In 1966, a team of students from the University of Melbourne built Australia’s first satellite, which they successfully launched in 1970. In late 2014, a team of University of Melbourne students formed the Melbourne Space Program (MSP) to continue what these alumni had begun.
“I’ve been fascinated by space since I was a kid,” MSP Managing Director, Master of Electrical Engineering alumnus and business owner, Troy McCann says. “I always wanted to know what was beyond the big blue dome.”
After graduating in 2014, Troy has worked tirelessly to ensure the MSP is the largest of its kind in Australia, less than two years after its launch.
Made up of over 200 students and academics, the diverse MSP team are united in their vision to launch a satellite in 2018.
“While the satellite launch is the current focus of the program, why stop there?” Troy asks. “What we are developing is a comprehensive program that will increase our access to space and become a driving force of space policy in Australia.”
The team are working on public outreach and education programs which include the upcoming Final Frontier Festival as well as influencing economic and legal policy regarding Australia’s space activities.
“This is not only a big challenge for all involved; it’s also a fantastic learning opportunity.” Troy continues. “The program provides students with the opportunity to supplement their theoretical learning with some creative and practical work. The program is also a good opportunity for alumni to remain connected, particularly those who wish to work in an innovative and hands on program as a bit of a creative outlet.”
From juggling his studies with his involvement in the MUR Motorsports team from 2011 to 2013, to steering the MSP while managing his own technical consulting business ‘Ubiquitous Solutions,’ Troy believes in making the most of every opportunity.
“If I could give students any advice it would be to make time for your hobbies and extra- curricular activities as this is where you can practice your skills. I’d urge students not to wait until graduation. Your studies are so much more enjoyable when you can start applying your knowledge. As a bonus, you get to meet some really cool people along the way.”
Troy personally gets a lot from the MSP and is committed to adding value for all involved. “I’m working to ensure this program is valuable for those in their first year, those who are graduating and beyond.”
“In five years, my hope is that the program will have launched numerous satellites and wireless mesh constellations. I anticipate we will have a pool of alumni who are actively contributing to society thanks to their experience on the program and I hope those involved look back on it as a critical stepping stone to their success.”
Troy and the team are currently working on the Final Frontier Festival running from Wednesday June 29- Sunday July 3. With 44 exhibits, 24 hours of workshops and 16 guest speakers over five days, the festival is designed to appeal to space lovers of all ages. To find out more about this exploration, innovation and education of space visit: finalfrontier.co