UPC students build a rocket that travels at 2,000 km/h

UPC students build a rocket that travels at 2,000 km/h

His name is Lucid and he has already made history, just like his parents: Alba Badia (coordinator), Abimael Campillo, Antonio Estrella, Arno Pena, Alex Ribas, Sergi Pena, Javier Salmerón, Pablo Torres and Alfred Valentin, nine international students. Search Higher School of Industrial, Aerospace and Audiovisual Engineering of Terrassa (ESEIAAT) of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC). From June 17-22, his supersonic rocket will compete in the top division of the Spaceport America Cup, the world’s most prestigious university rocket competition held annually at the world’s first commercial rocket launch spaceport in New Mexico, to the United States. This is an achievement that no Spanish team has achieved yet.


With a weight of 40 kilograms and a length of more than three metres, Lucid will fly at speeds of 2,000 kilometers per hour and will compete in the nine-kilometre altitude category with the best universities in the world. Of the 28 teams accepted in this category, only three are European universities: UPC, Technical University of Munich, and Polytechnic University of Bucharest (the rest are from the USA, Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and Thailand). .

Coordinated by a woman Despite being a very male team — Badia is the only woman among the nine members — the UPC students named their rocket Lucid after Shannon Matilda Wells Lucid (1943), a retired astronaut who flew with NASA five times On his last mission, he lived in space for 188 days, breaking all records.

In addition to being supersonic, Lucid is a monocoque rocket with a fuselage made mostly of carbon fibre, except for the electronics unit, which was designed specifically for this type of flight – that is, for supersonic flight – with an aluminum tip. and fiberglass “to provide a radioactively transparent chamber,” Cosmic Research explained, noting that the entire electronic equipment was also developed by the Terrassa team. This will allow them to send real-time data from the aircraft’s multiple sensors (position, speed, acceleration) to the ground station, which they also designed. “This component is key, because it also activates the recovery system and allows the team to locate the missile once it lands using two parachutes,” they add. “This assignment is another milestone in our career.”

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“After successfully completing the Bondar mission, in which we were able to break the university altitude record in Spain, reaching 7.8 km, and launching the most powerful rocket ever in Catalonia, now is the time to impose the challenge that will help us ‘one day reach 100 km,’” “We are excited that we will launch our rocket from the port used by Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin,” notes Alba Badia, Cosmic Research Coordinator and Undergraduate Master’s Student in Industrial Engineering at ESEIAAT. For us, being able to live this experience is truly a huge victory.”

More than 1,700 students from around the world participate in the Spaceport America Cup categories. Last year, 158 teams competed (80 US teams, 78 teams from other countries).

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