UQ team aims to send first uni rocket to space

By on 1 September, 2020

A team from the University of Queensland are aiming to send the first to send a student-built rocket and scientific payload into space next year.

The UQ Space team of 90 students are designing and building the ‘Project Asteria’ rocket, which if all goes well will blast off and pass the Kármán Line, or 100 kilometres above sea level, and reach speeds greater than Mach-5.

The team is getting support from UQ aerospace engineering experts and industry partners, including Queensland-based Black Sky Aerospace.

The team’s quest for a new world record has hit some turbulence primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but UQ Space Managing Director, engineering and arts student Myrthe Snoeks, said the team hasn’t given up and on track to achieve their goal next year.

“We started developing the rocket in 2019, and we are now planning and undertaking static testing and sub-orbital launch preparations before our official launch next year,” Ms Snoeks said.

The Project Asteria rocket will be launching from the Beyond the Blue Aerospace launch and test facility near Goondiwindi in western Queensland, known as ‘Funny Farm Space’. The new site was developed in partnership with Black Sky Aerospace to encourage space ventures from Queensland, and is Australia’s only sub-orbital facility permitted to fly through and above controlled airspace. It was home to Australia’s first commercial payload rocket launch by the Qld-based company in 2018.

“Together we are advancing Australia’s space capabilities and showing the world that we’re here and we’re ready,” said Black Sky’s Director Blake Nikolic.

“Working with these bright and committed students also helps us as we develop our internship program in this new industry, and provides our future employees with practical knowledge-based learning.”

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