The SSI Academy aims to train and educate participating students in the SSI projects, transferring them the necessary technical and space physics-related knowledge and skills.

Attending the SSI Academy, students will get the opportunity to

The training programme of the Academy will consist of presentations providing the fundamental and specific knowledge necessary for tasks, including electronics such as Arduinos and Raspberry Pis, introducing the subsystems and the whole development process of spacecraft.

The Academy will extensively use the expertise of students who have been already part of these projects to train new students and thus hand down the experience gained to make sure that the new generation always surpasses the old.

SSI Academy is open to all participating University students and teams will help select new members. The Academy aims to standardise the base level knowledge students will have prior to taking part in the SSI projects.

Students wanting to join an SSI project will have to go through the Academy to ensure they are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills that will make their participation a success for themselves and the entire team.

SunrIde training sessions


Rosie Hurcombe

11 November 2020

The basics of Rocket Design Using Fusion360

2020_11_11_19_55__The basics of Rocket Design Using Fusion360_recording 1_ea89cc14-8ec6-5b1f-82c0-0a09f6833789_recording.mp4

12 January 2021

Introduction to FEA SunrIde

2020_12_01_19_40__Introduction to FEA_Sunride Society Semester 1 Hallam 1_3869790e-46d6-5b1f-9488-02b3dfe52e35_recording.mp4

Ahmed Aly and Alexandre Santos

12 March 2021

Manufacturing and Workshop Skills

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17 December 2020

Introduction to CFD

2020_12_17_20_24__Introduction to CFD_Sunride Society Semester 1 Hallam 2_ace03103-d8e2-5b1f-81e3-0a567f141c09_recording.mp4

21 March 2021

Introduction to CFD - Theory and Practical

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28 March 2021

2D Rocket CFD – Theory and Practical

2021_03_28_14_42__2D Rocket CFD – Theory and Practical_recording 1_fa399f3b-fa31-5c1f-9ace-0a1b507704df_recording.mp4


Zefy Pissaki, Mostafa Eldebeiki and Jacob Lawson 

12 November 2020

Circuit Design and ARDUINO Micro-Controllers

2020_11_12_19_50__Circuitry, Arduino and Power Management_recording 1_8ef8750c-57c7-5b1f-9c8f-06cf98b5e4c5_recording.mp4

Jacob Lawson 

11 December 2020

Creating an Eagle Schematic

2020_12_11_18_50__Eagle Schematic Design_recording 1_8c6e8184-20de-5b1f-8432-0626784de1bb_recording.mp4

Jacob Lawson 

16 December 2020

Board Design in Autodesk Eagle

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Jacob Lawson and Zefy Pissaki

16 April 2021

Programming a Flight Controller

2021_04_16_18_18__Programming a Flight Controller_recording 1_127afd0d-1c41-5c1f-90ad-0268e37763b5_recording.mp4


Dana Arabiyat

19 November 2020

Report writing and boosting employability

2020_11_19_19_40__Report writing and boosting employability_recording 1_bc859d26-d7cc-5b1f-8d81-02845f2684d7_recording.mp4

Jakub Mech and Alec Dent

18 December 2020

Physics of Rocket Engines

2020_12_18_19_31__Physics of Rocket Engines_recording 1_7a72f39e-a1e3-5b1f-968e-028e62f4ba1f_recording.mp4

Jakub Mech and Alec Dent

02 April 2021

Orbital Mechanics

2021_04_02_17_48__Orbital Mechanics_recording 1_1c3d4a00-1b36-5c1f-88d8-0632a4aaa5b7_recording.mp4


Iakov Bobrov (moderator)

16 June 2020

Valispace - a smart collaboration platform for engineers

Stefan Siarov and Caue Napier introduce Valispace, the smart collaboration platform for engineers. This talk covers the reasons why Valispace is becoming a popular tool among student-led engineering teams, including SSI projects SunbYte and SunrIde. The capabilities of Valispace are presented by examining the pre-designed model of the satellite ValiSat. 

For more information about Valispace, contact: or visit


Gianni Heung

29 May 2020

How to collaborate effectively if your team is remote?

Sunbyte II alumni Gianni Heung introduces the challenges and solutions when she was working remotely from Hong Kong. She speaks about how we can learn from overseas experiences. 

Topics covered included the tips for applying student projects, skills to work under stressful environments, project management overseas and more.


Matt Ogden and Yasin Boulakhras

25 February 2020

ACCU - high performance fasteners

Accu’s Engineering Manager, Yasin Boulakhras, and Business Development Manager, Matt Ogden introduce Accu’s Engineering Component business. They offer tips and advice on choosing fasteners for high performance environments such as those used underwater and in space. 

Topics covered include the different types of stainless steel, galvanic corrosion, coatings, vibration management and weight considerations.


Iakov Bobrov, Joshua Brownlow and Joseph Middleton

25 October 2019

Project SunbYte: overview of SunbYte III mission

A high level summary of the SunbYte project including motivation, objectives and the history of SunbYte I and II. 

Followed by a technical overview of the early versions of SunbYte and a detailed analysis of SunbYte III's design and systems, including an evaluation of its flight performance, improvements over previous iterations of the project and future work. Concluding with advice for future generations and SunbYte IV announcements.


Yun Hang Cho

8 November 2018

SSI project planning, balloon launching and CubeSats

This talk covers how to manage and set up team projects. The talk outlined lessons learnt from previous projects and what can be done to overcome these. The talk also covered information about high altitude balloon launches and a crash course about CubeSats.


SURE: Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience


Mr Nikilesh  Ramesh


Prof Viktor Fedun 

Dr Yuanbo Nie

Modelling Rocket Control Surfaces for AirBrakes

Designing and testing control systems for rocketry is a challenging task. Current university-level rocketry doesn’t include advanced GNC systems implemented such as Thrust vectoring, Air brakes, Active Fin stabilization, etc. These are fundamentally due to two things Complexity and Funding requirements. Developing a control system can be particularly hard when implementing it directly onto a flight computer instead a separate tool can be used to simplify the design, test, and build process. Software like Simulink can be used to develop custom tools to help in this process. This project aims to develop a tool for creating an Airbrake system for Sunride. Furthermore, it will also look into ways the tool can be generalized to apply it to other domains. The Simulink model will comprise a model of the rocket, an atmospheric model, custom control functions, and actuators. 

The project will also look at how to integrate Simulink into the avionics workflow. Automating data transfer from other design software that SunrIde engineers use will be considered. This research will significantly boost the capability and productivity of engineers involved in GNC.



Mr Yannis Papaioannou

Supervisor: Mr Phil Leighton

Project SunrIde: The Implementation of Photovoltaic Cells on Aircraft Surfaces

Aviation is accountable for nearly 2% of carbon dioxide emissions and there has been a need for aircraft to be more environmentally sustainable . In the last decades, solar energy via photovoltaic panels is being used as an alternative energy source for humanity. Solar-powered airplanes have piqued the curiosity of the general public and the aviation industry due to their usage as an environmentally friendly alternative. 

Mr Ashley Shaw

Supervisor: Prof Viktor Fedun

Project SunrIde: Modular, Transportable and Adjustable Rocket Launch Rail

The function of a launch rail is to guide the rocket as it accelerates to a high enough speed ensuring it reaches a safe trajectory. For SunrIde’s larger rockets, launch rails with a length of up to 60 feet (18.3m) are required. This project will look at ways of developing a modular and easily transportable launch rail that will allow SunrIde to launch at locations that wouldn’t have been possible before. Ideally, the setup designed will be lightweight and easily adjustable for different rocket configurations that don’t require as long of a launch rail. Additionally, the system should make use of commonly available components and be easy to set up.


Ms Zafeiria Pissaki


Mr Richard Padden

Supervisor: Dr Viktor Fedun

Project SunrIde: Modular Telemetry and Ground Control Adaptable to Multiple Launch Vehicles

Project SunrIde is developing rockets with increasingly advanced capabilities which are beginning to necessitate remote monitoring and control.  Many university-level rocket systems implement GPS tracking but don’t provide for more advanced monitoring of system state and environmental conditions both outside the rocket and in the payload bay. This project will aim to devise an optimal framework for tracking and monitoring a high-altitude (up to 100 km) vehicle via a ground station whilst making the best use of the limited bandwidth available with low-cost off-the-shelf hardware.  A review will be conducted of state-of-the-art telemetry and ground control implementations across a range of launch vehicle types and budgets. This will feed into a proposal for a system design which can be tailored to fit the mission profiles of SunrIde’s current and future rockets. Further, it should be straightforward for other teams to tailor this blueprint to their needs.

Team SunrIde's first Ground Station which will be used for control and live telemetry of high power rockets. The team is expected to launch thrice in summer 2021 using a solid model rocket (1200ft), a solid motor rocket (30,000ft) and a liquid engine rocket (10,000ft) . Recording and transmitting analytic system behaviour will support analysis of root causes of system failures and opportunities for improvement.

Research Allocation:

Richard: methods of maximising bandwidth utilisation; dynamically shaping content during mission; preprocessing (cleaning, compression, encryption); resilient encoding into frames for transmission; end-to-end process from a systems engineering perspective.  Then: design a robust and adaptable signal pipeline; develop a paradigm for straightforward mission-specific configuration.

Zafeiria: Provide radio link research and analyse radio modules and antennae appropriate for different applications. Investigate GPS location and trajectory tracking for high altitudes reaching space. Ground Station Facilitation, development of the Ignition box module prototype product. Investigate Graphical User Interface implementation to visualise live telemetry and system behaviour.


Mr Joseph Middelton

Supervisor: Dr Viktor Fedun

Project SunbYte 4

The aim of the project is to construct and launch a high-altitude solar tracker telescope on a zero-pressure balloon in order to capture undistorted images of the sun. This has significant challenges and is very difficult to do from the ground, due to atmospheric distortions.  The overall aim of the project is to prove that not expensive solar telescopes that can be launched into the high atmosphere and are as effective and more cost efficient than expensive, stationary ground-based telescopes.  Three iterations of the tracker telescope have been launched before working with different space agencies, REXUS/BEXUS program from Estrange Space Centre in Sweden and twice with NASA’s Hasp program from New Mexico. Based on these flights, improvements will be made to the payload structure and software in order to demonstrate the further feasibility of the project. This year the project will fly from Estrange Space Centre in partnership with the HEMERA (Horizon 2020), SSC program.  The observations captured by the payload will be used by solar researchers and can be useful for the monitoring of solar flares. High energetic solar events e.g. CME, flares etc., in a worst-case scenario, have the potential to cripple the worlds telecommunication and power grids. £5.6 billion has been invested worldwide in order to prevent and monitor this potential catastrophe.


 The team will be comprised of 30 active members and split into two major teams, the technical team, which includes the structural, optics, electronic and systems sub-teams. The business team is comprised of the outreach and finance sub-teams. The project draws experience from a range of students across the university. Who will be working together to ensure that the project launches successfully. 


Mr Joseph Orford

Supervisor: Dr Gary Verth

Project MarsWorks electronics research, development and implementation

The European Space Agency (ESA) is hosting a competition to design a reduced size Mars rover in their European Rover challenge (ERC) in September this year in Poland. The competition is international and has teams from many other universities competing. 

There are four tasks which the rover must complete

The basis of the rover is that it must weigh under 50kg and fit in a cylinder with a radius of 0.75m when everything is retracted. We can change the rover up between each of the four challenges to better optimise it for a task (i.e. changing the robots end effector). We have to make as much of the rovers’ abilities as autonomous as we can to score more points and the team with the most points, win. There are points for lots of different aspects of the challenges, mainly that of accuracy and safety, but artificial intelligence is a big push this year.

This project is focusing mainly on the electronics which will go inside the rover and the communications between the computer, which will be in an area around 200m from the rover. We won't be able to see the rover to give a better feel for what controlling a real rover might be like, where we can only rely on camera data.

Mr Joseph William Cullingford

Supervisor: Dr Viktor Fedun

Project MarsWorks science task construction / research

With the recent competition of SpaceX leading to considerably lower cost space projects, we are seeing the possibility for a greater variety and number of missions available. While rovers represent an older type of mission, they are still one of the most valuable. With the increasing viability of more and more autonomous rovers, and with scientific equipment shrinking, rovers are becoming an even more useful research tool. 

The European Space Agency encourages further development of these technologies by hosting the European Rover Challenge each year in Poland. Teams from across the world are asked to develop a rover which must complete four categories of tasks: Science, Maintenance, Collection, and Traverse. Entries to the competition not only exceed the abilities of the current generation of rovers sent by NASA, ESA, and other space organisations to outer space, but exceed them by implementing more modern technologies such as machine learning to enhance autonomy. 

This project focussed on developing and implementing the hardware necessary for the science task. This involves the collection of four samples; three surface (to likely be collected by a robotic digger) and one sub surface, 30cm below ground (to likely be drilled). These samples then need to be stored, analysed and sealed robotically, for later collection by humans.



Mr Arthur Cunningham

Supervisor: Dr Istvan Ballai

Sheffield University Nova Balloon Lifted Telescope II (HASP programme)

The project is dedicated to the developing and testing of the gimbal of the telescope and its stabilisation system. It includes programming of microcomputers (eg Raspery Pi), and the development and testing of algorithms. 

In regards to this, the project's milestones include


SURE Network, Mr Alexander Menzies, Ms Ana-Maria Badilita, Mr James Holden, Mr Godwin Okojie, Mr Gabriel Monteiro and Mr Shubham Patil

Supervisors: Dr Viktor Fedun and Dr Gary Verth

The Sheffield University Nova Balloon Lifted Telescope – Project ‘SunbYte’

Primary objective: Track and obtain images of the sun using the Balmer series H-alpha deep-red visible spectral line at wavelength 656.28 nm. Using a 299 mm diameter, 800 mm focal length parabolic (Cassegrain/Ritchey-Cretien system telescope) mirror, we will connect this onto a Raspberry Pi camera sensor with an H-alpha filter.

Secondary objectives: Acquire scientifically valuable solar images (ie images at diffraction limited resolution, unable to be obtained inexpensively on Earth due to its atmosphere).

Tertiary objective: Promote and increase solar and space engineering studies at the University of Sheffield.

Related Masters and Bachelors projects


Mr Piotr Gołaś

Supervisor: Prof Viktor Fedun and Dr Jonathan M. Aitken

Bridging the Gap in Robotics: A Cost-effective and Pragmatic Approach to Developing a Domestic Robot

Award: the best project in a Final Year Project


Mr Hassan Ali Aliasgar

Supervisor: Prof Viktor Fedun

Liquid Rocket Engine Modelling for Control System Design

Mr Joseph Middelton

Supervisor: Prof Viktor Fedun

Modular System Design in Solar Observation


Mr Shrey Chauhan

Supervisor: Dr Alistair John

Designing a hybrid quadcopter for radiation mapping using scintillator crystals.


Mr Joseph William Cullingford

Supervisor: Dr Viktor Fedun

Mechatronics and control systems design of a 6-DOF, multipurpose Mars exploration manipulator

Mr Victor Covasan

Supervisor: Dr Jonathan Aitken

An LQ-MPC flight control system for aerial docking on Mars

Mr Iakov Bobrov

Supervisor: Dr Robert J Howell

Aerodynamic study of SunrIde sounding rocket using CFD


Ms Emilie Brannan

Supervisor: Dr Viktor Fedun

Thermal control and heating system in space


Ms Aysegul Gazioglu

Supervisor: Dr Viktor Fedun

Scientific balloon system carrying a payload for emergencies

Space Placements in Industry (SPIN) UK Space Agency


Ms Ankita Kalra

SunrIde: Sheffield University Rocket Innovative Design Engineering

Ankita took the role of a structural and mechatronics engineer to design the structure of the rocket followed by testing and analysis of stability (also, if interested, she worked on electronics parts which are responsible for rocket stabilisation and up/down link data transfer). 

The structural engineering for the design of the body tube and other integral parts of the rocket required simulations on the open source software - “OpenRocket”. Ankita gained knowledge in how to select a suitable motor and propellant according to the design and structure of the rocket. A lot of work with electronics was required for the telemetry and flight computation, needed for altitude tracking.

Mr Yun-Hang Cho

SunbYte: Sheffield University Nova Balloon Lifted Telescope with NASA

Mr Yun-Hang Cho took on the role of systems engineer to integrate electronics and mechanics together and deliver a working device capable of tracking the sun at low pressure and low temperatures. 

Yun-Hang was based at the University of Sheffield’s department of Automatic Controls and Systems Engineering STAR laboratory. He tested the ability of the experiment to withstand near-space, vacuum pressure and temperatures down to -80C. This was achieved by fitting our experiment into a chamber (Manchester University), which was slowly cooled whilst air is drawn out. Various electronics operated in sequence to identify weak points in the system and investigate thermal contraction in mechanical linkages which may cause the system to freeze.