Meet Up #20: The Roaring Twenties

Meet Up #20: The Roaring Twenties

September 26, 2021

The Roaring Twenties are upon us, and we had yet another excellent line-up of speakers for our next Meet Up!

With incredible aerospace potential to be found right here in New Zealand, we heard from local innovators about the new technologies that are launching aerospace further than it’s ever been before.

Brought to you by our Silver Sponsor, Dark Matter.

The Honourable Dr Megan Woods
MP for Wigram and Minister of Energy and Resources, Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Housing, and Research, Science and Innovation

Minister Woods joined us via Zoom for an exciting announcement of a $12 million investment to support aerospace innovation.

Power Hungry: The Limitless Potential Of Deployable Energy Systems In Space
Fia Jones, CEO, Astrix Astronautics

We empower revolutionary missions in small satellites by providing the high power systems they need. Astrix’ deployable power system makes deployment in space simple and reliable. With the mass and volume constraints on small satellites, our technology dramatically boosts the capability of satellite functionality.

You’re Too Smart For Your Own Good 
Kaushik P. Kumar, Managing Partner, Dark Matter

So how do you take complex information and make it digestible and engaging for your fellow humans? Find out in this entertaining and insightful talk about the world of Dark Matter and Dark Spaces.

Scalable, Reliable And Sustainable Drone Logistics
Richard Adams, General Manager NZ,Swoop Aero

Swoop Aero was founded to change the way the world moves by making access to the air seamless, providing the world’s leading technology platform for scalable, reliable and sustainable drone logistics. Richard will discuss Swoop Aero’s operations and impact around the world, with over 10,000 flights to date delivering 310,000 individual items across networks that reach 2 million people. He will also discuss what the future holds for Swoop Aero, both in New Zealand and globally. 

Thanks again to our Silver Sponsor Dark Matter.

Aerospace Christchurch Pathways

Aerospace Christchurch Pathways

Aerospace Christchurch is an industry body that promotes the interests of our city, our region and our nation. We encompass broad aspects of aerospace: aviation, space flight, rocketry, manufacturing, engineering, geospatial mapping, data analytics, education, training and services.
Aerospace Christchurch works with individuals and organisations that want to grow the economic wealth and aerospace capability in New Zealand. Check out resources available to you below.

Engineering with Style – Fabrum and AFCryo

Engineering with Style – Fabrum and AFCryo

World-leaders in magnetic, superconducting, and cryogenic systems.

Christopher Boyle and Hugh Reynolds established Fabrum Solutions in 2004, producing a unique combination of practical and theoretical engineering capabilities, delivering innovative solutions for a range of products. 

Beginning with HTS applications perfecting composite cryostat designs, Fabrum’s operations flowed into magnetic systems and electric and superconducting aviation motors, before moving into the commercialisation of cryocooler technology. Over the next three years, this technology was transferred to use in liquid nitrogen, oxygen, air, argon, biogas, and hydrogen systems, and AFCryo was born through their cryocooling technology.

Providing a wide range of capabilities and expertise for several industries, including medical, research, oil and utilities, power systems, and creative, Fabrum and AFCryo design, develop, and manufacture all of their new technology and processes right here in Christchurch. They also manufacture large-volume industrialised cryocoolers and operate the largest waterjet profiling company in New Zealand.

Co-founder and Managing Director Christopher Boyle sees a lot of potential for growth in the Christchurch aerospace industry. Opportunities in plasma drives, fuelling systems, and integrated satellite platforms are just a few of the areas Chris sees as key areas for Canterbury aerospace.

Both Chris and Hugh Reynolds, Technical Director and Co-Founder of AFCryo, are University of Canterbury electrical and mechanical engineering graduates, respectively. “The opportunity to explore the development of superconducting devices for power systems applications led to the setup of Fabrum Solutions in 2004, with Hugh Reynolds,” Chris says.

Since becoming strongly focused on global cryogenic and superconducting, Fabrum has expanded internationally, working with the likes of NASA, Rolls Royce, Siemens, and Bruker ASC. “Since then, we have set up agencies in Africa, India, America and Europe. An initial  joint venture with a French company led to the creation of AFCryo, which now leads cryogenic activities, and is also based in Christchurch.”

In early 2020, AFCryo teamed up with the UK’s Clean Power Hydrogen (CPH2) company, signing a landmark agreement to pave the way to produce a world-leading, Green Hydrogen production system from New Zealand by mid 2021.

“This is an exciting step, joining New Zealand technology with UK-developed electrolyser technology. It will provide a solution that will help the New Zealand Government’s vision to harness the hydrogen opportunity for a sustainable and resilient energy future and create a zero-carbon environment,” says Hugh. “It is also important that the employment generated by the New Zealand technology will be based in New Zealand.”

AFCryo and Fabrum are now working on some exciting new projects, including plasma drives for space travel, superconducting aviation motors, hydrogen production units, and next evolution coldhead technology for low-temperature cryocoolers.

Both Chris and Hugh see a huge opportunity for growth in first-stage creation and prototyping for the aerospace sector, especially in engineering design and manufacturing. As for Fabrum, Chris hopes to see them grow as significant players in global hydrogen production activities, LOX systems for aviation, integrated platforms for satellite systems, and high-speed transportation systems.

“Canterbury has such a supportive innovation network, making it an ideal aerospace hub. It has high-tech manufacturers, and a living environment that attracts open minded, motivated people,” says Hugh.

Meet Up #19: Mid Winter Meet Up

Meet Up #19: Mid Winter Meet Up

August 3, 2021

Our Mid Winter Meet Up was another excellent evening! With so many interesting speakers, on a range of topics from fog dispersal technology to commercialising research in aerospace, it was a great Meet Up. Not to mention the usual great networking with the Christchurch aerospace community!

Achieving AS9100D – Not As Tricky As You Think!
John Watt, Owner, Many Caps Consulting

AS9100 rev D is the quality management standard that we need to meet for the aerospace sector and achieving it can seem like a moon shot, but it shouldn’t. Like everything, it’s only tricky when you don’t know what to do, and it’s certainly easy to over complicate things. It’s not about creating mountains of paperwork; it’s about creating a business system that genuinely works for you, because it makes it easy for you to do things and becomes just the way you work every day. John gave us his top tips for a successful AS9100 system and the top mistakes to avoid!

How NZ Companies Can Contribute To Global Aerospace Development
Hugh Reynolds, Technical Director, AFCryo (Fabrum Solutions)

Hugh outlined some of their NASA projects along with the build of superconducting aviation motors, and the part cryogenics and plasma drives play. He expanded on where they want to influence the future of aviation with the convergence of superconducting hydrogen fuelled motors, and liquid hydrogen technology.

Supporting Commercialisation In The Aerospace Sector
Alexandra Stuthridge, Commercialisation Manager, KiwiNet

KiwiNet champions people who commercialise research by helping them to access the tools, connections, investment and support they need to create amazing new products and services. Alexandra discussed the innovation platform and the common goal of increasing the scale and impact of science and technology-based innovation, to maximise economic benefits to New Zealand.

The Art Of Fog Dispersal
Emily Blyth, CEO, Pyper Vision

Since the inception of flight, we have overcome many hurdles, developing aircraft that can operate in high winds, rain and snow. Yet low visibility, caused by fog, remains the largest weather-related disruptor. Emily talked through the history of fog dispersal, the lessons learnt along the way, and how their team at Pyper Vision are now eliminating fog from aerodromes, empowering flights to operate any time, every day. 

A special thank you to our Gold Event Sponsor Many Caps Consulting.

Cooking Up a Storm in Space with Dr Sarah Kessans

Cooking Up a Storm in Space with Dr Sarah Kessans

Growing up in the fields and forests of southern Indiana in the USA, Sarah Kessans has always been curious about how the natural world works. Currently teaching students in the School of Product Design as a lecturer at the University of Canterbury (UC) in the Chemical Formulation Design programme, Sarah is also involved in a range of research projects, from synthetic biology to space technology development. Sarah is also a member of the Aerospace Christchurch committee, and is excited to see aerospace flourishing in Canterbury! 

After studying plant biology at Purdue University, Sarah completed her PhD at Arizona State University, where she developed and tested a plant-based HIV vaccine candidate. Sarah then began a postdoctoral position at University of Canterbury, working to understand bacterial evolution. “I hadn’t initially intended on staying in New Zealand, but I fell in love with the natural beauty of the South Island and the incredible communities around Christchurch, and after a few years, I really didn’t want to leave.”

Sarah secured a second postdoctoral position at UC, and was a Finalist Interviewee in NASA’s Astronaut Candidate selection at this time, which opened her eyes to the opportunities in space research. “It became one of my missions to support and expand New Zealand’s fledgling space industry.” Some of the projects she is working on now are looking at the possibility of building habitats on Mars with the development of fungal materials, and understanding how biosynthetic pathways in microbes can be manipulated to produce food in space.

Sarah’s team is expanding the opportunities to conduct research in microgravity by developing tiny autonomous research laboratories on CubeSats, starting with a payload studying protein crystals. Protein crystallography is helpful for scientists to understand disease, in the drug discovery process, and to better understand life on Earth. Getting the proteins to crystallize on Earth can be tricky, however, and so enters the role of the International Space Station! Experiments conducted on the ISS have shown that microgravity can allow for the growth of larger and higher quality crystals than those produced on Earth. “Our team has developed a payload that will help us get these bigger and better protein crystals in space, and we’re looking forward to launching our first prototype later this year!”

The collaborative nature of her projects is what Sarah loves most, combining the strengths and knowledge of each team member to come up with creative, novel solutions to tackle challenges. The aerospace community in New Zealand, and Canterbury in particular, is growing quickly with a collaborative, supportive nature. “Our community understands that a rising tide lifts all boats, and thus we’re all committed to each other’s success, with many throughout the sector willing to help share their knowledge and time. When you add that to a substantial manufacturing base and a growing number of companies involved in the aerospace industry, you’ve got a recipe for success!”

Seeing students with more and more opportunities to enter the industry and pushing the aerospace sector forward in Aotearoa is what drives Sarah. “Although it’s no secret that I would love to explore space myself, getting to inspire the next generation and help build a future human spaceflight programme in Aotearoa would be a dream come true for me.”

Aerospace Meet Up #18: Mars Plus

Aerospace Meet Up #18: Mars Plus

June 1, 2021

Our 18th Meet Up was yet another fantastic evening! We had a very special appearance from Hon Dr Megan Woods celebrating the new Tāwhiki Project with us! We also heard about what life on Mars might one day be like with the amazing projects and research from our line-up of speakers.

Life In Space
Dr Sarah Kessans, Lecturer, University of Canterbury
Life on Earth has evolved to thrive in the relatively cushy habitats found on the surface of our home planet. As humans venture further from home for longer periods of time, keeping them alive using only limited resources becomes a greater challenge. The development of life support systems for sustainable off-Earth habitation will not only facilitate life in space but can enable more sustainable living on Earth as well. Sarah gave an overview of projects going on both globally and at UC.

Habitat Construction For The Moon And Mars
Dr Allan Scott, Associate Professor, University of Canterbury
The long-term establishment of self-sufficient settlements on the Moon and Mars will require the extensive use of in situ resources to construct habitats and infrastructure. Concrete is the most widely used construction material on Earth, and the vast majority of the necessary components for concrete construction are also available in various forms on the surface of the Moon and Mars.

Mission To Mars – Antarctica As An Analogue For Mars
Miranda Satterthwaite, Antarctic Academy Director, International Antarctic Centre
With reference to recent Mars Meteorite and Antarctic Aerospace missions, Miranda Satterthwaite outlined how NASA’s Journey to Mars informs Mars analogue training at the International Antarctic Centre.

New Zealand Space Agency Update
Kate Breach – Technical Specialist – Aerospace, MBIE – New Zealand Space Agency
Set up in 2016, the New Zealand Space Agency is the lead government agency for space policy, regulation and sector development. Kate delivered an update on the New Zealand Space Agency.

A special thank you to our Gold Event Sponsor MBIE – New Zealand Space Agency!

Thank you also to our supporter ChristchurchNZ and to the Ara Institute of Canterbury for hosting the event.