We are the Open University Rocket Student Team designing and building a rocket for participating in Spaceport America Cup 2020 competition. Team members are from across the Open University student body, from undergraduate to PhD students, all aiming to broaden our horizons, learn new skills, and promote space technology and launch in the UK. Previously, the team has participated in Spaceport America Cup 2019 and several team members have experience with building a rover for international student rover competitions.
The Spaceport America Cup is the largest and most competitive intercollegiate rocketry competition in the world held at Spaceport America in New Mexico, USA. The competition has several categories; from targets of 10000 feet in altitude to 30000 feet, and solid, hybrid/liquid motor and student developed rocket fuel classes.
In the 2019 competition, we were one of over 100 student teams and one of 4 UK teams, competing against the likes of Stanford and UCLA. Our rocket placed 38th overall and came in at 19th in the 10000 feet all propulsion types category. A great achievement for the team's first year!
In 2020, we are one of the 150 teams selected for the competition out of over 200 applicants. Due to a successful first year and the experience the team gained, we plan to once again enter the 10000 feet category but with designs to reach for the 30000 feet category if our campaign target is exceeded.
Over the next decade the UK is expanding its launch capabilities with a new vertical launch site in Sutherland and two horizontal launch sites in Newquay and Glasgow Prestwick. Space is opening up and is no longer only for big government agencies such as NASA. This is a great opportunity for UK business to flourish and expand within and beyond the space sector, with space applications already currently supporting other areas such as telecommunications, international development and weather forecasting. We hope to be a part of promoting launch in the UK on an international stage, using the rocket as a tool for learning about launch operations so that these skills could be applied to the benefit of UK launch services.
Exciting and innovative scientific experiments can be performed with rockets, collecting hugely impactful data for many fields. The plan for our rocket is to house a 3U CubeSat containing two proof-of-concept experiments. The first package is an astrophysics experiment monitoring the cosmic ray interactions and the second package will be an astrobiology experiment investigating the effects of high G forces on soil samples. The goal of the first package is to support the development of missions looking into the solar system's space magnetic and radiation environment's effects on supporting life. The second package seeks to support future lander missions investigating the surface of planetary bodies and their ability to support life, eventually returning samples to Earth for examination.
With rockets being a key part of the space industry and widely supporting scientific experimentation, we are keen to be involved and promote their use within the UK.
Houston, we have a problem!
A large proportion of our fundraising target is towards sourcing parts and building the rocket systems; including its payload, flight computers and propulsion. Your donations will also help the team cover the costs of entry to the competition and shipping the rocket to the USA. The funds will be withdrawn by the co-team lead, Rob, into a dedicated bank account set up for the OU student rocket team. We plan to be fully transparent with where your donations go, updating the website with our expenditures (OU Planetary Robotics Student Team website) so you can see how your support has helped the team achieve its goal.
Current budget plan
£523 - 98 mm motor casing
£610 - Competition propellant
£1000 - Materials for airframe
£500 - Flight electronics x2 (primary and redundancy), GPS system and payload materials
£500 - Testing (including a smaller test launch propellant)
£1905.86 - Competition entry for 4 team members and insurance ($1500 for insurance, $200 entry fee, $700 team entry and $50 per team member attending competition)
£250 - Vehicle hire for transporting rocket to launch site
£1500 - Shipping rocket to and from the US
Any excess funds raised will be put towards the 30000 feet design and helping the team cover their travel and accommodation expenses.
Prepare for lift off in 3... 2... 1...
To keep up-to-date with the teams progress head over to our website at https://ou-planetaryrobotics.com/
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As a thank you for your generosity we wish to offer rewards for you to claim. For claiming rewards, donate the specific amount for that reward and email us at [email redacted] with your name and which reward you would like to claim.
For £25 - A mission patch (please include your delivery address in your email).
For £40 - A t-shirt with a selection of two different designs and sizes ranging from S-XXL (please include your delivery address in your email, the required size and design).
For £50 - A 2 cm x 10 cm decal space on the rocket. You can also purchase a larger space on the decal, for example a decal 4 cm x 20 cm space for a donation of £100 etc, 6 cm x 30 cm for a £150 donation etc. (Please include in your email what you would like as your decal).
For £150 - Visit the rocket, meet the team and receive a mission patch (email us to organise a date).
The final designs of the mission patch and t-shirts will be confirmed in a future update. See the image below for an idea of the design of the t-shirts:
(Note: You may claim one reward with each donation, so if you would like multiple rewards feel free to give multiple separate donations. If you have donated more than a reward's donation threshold let us know in your email if you would like that reward instead e.g. £50 donation but would like a mission patch. Due to GDPR, GoFundMe are unable to pass along your details to us so you must contact us to receive any rewards).
Please donate to and share our campaign. If you are unable to donate then please share our fundraiser on social media, your help is vital to our mission. Thank you for your support.
If you have any questions or issues please contact us at [email redacted].
- Lee Quinton
- Leonie Clayson
- Neil Galbraith
- Margaret Corkeran
- Nicholas Braithwaite
Fundraising team: Open University Planetary Robotics Student Team (5)
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