Australians in Space Video Conference Program










Australians in Space
VSSEC Space Week Video Conference Program
17th - 21st October, 2011 


Polycom Special Event in Associatio with World Space Week



The space industry is a challenging and exciting industry to work in. It employs people from all backgrounds, and brings them together to provide essential services like Earth Observation, satellite communication and GPS, as well as explore our solar system and beyond. Talk to Australians working at NASA, the European Space Agency and in Australia. Meet an engineer designing the next Optus satellite and a scientist exploring Mars. Every one of them is inspirational and in a job you could have!


Duration: 45min per session
Target audience: Year 10-12
Cost: FREE
Limit 3 classes per session
Email lynnette.whitfield@polycom.com to book a session
Sessions will be recorded and loaded on VSSECs YouTube site
Download a flyer






































































































































9:00am Monday 17th October
Michele Clement, Manager, Australian Space Policy Unit

The Space Policy Unit co-ordinates Australia’s national and international space activities, delivers the Australian Space Research program and is developing a national space policy for Australia. Michele will talk about the role of Government in supporting space activities in Australia, identifying how space technologies are part of our everyday lives, the importance of space systems in protecting our planet and what to do when space debris is discovered in Australia.


Michele has worked for the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research since 2003 undertaking both program delivery and policy roles. Prior to joining the Space Policy Unit, in July 2009, Michele managed the Department’s budget process involving the securing of federal funding for a number of new programs and initiatives. Michele has a background in banking and finance, particularly investment in small technology and bio-technology businesses. Michele holds a Masters in Business Administration.


10:00am Monday 17th October
Meet the VSSEC Rover

The VSSEC Mars Autonomous Science Laboratory (MASL) was designed and built by the Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR) at the University of Sydney. Students participating in the VSSEC Robotic Mission to Mars can control the rover on the simulated Mars surface and use its instruments to collect data for analysis. Speak to Geologist, Danielle Shean, and learn more about the rover and Mars exploration. Danielle has a Masters Degree in Geosciences and works with VSSEC's partners to ensure that the Mars surface and the VSSEC rover reflect the latest Mars research activities.


2:00pm Monday 17th October
Members of the VSSEC-King David School CanSat Team

In August the team from the King David School became the first Australians to competed in the French CanSat competition and the only team to include secondary school students. They were one of only five teams out of sixteen to qualify for the final. A CanSat has all the components of a satellite in a soda can. For the eight months prior to the Yr11&12 students and their university mentors designed, built and tested their CanSat. For the 2011 competition the team set themselves the challenge of completing three missions: Atmospheric Sounding, Deployment of an RF Antenna and Airbag Landing. A student and a university mentor from the CanSat team will share their experience.



Michael Eisfelder: Michael has been a member of the Australian Youth Aerospace Association for the past three years and was the inaugural winner of the Australian Youth Aerospace Forum Competition. He has previously held scholarships at both The King David School and The University of Melbourne. He also worked as The King David School's Resident Scientist in 2010 helping to coordinate the High Powered Rocketry Program and teach senior school students. Michael was a key driver of Australia’s first CanSat team, VSSEC-KDS. He is currently studying Aerospace Engineering at Monash University, and hopes to be involved one day in the design of a new generation of planetary space probes.


Devon Boyd: Devon has been an avid enthusiast of Engineering from a young age, when he first participated in an American Robotics program. He enjoys helping students and sharing his knowledge, which made him the perfect mentor for Australia’s first CanSat team. His participation in CanSat has made him more determined to pursue a career in Robotics Engineering. Devon is currently in his first year at Swinburne University, where he is studying Robotics and Mechatronics Engineering.


9:00am Tuesday 18th October
Dr Douglas Griffin, Systems Engineer, RAL Space

Doug is a Systems Engineer and Manager of the RAL Space Concurrent Design Facilityat Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in Oxfordshire, UK. He is responsible for the development of novel instrumentation for space science missions. His work covers the entire scope of the instrument life-cycle; from the initial proposal and feasibility assessment through to implementation and performance verification. At RAL he has worked on projects such as the ESA Highly Miniaturised Radiation Monitor and the ESA Compact Low-Noise Magnetic Gradiometer.


10:00am Tuesday 18th October
Dr Andrew Hyslop, Senior Guidance and Control Engineer, NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre
Andrew Hyslop was born in 1981 in Hamilton, Victoria. After a childhood of space Lego, Star Wars, and constructing aeroplane models, he made his first step into the aerospace world by obtaining his restricted pilot’s license during his time at Hamilton College, before he was allowed to drive. In 2004, Andrew obtained Bachelors of Business Administration and Aerospace Engineering with first class honours from RMIT University, which included an internship at MAN Technology in Germany; designing wing flap structure for Airbus aeroplanes.

His thesis work on Electrodynamic Tethers (long electric wires in space) won him a national prize and took him back overseas to The Netherlands. There, he worked on various European Space Agency projects, including the Young Engineers Satellite 2, a project with participants from over 40 countries, which flew in space in 2007 and successfully deployed the world’s largest man made object in space – a 32km piece of string used to try to sling something back to Earth.


In 2006 he moved to Washington DC to complete a Masters and PhD. Andrew studied how insects avoid obstacles using visual motion, and implemented these techniques on wheeled robots and toy helicopters - which could then navigate mazes autonomously. He began work at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in 2010, and is currently helping to develop a satellite with three robotic arms to refuel and repair existing weather and telecommunications satellites.


11:00am Tuesday 18th October
Michael Brett, Consulting Systems Engineer, Aerospace Concepts

Michael is a consulting systems engineer and project manager on a number of aerospace projects around Australia and internationally. Most of his recent work has been with Aerospace Concepts, a complex systems consultancy based in Canberra. Michael leads Aerospace Concepts’ Flight Safety Analysis team which uses high fidelity simulation software, developed in partnership with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), to create probalistic risk analyses of air and space missions. In this role, he has contributed to the atmospheric re-entry of the Hayabusa space probe to Woomera in June 2010, the HIFiRE Hypersonic Research program sounding rocket trials and various complex systems.


Michael is currently the project manager of the Antarctic Broadband project, an international effort to deliver 24 hour, high-bandwidth communications to Antarctica. Funded under Round 1 of the Australian Space Research Program, this $2.1m project is an early stage study into using a satellite constellation to meet the future communications needs of the entire Antarctic continent. The project includes a number of risk-reduction prototyping efforts which have delivered a small satellite ground station and a ‘flatsat’ – a satellite in a lab for experimental work - at ANU Mt Stromlo observatory outside Canberra.



Outside of work, Michael is the Chair of the Space Generation Advisory Council. Based in Vienna, SGAC is a 4000-strong network of students and young professional starting their careers in space and represents the views of young people to the UN, space agencies, and industry through policy development and international workshops. He has a degree in aerospace avionics engineering and is currently completing a Master of Business in Complex Project Management, both from QUT.


9:00am Wednesday 19th October
Dr Andrew Barton, AOES & Manager, Google Lunar X Prize Team, White Label Space

Dr Andrew Barton is a senior engineer at AOES, a Dutch aerospace firm where he leads a variety of technology development projects for customers such as ESA, European Commission and the Netherlands Space Office. He also manages the Google Lunar X PRIZE team White Label Space, which is an international effort with participants in Europe, Japan and Australia.


From 2005 until 2009 he worked at the European Space Agency (ESA) as a structures and configuration engineer, providing technical support to projects including planetary landers, scientific missions and launch vehicles. While at ESA he also participated in over twenty Pre-Phase A design studies in ESA's Concurrent Design Facility (CDF), and managed technology development contracts and standardization activities in the European space industry related to spacecraft and launcher structures.


Prior to joining ESA, Andrew completed a Masters of Science degree in Space Studies at the International Space University and a Doctorate in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Sydney, specializing on the practical applications of structural optimization techniques. He also undertook six months of graduate research at the University of Tokyo and five months of postdoctoral research at the University of New South Wales.
10:00am Wednesday 19th October
Mark Blair, Optus Satellites

Mark is currently employed by OPTUS as the Optus-10 Satellite Contract Manager and is based at Space Systems Loral (CA, USA). Mark has been an Optus on-site resident at Space Systems Loral (CA, USA) for the joint OPTUS/Defence C1 Satellite Project, at Orbital Sciences Corp (VA, USA) for the Optus D1-D3 Satellite Projects, and was the Project Manager for the ST-2 Satellite acquisition Project.


Mark Blair obtained a BE(Hons.) in Mechanical Engineering from Monash University in 1990 and joined the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) where his research work involved the design, evaluation and application of missile propulsion systems for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).


Mark was the founding Chairman of the Australian Space Research Institute (ASRI) and, whilst standing down as Chairman in 1999, he still maintains the positions of Director and CEO. This position involves the coordination of a national educational space technology program. Mark is the immediate past Chair of the Engineers Australia National Committee on Space Engineering and was awarded the 1996 National Young Professional Engineer of the Year Award for his contribution to space technology education and development within Australia.
11:00am Wednesday 19th October
Dr Ian Grant, Bureau of Meteorology

Ian Grant develops software for terrestrial satellite applications at the Bureau of Meteorology. After gaining a PhD from La Trobe University and doing postdoctoral work in Canada, Ian joined CSIRO in 1995 and moved to the Bureau in 2003, where he is now responsible for satellite-based remote sensing of the land surface. Ian’s recent work includes solar resource mapping to support the renewable energy industry, and a Bushfire CRC research project to develop satellite-based monitoring of grassland drying for use in bushfire management.


9:00am Thursday 20th October
Mark Ramsey, Thales Alenia Space, France

Mark is currently a Bid Manager and Systems Engineer for the Optical Observation and Science Business Unit at Thales Alenia Space in France. In this role he works on Earth Observation satellite and Science mission proposals and studies for a variety of Space Agencies worldwide, including the European Space Agency and NASA. Mark has previously worked in a variety of roles within the Aerospace and Defence industries in Australia, and speaks both French and Chinese.


10:00am Thursday 20th October
Elizabeth Blaber, PhD Researcher, NASA Ames Research Center / UNSW

Elizabeth is a PhD student at UNSW and NASA Ames Research Center, and was the winner of the 2009 VSSEC-NASA Australian Space Prize. Due to this, she was able to participate in the 2010 NASA Ames Academy Program where she established a solid collaboration with Dr. Eduardo Almeida at NASA Ames. She is currently at Ames studying the effects of spaceflight on tissue regeneration using animal models flown on NASA’s space shuttle missions STS-131 and STS-133. Recently she spent several months at Kennedy Space Center in Florida preparing a cell culture payload which was flown on board Space Shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-135, NASA’s last ever shuttle mission. Here she investigated the effects of spaceflight on the ability of stem cells to differentiate into keratinocytes (skin cells), and additionally the wound healing potential of these cells upon returning to Earth.


11:00am Thursday 20th October
James Chartres and Matthew Steventon, NASA Mission Design Center

James Chartres is a researcher, engineer and project manager at Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley. We leads proposal development activities for mission concepts at NASA Ames Research Center within the Mission Design Center. The mission concepts focus on small spacecraft missions including Earth Observers, Near Earth Asteroid Explorers & Landers, Exoplanet Observers and fundamental physics experiements. He has also worked on EVA technologies including the Suit Port, a novel concept to dock spacesuits to habitats and rovers reducing the need for airlocks.



Matthew Steventon recently completed his Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering and Mathematical/Computer Science at The University of Adelaide. During his studies he participated in a project to launch experimental rockets from the Woomera Test Range in South Australia, and was responsible for the electronic design of the rocket's on-board computer. As a result of his work, he received the 2010 VSSEC-NASA Australian Space Prize Category prize for Data Processing and Electronics.


Matthew is now interning at the Mission Design Centre at the NASA Ames Research Centre in California. He is currently working on flight qualification mechanical and thermal testing of a satellite payload as well as the design of a thermal insulation system for a small satellite science experiment.


9:00am Friday 21st October
Noah Saks, Astrium, Germany

Noah Saks is a study manager and system engineer in the science programmes department at Astrium in Friedrichshafen, Germany. The science programmes department carries out all the mission and system studies until a project is selected for implementation, defining the conceptual mission and system designs, as well as analysing the overall technical feasibility and cost. Noah has managed several studies, mainly for the European Space Agency (ESA), as well as undertaken the system engineering role on these and others. He is passionate about space and loves working on scientific missions. Current missions include ESA's Lunar Lander, the gravity wave detector LISA, and a mission to Jupiter and its moons. Noah has a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering and Business Management from RMIT University and a Masters of Space Systems Engineering from the Delft University of Technology (SpaceTech).


10:00am Friday 21st October
Roger Franzen, Technical Program Manager, ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics

A graduate of Curtin University in WA, Roger Franzen is the Technical Program Manager for Astronomy and Space programs at the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA). Previously in his career, Roger has been involved in civilian and defence space related activities, specialising in space training and space systems engineering. Roger has been active in first the European and then the Australian space engineering industries for over 30 years. Beginning his career in 1980 with British Aerospace, Space & Communications (UK), Roger developed his system engineering and project management experience initially with communications satellites and then, upon his return to Australia in late 1986, with space-borne electro-optic projects. Whilst in Europe, Roger was involved with the construction and launch of seven commercial communications satellites.



In Australia, he worked with Auspace Limited on several national programs including the Endeavour Ultraviolet Telescope, the Southern Launch Vehicle, the ARIES commercial Hyper-spectral remote sensing satellite and the still orbiting Advance Along Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR) instrumentation. Under contract to Optus in 1997, Roger project managed the definition phase of the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Capability (ADSCC). In 1998, Roger returned to Auspace as Managing Director until leaving the company in late 2006.


Mr Franzen has held several advisory and office bearer positions including;
- Chairman of IEAust National Committee for Space Engineering (retired).
- Co-Deputy Chairman of the Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA).
- Member Australian Astronomical Board of Management (concluded)
- Member of the Defence RPD&E Board of Management (retired)
- Member Australian Antarctic Astronomy Advisory Committee (retired)
- Member Australian GMT Advisory Committee (retired)

Mr Franzen has been an invited participant in a number of government space advisory committees. Roger was bestowed with the National Space Society of Australia, “Australian Space Pioneer Award for 2002”. Roger is a strong advocate of appropriate self-reliance in Space for Australia.


11:00am Friday 21st October
Dr Adrian Brown, NASA Ames Research Center and the SETI Institute and Elizabeth Jens, Stanford University
Adrian is a planetary scientist working at the SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. His fields of research include Mars, astrobiology and remote sensing spectroscopy. His current research focuses on the analysis of data from the Mars instrument "CRISM" which is onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. For the CRISM project, he is helping choose targets and analysing data from the North and South Poles of Mars. He is working with other researchers to study seasonal changes in the surface and atmosphere in the polar regions of Mars. Adrian completed his PhD at the Australian Centre for Astrobiology. His PhD research focused on hyperspectral mapping of ancient hydrothermal systems in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Adrian is the coordinator of the SETI Institute Seminar series- a weekly science talk from cutting edge researchers in the Northern California region (which can also be viewed online via their YouTube Channel. He also helps teach an online planetary science course at the Astronomy Department of Swinburne University in Melbourne, and is involved in the running of the VSSEC-NASA Australian Space Prize.



Elizabeth is about to start a PhD at Stanford University after completing a Masters in Aeronautics and Astronautics. This was made possible thanks to Fulbright Scholarship. In 2009 she participated in the International Space University program at NASA Ames and has just completed a summer internship at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) where she worked on a propulsion system for attitude control of an Earth satellite, Soil Moisture Active Passive, that is due to be launched in 2014.