EPFL Rocket Team

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


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 fifty active members, all driven by the same goal: to win a student rocket engineering competition this summer.

Team 2017/2018
Launch of Matterhorn at the competition (2018)

Who are we ?

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 third year the EPFL Rocket Team has participated in the Spaceport America Cup. Two years ago, Team Duster arrived 8th in its category by launching their RORO rocket at an altitude of 2800 meters.
And last year, the EPFL Rocket Team launched Matterhorn and won the “Jim Furfaro award for technical excellence”

The EPFL Rocket Team in numbers

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Student members
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All the teams at the 2018 competition

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.

The team preparing the rocket at the 2018 competition

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

The Spaceport America Cup 2018

Can you spot our poster, the Swis flag and our rocket ?

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