Australian National Concurrent Design Facility (ANCDF)

UNSW Canberra Space is home to Australia's first space mission design facility. The Australian National Concurrent Design Facility (ANCDF) provides the capability to develop space missions from start to finish. It is a tool to accelerate and improve mission concept definition by having a team of experts collaborate concurrently and collocated. The ANCDF was developed based on first hand experience in similar facilities in the European space industry. It is particularly targeting the Australian space sector and puts emphasis on customer integration and makes implementation cost and schedule an integral part of the technical design.

Some highlighted features of the ANCDF include:

  • Main room with 16 domain specific work stations
  • Highly integrated software architecture based on CNES's IDM-CIC concurrent engineering software
  • Splinter room with 8 seats
  • Long U-shaped arrangement to facilitate communication among participants
  • 7 large plasma screens to provide unobstructed visibility at every seat
  • Flexible, individual screen sharing for participants
  • Video- and audioconference capability
  • Electronic whiteboard
  • 17m2 of whiteboard walls


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 (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales), who have provided software and training.

With the ANCDF, UNSW Canberra Space has become a trusted partner of the Australian Government in space mission development.

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


A list of available internship and project / thesis opportunities is shown on the right. Interested students are always encouraged to get in contact directly as it is likely that the list might be missing some interesting topics.

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?


Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon. Christopher Pyne visits UNSW Canberra Space
to inspect the ANCDF and discuss the progress of the M1 satellite mission.