The Australian National Concurrent Design Facility (ANCDF)

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The centrepiece of UNSW Canberra Space is Australia’s first space mission concurrent engineering design facility. Fitted with 16 workstations and purpose-built engineering software, the ANCDF accelerates and improves mission design by enabling each member of the team, together with the customer or end user, to contribute their part to the project in parallel, significantly speeding up the design process. This allows engineers and scientists to rapidly determine the technical and economic viability of proposed space missions, not just for our team but for the Australian space sector. 

The ANCDF was developed based on firsthand experience in similar facilities in the European space industry. Designed to specifically support the Australian space sector, the ANCDF puts an emphasis on customer integration, with implementation cost and schedule forming an integral part of the technical design. 

The world-class facility is jointly funded by UNSW Canberra and the ACT Government and supported through a partnership with the French Space Agency CNES, whose concurrent engineering software suite form the basis of our capability.


ANCDF in education

UNSW Canberra Space is making use of the ANCDF's unique features to enhance its teaching at multiple levels:

  • Master's students
    • Satellite engineering courses
    • Visualization support for other courses
    • Systems engineering
    • Internships and final / honours theses
  • Undergraduate students
    • Mission design workshop (see video)
    • Final year projects
    • Internships
  • High school
    • Simplified mission design workshop
    • Internships

Research including the ANCDF

Concurrent engineering is well established in the space industry. However, there are still research areas to be explored. With the ANCDF, UNSW Canberra Space is looking to perform research in the following areas:

  • Concurrent Engineering
    • Advanced model-based programmatics
    • Introduction of ethics as additional expert domain
  • Capability modelling
    • Mission trade-space analysis and pareto-optimum identification
    • Risk impact analysis
    • Engineering education research
  • Social psychology
    • Which environment will best breed disruptive ideas?

Studies performed in the ANCDF

No. Customer Title Comment
1 AYAA Space mission design experience UG student activity
2 Internal Tutorial and M2 exercise Team training
3 Space Squad Space mission design experience STEM outreach activity
4 YoWIE Space mission design experience STEM outreach activity
5 YoWIE Space mission design experience STEM outreach activity
6 Internal Lamanon mission concept study  
7 ANU InSpace Optical Ground Station Network  
8 Office of National Intelligence NICSAT mission concept study  
9 University of Auckland Radar Nanosatellite mission feasibility study Article
10 CSIRO, SmartSat CRC AquaWatch Phase 0 - mission architecture Article
11 Trillium Australia Bushfire command and control system Non-space topic
12 Geoscience Australia, Australian Space Agency, CSIRO Satellite Cross-Calibration Radiometer (SCR) study

Technical Feasibility Assessment

Pre-Phase A Study Report 

13 Bureau of Meteorology Meteorological Instruments Report | Article
14 CSIRO, SmartSat CRC AquaWatch Phase 0 - mission architecture (part 2) Report | Article
15 ANU inSpace, SmartSat CRC OzFuel Phase A Study Report:
Space-based Australian Forest Fuel Flammability Monitoring