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Search begins for aspiring UK rocket scientists to retain international title

Posted 23 September 2019 · Add Comment

The UK’s aspiring astronauts and rocket scientists are being called upon to compete in the UK’s largest youth rocket competition. Students aged 11 – 18 are invited to enter the UK Youth Rocketry Challenge (UKRoC), with the national champions going forward to take on the USA, France and Japan in an international final.

Sponsored by Lockheed Martin, the UKRoC enables young people to gain practical insight into how science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects are used by the aerospace and space sectors.

Courtesy ADS

In June 2019, North Halifax Grammar School, who won the national final, went on to beat the USA, France and Japan at the international final in Paris (above).

The UK now looks to the next national champion to retain this international title on home turf at Farnborough International Airshow in July 2020.

Paul Everitt, Chief Executive of ADS, the organisers of the UKRoC, said: “We celebrated an amazing win in this year’s international final in Paris, as a fantastic team of students from Halifax showed the team work and engineering skills needed to beat competition from around the world.
“Now we are looking for contestants from every part of the UK to take part in the 2020 competition and perhaps put together a winning team that can match this incredible feat at next year’s Farnborough International Airshow.
“The science and engineering skills it takes to compete in the UK Youth Rocketry Challenge can help young people build fantastic careers in space, aerospace and many other sectors. I would encourage schools and youth groups from around the country to participate in this exciting competition for a unique experience and a glimpse of life as a rocket scientist.”

Nik Smith, Director for Lockheed Martin Space UK, said: “We’ve been building satellites and spacecraft for decades and it is always so inspiring to see the ideas and innovations that young people bring to the Rocketry Challenge. This is a great way for the UK’s next generation of engineers, astrophysicists and maybe even astronauts to develop new skills and understand more about the exciting opportunities in Space.”

UKRoC involves the design, build and launch of a model rocket with the aim of ensuring the ‘passenger’ – one raw egg – remains intact throughout the launch and landing. Weighing a maximum of 650 grams, the rocket must reach 800 feet with a specific target flight duration of 40-43 seconds. Rules governing the competition are altered every year to ensure old designs can’t be repeated.

Teams across the UK compete regionally to qualify for the national finals with the winners representing the UK in a fly off against teams from the USA, Japan and France at the Farnborough International Airshow in July 2020.

The aerospace and space industries collectively employ more than 160,000 people across the UK, at companies such as Lockheed Martin, Airbus, BAE Systems, GKN, Thales Alenia Space, MBDA and Rolls Royce and are supported by nationwide supply chains. UKRoC is a great introduction to the skills used by many of these organisations which provide high-value and well-paid careers locally.


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