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Sheffield students launch record-breaking rocket

Sheffield students rocketing into the record books Photo: University of Sheffield

Students from Sheffield are celebrating after launching a record-breaking rocket.

They fired the missile 36,274ft into the sky, smashing the previous UK record by almost 2,000 feet. The record has stood for 19 years.

The landmark was made in the Spaceport America Cup – the world’s biggest competition for student rocket engineers involving more than 120 universities from around the world.

The students travelled to the event in New Mexico, USA. The record-breaking rocket was named Helen, in honour of Sheffield's Dr Helen Sharman OBE, the first Briton in space.

Rocket Launchers - Student record breakers Credit: University of Sheffield

I’m super proud of the team. Without those late nights, the countless meetings and them balancing their full-time studies with this project on the side, this wouldn’t have been possible.”

– Vishan Nair - Student Team Leader

The student's UK altitude record for high powered rockets has been verified by the UK Rocketry Association.

Team SunrIde, which is made up of engineering and science students at the University of Sheffield, worked on the project in their spare time.

Vishan Nair, team leader and a fourth year mechanical engineering student, said: “Setting a new altitude record for the UK has been the aim since we started. I’m massively proud that we have fulfilled this amazing feat.

“I strongly believe that SunrIde has the potential to evolve into the leading rocket engineering programme for science, technology, engineering and maths students in the UK.”

Viktor Fedun, an engineering lecturer, said: “The space industry in the 21st century is growing year by year.

"It is very exciting to be part of it. The Sheffield Space Initiative was founded in 2017 to further engage our students in the science and engineering challenges related to the exploration of space."