Registration for the 22/23 competition has now closed

The UK has a rapidly growing space launch capability, with spaceports now being actively developed and constructed across the country and with orbital launches to be expected as soon as 2022! With these spaceports, many new rocket companies have also been established within the last few years, aiming to capture the constantly growing market demand for orbital launch capabilities.

UKSEDS has created the National Rocketry Championships with the aim of providing university students who have had no or limited experience in the field of rocketry hands-on experience designing, building and launching a rocket.

Teams are challenged with designing, building and launching a mid-power rocket with the primary goal of reaching the greatest apogee possible. Motor selection will be limited to ensure a fair competition between teams. Teams must also have a payload on their rocket, to be more accurate to real rocket launches. Teams will also be required to submit a brief technical report detailing their design and build for evaluation by our skilled team of industry experts.

If you have any questions or inquiries please contact [email protected]

Funding Opportunities

Teams participating in the National Rocketry Competition will have the opportunity to apply for a grant to reimburse 50% of their costs up to a maximum of £250.

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Orbex, we’re also able to offer a grant for participating teams with at least half of their team members identifying as female or non-binary to also provide 50% of the costs for their rocket. This, combined with the ordinary competition grant, will mean that teams eligible for this grant will have their rocket completely subsidised. 

Who can participate?

The competition is open to all UKSEDS members. If you are not already a member, sign up for free membership today. This includes students (Bachelors to PhD), and we also support graduate teams (as long as team members have graduated within the last 3 years). Team sizes are limited to 15 but there is no lower team limit. There is no entry fee associated with this competition.

Last years competition

Information about last years competition can be found by clicking below

Past Events

2021/22 – Winner: Team Gyrocket, University of Bristol

Fortunately, this year’s competition was back to normal after COVID-19. The winners were team Gyrocket from the University of Bristol. Their distinctive orange rocket’s payload used an autorotation-based alternative recovery system. Two spring-loaded carbon fibre blades popped out of the top of the body tube instead of a parachute. This was controlled by an autogyro-inspired direct control mechanism to allow for it to guide itself autonomously back to the launch pad. They also made a great video for their awards day presentation that documented their whole design, build and launch process.

2020/21 – Winners: Team Unspecific Impulse, University of Birmingham Space Society & Sunride Society Team, University of Sheffield  

This year we had 2 joint winners. Firstly, Team Unspecific Impulse from the University of Birmingham. We were particularly impressed by their demonstration of systems engineering through clear requirements in their design and build report. They also had an impressive custom flight computer that was powered by an Arduino Nano Every.

Our other winner was the Sunride Society Team from the University of Sheffield. They reached an impressive apogee of 1474m which exceeded the previous year’s winners. Their payload measured NO2 and CO2 alongside pressure, temperature and humidity.

2019/20 – Winner: Cranfield Space Agency, Cranfield University

This year’s competition was a bit different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Normally teams have to design, build and launch a rocket, however, due to the closure of rocketry launch sites across the UK and students returning to their homes across the world, this was no longer possible.
Instead, teams had to take a deep dive into their design process. Their designs were judged on:

  • Innovation
  • Simulation data
  • Communication of design
  • OpenRocket altitude
  • Design justifications

It was a close call with only 2.7 points separating the top three teams but in the end there can only be one winner which was:
Cranfield Space Agency from Cranfield University.
Their rocket “Message in a bottle” reached a theoretical altitude of 1121m on a 2-grain Cessaroni G126 ‘White Thunder’ motor. Interesting features of their rocket were its 3D printed fin-can and nose cone with an integrated payload of a Raspberry Pi Zero and camera plus a bottle with handwritten messages in it, hence their rocket name, this also acted as ballast to shift their centre of gravity forward. We really loved this touch of ingenuity and fun in their design.

Special mentions:
Second place goes to Space:Exe from University of Exeter.
Third place goes to Loughborough Space Society from Loughborough University.

2018/19 – Winner: Enillwyr, University of South Wales

It was a close call with two teams only points away from each other but Team Enillwyr from the University of South Wales came out on top as the winners for 2018/19!
Their rocket called The Element reached an altitude of 909m on a 2-grain Cessaroni G126 ‘White Thunder’ motor. Interesting features of their rocket included its 3D printed fin-can and the integrated payload of a Pnut altimeter into the nose cone to enable a shorter and lighter body tube for their rocket reducing weight and adding stability.

Special mentions:
Second place goes to Team Oxford Brookes Rockets from Oxford Brookes University
Third place goes to Team High Flyers from Cardiff University.

2017/18 – Winner: UWEBAR, University of the West of England

The champions for this year were UWEBAR, from the University of the West of England. We loved their 3D printed fin can with removable fins and custom boattail and unique parachute mounting method. In addition, they 3D printed a nose cone which housed their avionics which included a barometer and GPS which measured altitude separately and were both verified as accurate using a standard flight altimeter. Flying to an altitude of 539m with a Cesaroni 107G83-14A ‘Blue Streak’ motor.

2016/17 – Winner: SPARK, Keele University

SPARK from from Keele University won the Championship for this year! Their rocket, named ‘The Flying Squirrel’, flew on a Pro Cessaroni G250-Vmax and reached an altitude of 227m. They also designed a 3D printed fin can which included three rotating cylinders to produce a Magnus effect to convert the energy of the air moving past their rocket to generate a greater thrust.

2015/16 – Winner: Cranfield Space Program, Cranfield University

The winners of the 2015/16 competition was Cranfield Space Program, with their rocket, ‘Rockety McRocketface’ which was launched to a winning apogee of 828 meters.

2014/15 – Winner: UBSEDS, University of Bristol

The winning team was UBSEDS from the University of Bristol! We also want to give an honorable mention to CranSEDS from Cranfield University and GCA Rocketeers from Greig City Academy. These two teams put in a considerable amount of effort into the competition but unfortunately due to no fault of their own never managed to launch their rockets.

2013/14 – Winner: StrathSEDS, Strathclyde University

The winner of the inaugural National Rocketry Championship was StrathSEDS from Strathclyde University. Their rocket, aptly named ‘JUST TESTING’, reached an altitude of 987.6m, employing a unique deployment mechanism.

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