New Defence Projects
Another great week for ThunderStruck. This last week we signed our first contract with Defence here in Australia. The work is all innovation and Research & Development (R&D) in an area of our business that we are world leaders. Exciting times. The work can start immediately and we are looking for a window of opportunity to do the work. In the coming weeks we will be able to announce that work, but until then, Defence would prefer that we did not say anything.
A second project has also suddenly caught up with us and it is a great opportunity to demonstrate advanced systems and capability. It to is Defence related. We look forward to reporting on this to at some stage. The problem with these projects with defence is all about what we can and can’t say. It will be made public in the future, so again, you will have to wait.
Foreign supply of balloon material during the current pandemic is a problem and will be a problem for some time after. ThunderStruck has made the decision to use Australian made balloon material if possible. We are currently analysing the materials available here and the possible ratios doping of metallic components to the material. This of course slows the leak of helium. Having robust balloon making material here in Australia is an important part of developing sovereign capability for defence. This is a key component of our balloon development and our strategy.
To accomplish this our builder is building test facilities to measure the burst limits of the Australian materials to see if they will work for us. Alternatively we will need to seek overseas supply. None the less the Australian materials will likely work for our current needs of test flights as we work towards a permanent presence of our StratoDrones in the Stratosphere.
COSPAR Scientific Assembly
The 43rd COSPAR Scientific Assembly in Sydney, Australia, has been postponed to 28 January – 4 February 2021. Our Manager Robert Brand will be a speaker at the Assembly. It is the Committee on Space Research. We are very pleased to be involved in this. He will be giving a paper on the Mars MEDIAN Mission.
We will supply more information on COSPAR as we get closer to the date, but We can confirm that Robert will be giving his paper on the 29th January 2021. More information can be found here:
You can find more about COSPAR here:
While all of the above is exciting, we are slowed by the virus issues. Our rocket work is slowed by our inability to launch rockets at the moment and the inability to do the Gas Gun testing at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA). ADFA have a policy of no visitors at this time during Australia’s lock-down period. We are only able to continue our Research at this time for those products.
Our balloons will all be carrying this aircraft tracking device. We will simply be broadcasting our position during flight with the latest in-flight tracking technology that is replacing radar.. Why? On our last flight, we actually saw an aircraft fly by. It was a small white streak, but that is too close for ThunderStruck. With a payload of under 4Kg on most flights, we are under the mass that is considered to be catastrophic in an impact with an aircraft. None the less we would prefer to carry a low mass ADS-B unit to keep things safe. The ADS-B unit will add a lot of safety to our flights and that will be a benefit to all aircraft fitted with appropriate receivers. Air Traffic control will also see us and divert the aircraft to avoid our balloons. We are excited to be seen on Air Traffic Control screens making flight safer for all.