Jun 24

Spaceport America Cup 2021

We are back on the podium at Spaceport America Cup!

After months of hard work perfecting our rocket and payload in preparation for competition reports and demonstrations, we are thrilled to announce that we have won 2nd place in the 30,000 ft COTS category, and 3rd place in the Space Dynamics Laboratory payload challenge. We have brought home silver and bronze this week after competing virtually in Spaceport America Cup, an annual international student rocketry competition that tests the very best of budding rocket scientists. 

Our projects received high scores for the design quality of our rocket and payload and we were the only Australian team to compete in the 30,000 ft category.

Alison Lockley, Executive Director.

Our Executive Director, Alison Lockley said she was proud of our team’s success, especially while competing virtually under pandemic conditions.

“We are so proud to have taken home silver for our design, fabrication and simulation of Firetail. Although this past year has been a challenge for everyone, the team’s success has shown just how much can be accomplished by working collaboratively but remotely. We are buoyed by this recent success, and we look forward to continuing our journey with Spaceport America Cup in future years.”

Chief Engineer and Bachelor of Mechatronic Engineering student, Daniel Cook said the success came from working collaboratively as a team using learnings from the professional aerospace industry. 

Daniel Cook, Chief Engineer.

“Working collaboratively across a team of over 50 students, we implemented a rigorous systems-based approach based on that used in the aerospace industry by organisations, such as the European Space Agency, to manage complicated projects with multiple interacting subsystems.”

“Our success is also testament to what we have learnt in our undergraduate degrees at the University of Sydney, preparing us to work as aerospace professionals.”

Normally held in Las Cruces, New Mexico; Spaceport America Cup was run remotely this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 75 university student teams from 16 countries competed virtually over a three-day online event.

We submitted our rocket designs and launch simulations to a panel of experts from the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association. The submission included a written technical report describing the design of the rocket and a 15-minute video presentation. These were reviewed by judges who then interviewed the team during several video calls.

Firetail (Wibung) render.

Associate Professor Matthew Cleary, who supervised our team said: “The USYD Rocketry Team is an ongoing success story. Not only are they a talented, tight-knit team with a passion for aerospace engineering, but they owe their success to unrelenting perseverance.”

“Their hard work has not gone unnoticed: on top of their rigorous studies they have devoted much of their spare time to designing, tweaking and testing their rockets and payloads, which is exactly the sort passion needed for a career in aerospace engineering.”

This competition has given our team of students a sense of purpose and a chance to socialise with others during the COVID-19 pandemic. Alison Lockley said: “The project has really given us a sense of belonging at a time when everything else has felt quite disconnected.”

This is the second time our rocketry team has been successful at Spaceport America Cup. In 2019 we were  the first Australian team to take part in the competition,  placing first in the 10,000 ft Commercial Off-the-Shelf category and receiving an award for camaraderie and good sportsmanship.

We hope to follow this ongoing success into the future with our new projects- be sure to follow us on our socials to stay up to date with all of our progress and upcoming launches!

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