Search our site
Search our site

Kingston University's rocket engineering team aiming to build most powerful 3D-printed rocket to be produced by students in the UK

Posted Monday 13 May 2024

Kingston University's rocket engineering team aiming to build most powerful 3D-printed rocket to be produced by students in the UK Part of the KURE team alongside Dr Peter Shaw

The Kingston University Rocket Engineering team (KURE) is building the most powerful 3D-printed rocket engine ever produced by students in the UK.

The 3D-printed rocket engine is being built as part of the National Propulsion Competition which takes place this July and is held at the Westcott Space Cluster in Buckinghamshire. It sees teams of student teams from across the country compete to see who can build the most successful rocket engine.

The competition forms part of the Race to Space initiative, led by the University of Sheffield, which aims to provide the UK space sector with the better trained, well prepared graduates it needs to continue its ambitious growth.

Vinay Williams, a second year doctorate student at Kingston University, who is the team's systems engineer, said it had ambitious plans for the future. "Our engine is going to be a big improvement on last year's and we hope for it to be the powerhouse for our space shot within the next five years," he said. "We took a lot from last year's competition, with Rolls Royce being impressed with our engine as well as a number of industry experts."

The competition is judged by prominent figures from the engineering industry including the likes of Rolls Royce, McLaren and the Alpine F1 team. There is a symposium element on the final day of the competition where the team gives a presentation to the industry experts on how their engines were constructed.

The team has ambitious plans for the future and aim to compete in the Spaceport America Cup in the future. Held in the United States, it is the biggest student rocket competition in the world. Next year they also want to conduct a full launchpad test which would bring them one significant step closer to launching into space.

As part of the competition's requirements the team have also been involved in some important outreach work. This has included visiting local primary schools, such as Knollmead in Worcester Park, and running sessions with the children to help make and launch their own water bottle rockets.

Last year the University unveiled a brand new rocket lab at its Roehampton Vale campus. The lab is the only of its kind at any university across Europe.

The team's project manager, aerospace engineering master's student Mathias Wehler, explained how the facility has been helping the team for this year's competition. "The experience of using the facility is really going to help us going forward," he said. "It's allowed us to plan things out more thoroughly and perform a lot more tests than we could previously," he added.

Senior aerospace engineering lecturer Dr Peter Shaw said the students participating in the project will benefit from the experience. "This student led project has been a massive confidence booster to our students developing industrial relevant skills as part of the Kingston University future workforce strategy," he said. "If successful, the engine will be the most powerful student built and test fired rocket engine in the UK. It is part of our engine development program to build a sub-orbital rocket that will propel our students work, dedication, effort and dreams literally into Space."

The team are now continuing their preparations ahead of the National Propulsion Competition where the team will compete in a variety of categories including best engine and best team.

Category: Students

Contact us

General enquiries:

Journalists only:

  • Communications team
    Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3034
    Email us