Engineering Team

Team Leads
  • Prof. Airlie Chapman (University of Melboune, Australia): Engineering Team Co-Lead

    Airlie Chapman Prof. Chapman is an accomplished roboticist specialising in distributed network, multiagent system (UAVs) and intelligent systems. She has worked closely with various industries, including defense and mining.
    Prof. Chapman received her Ph.D. degree from the William E. Boeing Aeronautics and Astronautics Department at the University of Washington, Seattle in 2013, as well as a M.S. degree in Mathematics from University of Washington (2013). She is currently a lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Melbourne.
    Prof. Chapman was awarded the College of Engineering Dean’s Fellowship at the University of Washington and is a two-time recipient of the Amelia Earhart Fellowship. Her research interests are multi-agent dynamics, networked dynamic systems, data-driven control and graph theory with applications to robotics and aerospace systems. She has recently authored the book ‘Semi-Autonomous Networks’ published by Springer in 2015.

  • Prof. Stan Skafidas (University of Melbourne, Australia): Engineering Team Co-Lead

    Stan Skafidas Professor Stan Skafidas, from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, leads the Melbourne School of Engineering’s research in nanoelectronics and is the Director for Centre for Neural Engineering.

Systems Engineering & Thermal Management
  • Mr. Simon Barraclough (University of Melbourne, Australia): Spacecraft Manager

    Simon Barraclough Mr Barraclough has more than 20 years of experience in spacecraft systems, thermal and mechanical engineering. For over 16 years at Airbus Defence and Space (UK), he served as Lead Engineer and Thermal Group Leader for the thermal control systems on 15+ ESA missions, including Rosetta, LISA Pathfinder and Solar Orbiter. In 2015 Mr Barraclough joined UNSW Canberra, where he was the thermal/mechanical engineer for the Buccaneer Risk Mitigation Mission, and lead systems engineer for the RAAF M1, M2PF and M2 CubeSats. Mr. Barraclough has recently joined the University of Melbourne to lead nanosatellite thermal engineering.

  • Dr. Miguel Ortiz del Castillo (University of Melbourne, Australia)

    Miguel Ortiz del Castillo Dr Ortiz is an expert in spacecraft digital electronics. He received his PhD in electronics from Universidad de Alcala de Henares (Spain) in 2019, and he has more than four years of experience at Airbus Defence and Space (Spain/France), where one highlight was his contribution to the design of the ExoMars Descent Module On-Board Computer. Dr. Ortiz expertise is ideal to serve as SkyHopper’s electrical and software Systems Engineer.

  • Mr. Robert Mearns (University of Melbourne, Australia)

    Mr. Robert Mearns Rob Mearns graduated from the Master of Mechatronics Engineering at Melbourne University in 2016. During his time there, he was a founding member of the Melbourne Space Program; a volunteer, student based program designing and building a 1U cubesat from beginning to end. He served the program as the Engineering Director from the program’s conception in 2016. He is currently pursuing his PhD in near-real-time communications for nanosatellites, while continuing to work as a systems engineer for the SkyHopper project.

Optical SubSystem
  • Dr. Jon Lawrence (Macquarie University, Australia)

    Jon Lawrence Prof. Jon Lawrence is the Head of Instrumentation at Australian Astronomical Optics – Macquarie University (AAO-MQ). He has more than two decades of experience in the development and implementation of instrumentation for astronomy (in telescope facility instrumentation, Antarctic site testing, and astrophotonics research). At AAO-MQ, he leads a large team of engineers, managers, technicians and scientists working on an array of instrument projects for national and international telescopes.

  • Dr. Anthony Horton (Macquarie University, Australia)

    Anthony Horton Anthony Horton is an Instrument Scientist at Australian Astronomical Optics, Macquarie University (AAO-MQ) and has worked in the fields of astronomical instrumentation and astrophotonics for over 19 years. He began his career at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge, where he did his PhD and first postdoc, before moving to the AAO (then the Anglo-Australian Observatory) where he remained while it became the Australian Astronomical Observatory, then Australian Astronomical Optics – Macquarie. He has worked on a wide range of visible/near infrared imagers and spectrographs for telescopes from 0.14 to 8 metres in size, in areas including optical design, control software, performance modelling, AIT, & systems engineering.

Prof. Artie Hatzes (TLS Tautenburg, Germany)

Dr. Uwe Laux (TLS Tautenburg, Germany)

Camera SubSystem
  • Dr. James Gilbert (Australian National University, Australia): Camera working group lead

    Jamie Gilbert James is a Lead Engineer at the ANU Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics (RSAA), head of the RSAA Detector & Electronics group, and manager of the SkyHopper Camera subsystem. He has over a decade of experience in the design, development and deployment of astronomical instrumentation for ground- and space-based telescopes, including technical and project management of multi million dollar instrument projects and programmes. James holds a PhD in Astrophysics and a Masters degree in Electronics with Space Science & Technology. He has 40+ technical publications and is an inventor on two patents for optical micro-positioning systems.

  • Ms. Shanae King (Australian National University, Australia)

    Shanae King Shanae is an Instrumentation Engineer for the Detector & Electronics group at the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA). With extensive experience in embedded systems and Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), Shanae’s primary role includes the design and development of the SkyHopper Camera control system. Shanae holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechatronics) and Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) with First Class Honours and a University Medal from the ANU. She has co-authored several publications on ANU’s “Rosella” detector array controller, and its applications in space.

  • Prof. Anna Moore (Australian National University, Australia)

    Prof. Anna Moore Prof. Anna Moore is the Director of the Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre at Mount Stromlo Observatory at the Australian National University (ANU).

  • Prof. Michael Ashley (University of New South Wales, Australia)

    Michael Ashley Michael Ashley is a Professor of Physics at UNSW in Sydney. He has extensive experience in establishing large optical and infrared telescopes, and has been at the forefront of the Australian push to establish a large telescope on the Antarctic Plateau.

Spacecraft & Deployable Mechanisms
  • Prof. Iver Cairns (Univeristy of Sydney, Australia)

    Iver Cairns Prof. Cairns has over 30 years experience in space physics and space weather research, with an extensive catalogue of publications. As a professor in Space Physics at the University of Sydney, he is a Co-Investigator on NASA’s STEREO mission and, since June 2019, on NASA’s two new SMEX missions, PUNCH and TRACERS. Within Australia he has led the 2010-2019 Decadal Plan for Australian Space Science, and since then has worked to “put runs on the board” to convince Governments to invest in the space sector. He led the INSPIRE-2 CubeSat project, which launched in May 2017 and re-entered in November 2018, still functioning. INSPIRE-2 and UNSW-ECO were the first Australian-built and owned CubeSats to operate in space. He currently leads CUAVA, the ARC Training Centre for CubeSats, UAVs, and Their Applications, which is training people, solving research problems, and working on commercial outcomes for its industry, academic, and governmental partners.

  • Dr. James Mason (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, USA)

    James Mason Dr. James Paul Mason is a solar physicist and aerospace engineer, presently in the NASA Postdoctoral Program. He spent 7 years at the University of Colorado, Boulder (CU) working on several CubeSats as a student and then as a postdoc and instructor in the Aerospace Engineering Sciences department. He’s been involved in the CSSWE, MinXSS, QB50-Challenger, CU-E3, and MAXWELL CubeSat missions at CU; the INSPIRESat-1 international CubeSat mission, Guatemalan CubeSat; CubeSat programs at the Universities of Minnesota and Michigan; and now SkyHopper.

  • Prof. Guglielmo Aglietti (University of Auckland, New Zealand)

    Guglielmo Aglietti Professor Guglielmo Aglietti is an internationally leading expert in space engineering and, in particular, space structures and mechanisms. His career started as a stress analyst at Alenia Spazio, working on the Columbus module of the international space station. He then worked at the European Space Agency and in 1995 moved to the University of Southampton where he obtained a PhD and progressed his academic career, obtaining a personal Chair by becoming the head of the Astronautics Research Group. His activities span from academic research & teaching to consultancy for industry, covering both theoretical work and experimental activity.
    He was awarded the RAEng Research Chair in Space Engineering, and became Director of the Surrey Space Centre (University of Surrey), with responsibilities covering all its research groups, working on a range of topics from space missions design and delivery, to hardware development (from concept design to MAIT) to downstream applications, including educational & knowledge transfer activities. He was and is, the ongoing principal investigator of pioneering missions for technology demonstrations like active removal of space debris, while his work has been presented at the leading international conferences, and featured on various media outlets and is described in over 250 publications.


Australian Astronomical Observatory ∙ Australian National University ∙ Cambridge University ∙ Curtin University ∙ Istituto Nazionale Di Astrofisica ∙ Macquarie University ∙ Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics ∙ NASA Goddard ∙ NASA Ames ∙ Space Telescope Science Institute ∙ Stonybrook University ∙ Swinburne Institute of Technology ∙ Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg ∙ University of Colorado ∙ University of Leicester ∙ University of New South Wales ∙ University of Southern Queensland ∙ University of Virginia ∙ University of Western Australia