Getting ACRUX-1 off the shelf, overseas, and set to be launched into space soon is an incredible feat in itself. But we believe our satellite tells a much deeper story beyond that extraordinary effort. ACRUX-1 represents a lot of unique achievements and big firsts – not just for us, but for Australia as a whole.
In the first of this three-part series, we spoke to our managerial team about some of the accomplishments, challenges, and experiences MSP and its departments – Education Innovation, Business Sustainability and Creative Communications – have had over the years, and how these things put ACRUX-1 in a league of its own.
One of the most unique and largest education challenges with ACRUX-1 has been that it’s one of the first completely student-led satellite development and launch initiatives – that is, one unsupported by university staff – from start to finish.
Unlike other student satellite initiatives in Australia, we’ve had to take a multi-disciplinary approach to upskilling our engineering, science, communications, marketing, business and law students from universities across Melbourne. And we did this while delivering in every single one of these areas simultaneously – all without paid professionals to support!
It was an extraordinary effort to say the least. We worked hard to develop comprehensive networks across Australia to get the right technical support for students as needed, especially in engineering a satellite and in navigating the complex regulatory environment to launch.
Getting ACRUX-1 designed and developed took active engagement with industry mentors to take on leadership roles in guiding our volunteers, especially around best practice in project management and engineering.
We went through many iterations of business cases by students, in order to get the funding to support the development of ACRUX-1 and understand the value of why we undertake these projects. Over time we learned to adapt agile principles and scrum methodology for our team of student volunteers. These principles and methodologies created the right feedback loops and velocity of work across about 80 MSP volunteers, each putting in 10 hours per week with no full-time support staff – an extremely unique case for a company.
But getting work done wasn’t just about a single project. We were law students working with engineering students with marketing students with business students – and we created a unique model of our organisation as the training vehicle.
Learning how to design a whole new organisation structure that works best for students —with the aim to get work done while also supplementing their current studies – has given us incredible insights into how we believe we can pave the way into the next era of education.
A big part of that insight has been in operationalising a vision to help provide the right cultural spread. Because education requires more than just hands-on skills: it requires emotional intelligence, empathy, and the ability to cultivate a growth mindset.
Andrew Wetherell, Managing Director