A group of budding scientists is ready for blast-off. The ‘UQ Space’ crew are gearing up for Australia’s only rocket competition.

Laura Lavelle reports.


T minus 24 hours until the big launch.

It may not look like much, but this rocket is one year in the making.

Myrthe Snoeks, UQ Space Managing Director: “It’s all real, right. We’ve made everything ourselves, engineered everything ourselves. So, while we aren’t launching people to space, all the research and test we are launching from these sounding rockets is still relevant.”

The ‘Thunda From Down Under’ competition is set to host rocketeers from all over the world.

With UQ being competition favourites.

Domonic Loveday, UQ Space Recovery Team: “Seeing a year’s worth of work go into it and actually getting a full, successful launch is the greatest thing we are going to see.”

The ‘Minerva’ rocket has cost more than ten thousand dollars.

65 team members worked thousands of hours.

Jesse Silliers, UQ Space Propulsion Lead: “That’s the thing about these rockets that we have; there are so many components, and everyone is flight critical. So, if we lose the batteries, we lose the whole avionics and recovery system. If we lose a fin, we lose structural stability on the whole rocket.”

These rockets are faster than the speed of sound.

Reaching speeds of six-hundred-and-80 metres per second.

But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing.

Domonic Loveday, UQ Space Recovery Team: “We had a bit of a malfunction with some of our rockets out there. There’s always little mistakes with different people designing different components.”

Although rocket launching has its ups and downs, the team says it’s worth it in the end.

Win or lose, the comradery they’ve built is out of this world!

Laura Lavelle, QUT News.