Sydney students win rocketry competition

Image credit: Allen Chan

Students from the University of Sydney won their category in the Spaceport America Cup on Saturday, June 29.

The team was up against students from 51 teams from around the world, including top technical universities such as Princeton and ETH Zurich.

The rocket, named Silvereye, created by University of Sydney students competed in the 10,000ft commercial off-the-shelf category.

The rocket ultimately reached 27 feet short of the target altitude using a solid propellant to achieve speeds close to the speed of sound.

The rocket was constructed from a unique design and used a manufactured carbon fibre airframe.

A win such as this opens up the possibility for the students to collaborate with other universities on rocketry projects in the future, according to team president André Franck Bauer.

“Our win represents the biggest achievement for university student rocketry in Australia’s history. We are proud to have represented our country well and look forward to collaborating with other universities for next year’s competition,” said Franck Bauer.

Throughout the process the team drew on assistance from partner aerospace organisations to develop the space industry. The team’s chief engineer, Mitchell Galletly, highlighted how the design of the rocket made the team stand out.

“Our rocket has been successfully flown and recovered both in Australia and now in the US, highlighting the robustness and adaptiveness of our design,” said Galletly.

This achievement builds on the successes of the University of Sydney Rocketry Team, the oldest tertiary student team in Australia. In 2018, the team were the first Australian university team to produce and construct a rocket that reached 10,000ft.

University of Sydney, vice-chancellor, Dr Michael Spence said this achievement reflected the university as a whole.

“Their success in New Mexico not only demonstrates the high calibre of our students, but also showcases our commitment to world-class research in aerospace engineering,” said Spence.