we can finalise a site for the launch and I can say that we are looking at Longreach in Queensland. It is flat and there is nothing much around to cause issues to the launch or landing. It seems ideal. I have spoken with the Mayor of Longreach and all is good from our first chat. Of course there is a lot more to consider. The concerns of the locals, the weather, the logistics and so much more, but so far so good


So where is Longreach? Let’s say it is a large town in Central Queensland. It is large by Central Queensland standards, but not big by coast Australian town comparisons. Once you see the area, you will understand. Let’s just say it is flat – very flat. Let’s also say that dust will be our biggest problem if the wind gets up.

The list below tells a story – these are the nearest big towns that most Australians know! A trip to McDonalds will cost you about $200 and day out of your life!

It will be a three day trip from Sydney with a large trailer or truck and we had better not forget anything. It will be a tough ride back to Sydney to pick up that essential part. The wet season looks like it will be very dry and that may be a problem. I suggested to the Mayor that we could hose down the launch area to stop the dust. His comment was “Where will ou get the water?” The sooner I get to town, the better. We really need to know what we are up against if we are to fly from Longreach. On a more positive note, we seem to be in a reasonable spot from a Civil Aviation Perspective. We need to be away from trunk routes.

Longreach city

Where Longreach is,5k
1181km north west of Brisbane1767km south west of Cairns

1854km east of Alice Springs

687km west of Rockhampton

416km to the nearest McDonalds

Airline Sponsorship / Support

So the next link in the chain is to get some help from an airline and we have something. We will finalise this shortly and announce the level of support. I need to get to Longreach and meet the various groups that would have an interest in the project. I need to learn about the mobile phone coverage and which carriers have the best coverage. We will be reporting on the support from carriers in another Update.

Once we visit Longreach, we can approach CASA (Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority).


Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)

CASA has said that we need to apply for Area Approval   to conduct the flight. This will require us to pay for the work that CASA needs to do to get the approval sorted out. This may be a “yes” or “no” and we may need to do more work to finally get a “yes”. We will need funding for the CASA work. it is not likely to be as much as $5K or more, but it is an unknown and may be as small as $1.5K. We have to prepare for the cost and the answer – positive or negative. It may be that they require us to move the launch site slightly to keep it clear of airline trunk routes. Our request must also answer safety questions and out mitigation or avoidance systems. It is up to us to demonstrate how we will make this flight safe for other aircraft sharing the sky.

Other Groups

Finally, there are many organisations that would like to support our activities, but are concerned that they may be supporting a group that is not following CASA’s rules and regulations. They need to see that we are doing the right thing or it could damage their relationship with CASA. The help that we need today may take months to secure – especially with the holidays season around the corner.

Luckily we are not launching until April! We look forward to the next Update.

Update 2

GLXP_Team_Logo_StellarUpdate 2. Sponsorship, Funding, Media and Visits!

Things are brewing and the project is about to rise to new heights – pun intended.

Keep an eye out for a new and incredible set of sponsors. Hey, we still need the KickStarter funding and that seems to have stalled, but we will be a fast finisher to get the goal level because simply this project needs your help. Ever want to help build a spacecraft? This is your chance to go in the records for all time that you helped ThunderStruck. Keep an eye out for our New Sponsors over the next few weeks!

PlusComms scaled Down Banner LogoI can tell you that the company I work for, PlusComms Pty Ltd, is a new Bronze Sponsor and so is Team Stellar, the amazing team going to the moon with a rover. Part of the Google Luna X Prize event. We know that they are amazing as i am a senior consultant for the team and Jason is a Student Representative. We they are amazing with our without us to be honest…. The head of team Stellar Captain Stjepan Bedić has agreed to be an adviser to Project ThunderStruck. Thanks Stjepan!

More on our sponsors in another post very soon.


KickStarter logoThe campaign got off to a bad start with my lack of experience. Add to that some massive changes in the projects direction and I will probably have to stop the current KickStart project and re-do the whole thing, coordinating the marketing better with the support opportunities. Yes, always something new to master, even when it is something as off-topic for ThunderStruck, as raising funds for the project.

scramspace_highres3So what is New?

DSTO’s Hypersonics Laboratory Visit!

Pretty much everything. We have some massive allies out their that really believe in the project. As you may know Australia is partnering with the US in SCRAM-JET technology and Australia is a world leader in scram-jet technology and test flights. The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) that is responsible for orchestrating much of Australia’s strategic direction have invited Jason and I to travel to Brisbane to visit their Hypersonics Laboratory next Tuesday. Stay tuned for any fun stuff that comes from this and of course serious stuff! We will be talking to world experts in supersonic flight. There is of course a lot of synergy between the projects at a basic level as it is all about supersonic flight. I promise to bring back lots of pictures. In the meantime have a look at these links:

Click Below to read more::

HIFiRE program          Hypersonic Flight


Avalon Airshow Feb 2015

It looks like we will be attending this major airshow in a few months time. There will be a significant opportunity to inspire kids with one of our airframes that we will use for the flight. We will have the real thing at the show and Jason will explain the fine details to anyone interested.

Click here for the show details: Avalon Airshow


newspapersMedia Appearances

It looks we will be in the press a lot during the life of this project and we already have had our fair share of press:

SMH / Age / Canberra Times, etc:

SMH, etc Tech story:

Daily Telegraph:

We are also in all the local papers, but their stories are pretty poor and misleading. One paper showed a balloon payload, but spoke about Jason building a supersonic craft. They did say however that he had not started building the craft.

Radio interviews have happened in Melbourne and soon in Sydney – the Linda Mottram Morning Show on 702 has us booked in as does the Breakfast show. Sunrise will be videoing us next week for a story. We will appear on Science shows and expect that a documentary will be filmed of the whole event.

Stay Tuned – we will keep you updated.