Engaging students in space technology projects in collaboration with academia and industry partners.

Our history

Founded in October 2016, the EPFL Rocket Team brings together motivated and passionate aerospace enthusiasts. Following the desire of many students from different engineering faculties to put into practice their accumulated knowledge, this interdisciplinary student initiative was born. The team has around two hundred active members, all driven by the same goal: to win a student rocket engineering competition this summer.


Who we are

The project brings together students from EPFL and HEIG under the name EPFL Rocket Team. The project’s goal is to design and launch a rocket carrying a scientific experiment to an altitude of 3 km. Nearly all of the rocket is designed by the students. The parts are machined either by students or by our sponsors.

In addition to refining our engineering knowledge, the Spaceport America Cup allows us to build a project over a long period, subject to the same time, financial and technical constraints that we will encounter in our future careers.

This is the sixth year the EPFL Rocket Team is participating in the Spaceport America Cup. Five years ago, Team Duster arrived 8th in its category by launching their RORO rocket at an altitude of 2800 meters. Four years ago, the EPFL Rocket Team launched Matterhorn and won the “Jim Furfaro award for technical excellence”. During the 2019 competition, EPFL Rocket Team finished in the top 10.

Sadly, because of COVID-19 pandemy, the competition had to be cancelled in 2020. We are hoping that the 2021 one will occur and that we will be able to participate again !

Moreover, the EPFL Rocket Team has now a few other projects such as last year’s IO project, renamed SpaceRace this year. It is a project allowing its attendants to gain experience in rockets and their making, before participating in more consequent projects such as the Spaceport America Cup’s rocket construction.

EPFL Rocket Team in numbers


The Spaceport America Cup

The Spaceport America Cup is the biggest students rocket competition in the world. The objective is to propel around 4 kg of live load into several kilometre altitude. As a result, teams design and build their own rocket every year to compete with each other during launches at the Virgin Galactic Spaceport, in the New Mexico desert, USA.

Spaceport America is a new spaceport developed by Virgin Galactic, located in the desert of New Mexico. SpaceShipTwo & WhiteKnightTwo spaceships are launched in this space center, like many sub-orbital flights from UP Aerospace.

Created in 2006, the competition has witnessed the performances of teams from renowned universities, such as MIT, Caltech and McGill. Moreover, the Spaceport America Cup has become largely international with the arrival of teams from many countries around the world, including India, Brazil, Turkey or South Korea.

This competition is organized by the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing and promoting engineering and experimentation in the space sector.

Spaceport America Cup 2021

We will be participating in the 10’000 feet SRAD Hybrid Engine category of the 2021 Spaceport America Cup, which will be held from June 22th to 26th.

Points awarded at the competition for :

  • Written technical report on their project concept, requirements, design implementation, and testing
  • Written technical report appendices on safety analysis, including hazard & risk assessments
  • Quality and competency of final design implementation
  • Amount of student researched & developed systems, versus off-the-shelf components
  • Rocket flight performance measured by distance from target altitude and successful recovery
  • Payload innovation and functionality
  • Professional conduct and use of procedures

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