Past Events

WoMars Project-2020-21, Virtual, Zoom 

WoMars is one of the very few all-female crews to participate in a Mars analogue mission at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, USA. The crew is composed of six scientists and engineers whose aim is to evaluate the psychological and physiological performances of an all-female crew under Mars-like conditions. In addition, each crew member will conduct scientific experiments related to their field of expertise. Kelly, Crew Geophysicist, is currently in the process of developing a drone-mounted magnetometer to be tested at the station for exploratory purposes. Laurene, Crew Engineer, will investigate the use of small transportation systems and Julie, Crew Geologist, will investigate different protocols for detecting life in a Mars-like environment.

International Astronautical Congress 2017 - Scholarship
, Adelaide, SA

We had four scholarship recipients travel to Adelaide to attend the IAC (International Astronautical Conference). As part of their scholarship we asked them to write a short article on the conference. Here are their experiences:
Alan Sper
Chris Leow
Ben Jarvis

Revealing Saturn: Cassini Science Highlights and the Grand Finale, Canberra ACT & Sydney NSW

The Cassini mission’s findings have revolutionized our understanding of Saturn, its complex rings, the amazing assortment of moons and the planet’s dynamic magnetic environment. The robotic spacecraft arrived in 2004 after a 7-year flight from Earth, dropped a parachuted probe named Huygens to study the atmosphere and surface of Saturn’s big moon Titan, and commenced making astonishing discoveries that continue today.
This Cassini flagship mission is a cooperative undertaking by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Italian space agency (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI).

AIAA Student Paper Conference, Melbourne VIC

The 2016 Region VII-AU Conference was hosted at Monash University in Melbourne, Victoria. It was chance fro students throughout the region to write and present a technical paper, judged by industry professionals from around the world and meet like-minded students.

Women in Aerospace: Taking Advantage of Diversity, Canberra ACT

A stellar panel discussing the advantages of gender diversity to the technical aerospace community, what works and what needs to be improved.

AIAA Student Networking Night, Sydney NSW

An evening of networking with Australia’s Aerospace professionals. It was an opportunity for students to meet future employers, look at career prospects and find out about internship opportunities.

Distinguished Lecture Program: The Future of U.S. Planetary Exploration, Sydney NSW and Canberra ACT

The Future of U.S. Planetary Exploration. Dr. Randii Wessen has been an employee of the California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 1984 and is the A-Team Lead Study Architect for JPL’s Innovation Foundry. He’s was in Australia for two weeks to discuss the robotic planetary missions currently in operations at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and those planned for the upcoming decades. The talk included the search for “Terra Nova”, and the search for an Earth-like planet outside of our Solar System. Members only dinner events followed the talk in both cities

JUNO and DAWN: NASA’s Exploration of Jupiter and Ceres, Sydney NSW and Canberra ACT

A fantastic line up of speakers that described the exploits of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA’s latest robotic explorations of the solar system. The presentations focused particularly on the JUNO and DAWN missions that are currently exploring Jupiter and Ceres.
Launched in August of 2011, the JUNO spacecraft entered Jupiter’s orbit on July 4, 2016. Jupiter is by far the largest planet in our solar system and was almost certainly the first planet to form. JUNO’s 20 month study of Jupiter, approaching as close as 5000 km above the cloud tops, will improve our understanding of giant planet formation and evolution by studying Jupiter’s origin, interior structure, atmospheric composition and dynamics, and magnetosphere.
NASA’s DAWN mission to the asteroid belt was launched in September 2007 and orbited and explored the giant protoplanet Vesta in 2011-12. DAWN is now in orbit and exploring a second new world, the dwarf planet Ceres. This mission was enabled by new ion propulsion technology and also achieved several other ‘firsts’ for a robotic spacecraft mission. DAWN featured an array of innovative science instruments that have helped unlock the secrets of Vesta and Ceres.

Gen. Larry James - Deputy Director, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Scott Bolton - Principal Investigator, JUNO Mission
Derrick (Rick) Nybakken - Project Manager, JUNO Mission
Tim Weise - Deputy Mission Director, DAWN Mission

Army Aviation Site Visit - Holsworthy Barracks, Holsworthy NSW

The AIAA Sydney Section organised a site visit to 6th Aviation Regiment of the Australian Army. 6th Aviation Regiment based at Holsworthy Barracks, will be hosting a site tour of hangar facilities and engineering activities within Army Aviation. 6th Aviation Regiment provides air mobility and battlefield support to land operations of the Australian Defence Force. The Regiment currently operates Sikorsky S-70 Blackhawk helicopters.

From Micro-Propulsion to Nuclear Fusion: The importance of the fourth state of matter, Canberra ACT

On July 14, we had a presentation from Dr. Amelia Grieg the furth state of matter, plasma. The fourth state of matter, or the plasma state, makes up 99% of the ordinary matter in the known Universe. On Earth, the solid, liquid and gas states are more abundant and are often more widely recognised. However, the plasma state has important applications in most facets of human life. From manufacturing everyday electronic items like mobile phones, powering entire cities using nuclear fusion, controlling tiny satellites and aircraft, and even medicinal applications, the contributions of the plasma state often go unrecognised.

2016 AIAA Space and Sci-Fi Trivia Night, Canberra ACT

On 11 Apr, AIAA Sydney Section hosted a space and sci-fi trivia night to celebrate Yuri's Night. The questions were tough (especially the Star Wars bonus round), but a good time was had by all. The winners walked away with some fantastic prizes.

What Project Management Has Taught Me About Engineering - Commodore Lockey, Canberra ACT

Commodore Lockey joined the Navy in 1988, he has had a wide variety of jobs in the areas of Helicopter Maintenance Management, Maintainer and Engineer Officer training, Test and Evaluation, Helicopter Structural Integrity Management, Aviation Regulation Development, Human Factors in Maintenance, Helicopter Design Management, and Project Management. From August 2009 to December 2013 CDRE Lockey was employed as Project Director for AIR 9000 Phase 8, the Seahawk ‘Romeo’ acquisition project. His presentation focused on his experiences and lessons learnt in these roles.

Qantas Fleet Development - Bertrand Masson, Sydney ACT

Bertrand Masson is the Manager of Fleet Development at Qantas, responsible for performance engineering, weights engineering and aircraft development. He presentation described the daily operations and rare opportunities that Fleet Development experiences, including pilot support, weighting aircraft, route analysis, and aircraft evaluations.

Aerospace on the Hill - An Evening with Senator Fawcett, Canberra ACT

AIAA Sydney Section hosted a networking evening followed by a lecture by Senator David Fawcett. Over 30 people from Defence, Industry, and Academia were in attendance.

Senator Fawcett, a former Army test pilot; member of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade; and current chair of the Defence sub-committee; spoke about the challenges of maintaining technical mastery in Defence and Industry. Senator Fawcett spoke of the sovereign need for technical mastery, and proposed methods through which it could be maintained and grown in Australia.

The NASA Mars and Pluto missions: Australia's Connection, Canberra ACT

Key to the success of the NASA space missions are the powerful, yet ultra-sensitive Australian-operated communications dishes at Tidbinbilla, Canberra – one of the three NASA Deep Space Network (DSN) tracking stations located in Australia, Spain, and USA.

Dr Ed Kruzins is the CSIRO Director of the NASA Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex (CDSCC) at Tidbinbilla. The CDSCC plays a key role in the NASA interplanetary exploration missions to Mars and the New Horizons mission to Pluto. CDSCC received some of the first images and data from the New Horizons flyby of Pluto and its moons. Dr Kruzins described the vital roles played by the Australian team at Tidbinbilla to support NASA’s historic space missions and the amazing results achieved by NASA to further our understanding of Mars and Pluto.

AIAA Student-Industry Networking Night, Sydney NSW

The AIAA Student Branches of The University of Sydney and UNSW joined together to run the annual Networking Night in early October. It brought together students and industry professionals for an evening of professional networking. This provided a fantastic opportunity for students to discover what it is like to work in the Aerospace industry, meet future employers, look at career prospects and potential internship opportunities. A wonderful night was had by all with representatives from Hawker Pacific, Qantas Engineering, GE Aviation, Quickstep and Department of Defence keen to share their experiences and provide guidance for up and coming students.

AIAA University of Sydney Biennial Canberra Tour 2015, Canberra ACT

A tour for University students from both the University of Sydney and UNSW, of aerospace facilities in Canberra. The locations include:

  • -  NASA Deep Space Tracking Center
  • -  Australian Transport Safety Bureau
  • -  UNSW ADFA Hypersonics & UAV Lab
  • -  Advanced Instrumentation Technology Centre (Mt. Stromlo)

Perspectives from Space, Dr Sandra Magnus, AIAA Executive Director and former NASA Astronaut, Canberra ACT, Sydney NSW, Adelaide SA, Brisbane QLD, and Melbourne VIC

Dr. Sandra H. “Sandy” Magnus is the Executive Director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession. Born and raised in Belleville, Ill., Dr. Magnus attended the Missouri University of Science and Technology, graduating in 1986 with a degree in physics and in 1990 with a master’s degree in electrical engineering. She also holds a Ph.D. from the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech (1996).

Selected to the NASA Astronaut Corps in April, 1996, Dr. Magnus flew in space on the STS-112 shuttle mission in 2002, and on the final shuttle flight, STS-135, in 2011. In addition, she flew to the International Space Station on STS-126 in November 2008, served as flight engineer and science officer on Expedition 18, and returned home on STS-119 after four and a half months on board. Following her assignment on Station, she served at NASA Headquarters in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. Her last duty at NASA, after STS-135, was as the deputy chief of the Astronaut Office.

While at NASA, Dr. Magnus worked extensively with the international community, including the European Space Agency (ESA) and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA), as well as with Brazil on facility-type payloads. She also spent time in Russia developing and integrating operational products and procedures for the International Space Station.

Before joining NASA, Dr. Magnus worked for McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company from 1986 to 1991, as a stealth engineer. While at McDonnell Douglas, she worked on internal research and development and on the Navy’s A-12 Attack Aircraft program, studying the effectiveness of radar signature reduction techniques.

Dr. Magnus has received numerous awards, including the NASA Space Flight Medal, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and the 40 at 40 Award (given to former collegiate women athletes to recognize the impact of Title IX).

The HEXAFLY-International Hypersonic Flight Test Project,The University of Sydney, NSW

The HEXAFLY-International Hypersonic Flight Test Project was AIAA Sydney Section’s opening event for 2015. A public lecture was given by Associate Professor Andrew Neely, on the HEXAFLY International Hypersonic Flight Test Project. Professor Neely discussed the ESA-led collaborative research with the aim of flight testing hypersonic cruise designs at Mach 8 to validate both aerodynamic concepts and numerically-based design methods.

RAAF Base Richmond Maintenance Facilities Tour,RAAF Base Richmond, NSW

An AIAA members only tour of the Airbus Group maintenance facilities at RAAF Base Richmond. Airbus Australia currently provides the Through Life Support for the RAAF fleet of C-130J Hercules aircraft, including engineering, logistics and maintenance. The tour group was provided exclusive access to the Airbus Group hangar on base, where a C-130J was in tear-down as part of its deeper level maintenance. The group was led around the hangar and lead through the aircraft which being told about the way in which Airbus Group support the aircraft and the difficulty of maintaining such a complicated system.

Inventing the Joint Strike Fighter, Dr Paul Bevilaqua, former Chief Engineer of Skunk Works, Canberra ACT, Sydney NSW, Wollongong NSW, Adelaide SA, Brisbane QLD, and Melbourne VIC

Dr Paul Bevilaqua, AIAA Fellow and Distinguished Lecturer, came to Australia for 12 days at the start of May to undertake a five city national lecture tour on ‘Inventing the Joint Strike Fighter’, incorporating public lectures in Canberra, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne and two additional presentations on ‘Its no Secret – How the Skunk Works operates’ at the Australian Mayoral Aviation Conference in Brisbane and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation at Fishermans Bend. In total over 1700 people attended the events ranging from aerospace professionals, students and the general public. Dr Bevilaqua’s visit to Australia also included site visits to UNSW Canberra School of Engineering and Information Technology, The ANU Space Plasma, Power and Propulsion Laboratory, The ANU Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre, The University of Sydney School of Aerospace Engineering, UNSW Engineering, Quickstep Sydney, BAE Systems Adelaide, The University of Queensland Hypersonics Department and DSTO Fishermans Bend. The tour also included media interviews with ABC 666 Canberra and Aerospace Australia magazine and provided the opportunity for Dr Bevilaqua to meet with Graham Bentley (Director, Lockheed Martin Australian Business Development), Air-Vice Marshall Kym Osley and Senator David Fawcett. Dr Bevilaqua appeared as a special guest at the Wings Over Illawarra air show in Wollongong.