Competition time for QPL!

by | 10 Jun 2024 | Blog Posts

With the academic year drawing to a close, competition season is upon us and what better time to look at some of the events Northern Ireland’s largest rocketry team is involved in, both looking back over the last couple of months and ahead to a busy July. It has been an eventful first year for QPL and the team is immensely grateful for the support of Springco, and all the other sponsors, without whom the team would be unable to carry out their dreams.


At the end of April, members from QPL attended the UKROC Northern Ireland Heats at Langford Lodge. Hosted by ADS, UKROC is a rocketry competition for secondary school students between the ages of 11-18 and requires them to design, build and fly a rocket to heights of over 800 ft! Each rocket carries an egg which must return to Earth un-scrambled in order for the teams to be successful. The winners of the regional contest go on to compete on a national stage with the UK winners representing the country at the Farnborough International Air show 2024.
Students submit their rockets for scrutineering to QPL members – via QPL
QPL members volunteered on the day and helped with scrutineering the students rockets as well as launch pad setup working alongside UKROC Rocketeer John Jacomb who was acting Range Safety Officer (RSO) on the day. The launch site, which has excellent views of Lough Neagh, hosted launches from schools across Northern Ireland with varying degrees of success. Congratulations to Friends School Lisburn who were victorious at the end of an action packed day of rocketry. QPL would like to thank ADS for inviting the team and for hosting an excellent event.
Not every launch went according to plan – via QPL

QUB Open Days

In both April and June, QPL has been well represented at open days for Queen’s University Belfast. These open days give the team a great opportunity to interact with what might be the next generation of QPL members and increase awareness around the team in general. Every year thousands of secondary school students visit QUB and explore the campus as they decide which university they will attend in September. Meeting incoming students like this allows the team room to grow in the future as existing members graduate and move on to bigger and better things thanks to the experience they gained from being a part of QPL. From attending both UK ROC and the university open days, its clear to see that the future of the space industry is bright!
QPL well representred at the university open day  – via QUB Aerospace Society

July competitions

After an intense 9 months of hard work from over 40 students, the academic year has come to a close and that means it’s competition finals time. 3 teams from QPL will be representing Northern Ireland in national competitions in July across a variety of disciplines. The first, which has been discussed previously, is UK Race2Space (R2S) taking place in Westcott Space Cluster. The QPL propulsion and testing teams have been hard at work developing the first every hybrid rocket engine on the island of Ireland which will be fired at the competition finals this summer.
The QUB Mach 24 team hard at work designing their 1.5 km rocket and can-sat – via QUB Aerospace Society
Working alongside them has been the QUB Mach24 team who will travel to Machrihanish, Scotland to compete in the UK’s premier rocketry competition. The team is currently in the process of building not only a high powered rocket but also a can-sat which they will fly to a target altitude of 1.5 km. This can-sat is designed to survey agricultural land through visual analysis of crops using an on-board camera. Like the other 2 competitions, this is the first time a team from Northern Ireland has entered Mach24.
Build time for the Mars Rover team – via QUB Aerospace Society
Rockets aside, the team also has members competing in the UKSEDS Olympus Rover Trials this summer which will take place at RAL Space in the Harwell Space Cluster. The competition requires teams to design, build and eventually even operate their very own Mars rover in a simulated Martian environment. The rovers are also taken through extensive vibration testing, similar to that which would be carried out on an industry level spacecraft. QUB’s rover is designed to navigate the Martian surface before collecting and transporting cargo with a robotic scoop.
From all the members of QPL and the Aerospace Society as a whole, we wish the very best of luck to all 3 teams in their competitions as they represent Northern Ireland for the first time ever on a national stage. The team has had a hugely successful first year and thoroughly look forward to getting stuck in with new personnel for the new academic year this September.

For updates on QPL you can follow the team’s Instagram and LinkedIn or check our their website: