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Rocket engineers hope to compete in global launch contest

Cranfield gear up for launch Photo:

A bunch of budding rocket engineers are hoping to take part in a special competition in the USA.

Students from Cranfield University are designing their own space rocket, which they hope to launch into the skies above the US later this year.

Members of the University’s CRANSeds society ( Cranfield Students for the Exploration and Development of Space) are taking part in a project to design and develop a rocket for the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC), which will take place in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in June.

The competition is run by The Experimental Sounding Rocket Association

Last year around 110 teams from colleges and universities in eleven countries, took part. Students launched rockets to target altitudes of 10,000 and 30,000 feet.

Daniel Sieradzki, aged 23, is one of the students involved in the project. He said:

“It’s an ambitious project. Although some of us in the team have been involved in rocket development before, none of us have ever done anything on this scale. So there is a lot of learning going on.”

– Daniel Sieradzki

The teams will be judged on a number of factors - including:

  • Technical poster and podium sessions, a written technical report report on their project concept, requirements, design implementation, and testing
  • Quality and competency of final design implentation
  • Amount of student researched & developed systems, versus off-the-shelf components
  • Rocket flight performance measured by distance from target altitude and successful recovery
  • Payload innovation and functionality
  • Professional conduct and use of procedures

The space industry has become big business. Commercial firms like Blue Origin, founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, and Space X have been working with NASA on a variety of projects.

Earlier this month Elon Musk's Space X Crew Dragon ship - which will eventually be used to ferry astronauts into space from US soil - underwent a successful test flight to the International Space Station

The CRANSeds students need to raise around £15,000 to enable them to take part in the competition, and are looking for donations from businesses and individuals to help them achieve their aims. For more information, please visit their fundraising page: