SunbYte missions

SunbYte (Sheffield University Nova Balloon Lifted Solar Telescope) is the only UK project to win the prestigious Rocket and Balloon Experiments for University Students (REXUS/BEXUS) competition, a European Space Agency programme. The mission successfully launched in September 2017. 

In addition, it is now accepted by The High Altitude Student Platform (HASP) supported from NASA! The High Altitude Student Platform (HASP) is designed to carry student payloads to an altitude of about 36 kilometres with flight durations of 15 to 20 hours using a small volume, zero pressure balloon. 

HASP flight program is supported by the NASA Balloon Program Office (BPO) and the Louisiana Space Consortium (LaSPACE). Currently, HASP flies once a year in September from the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF) base in Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

SunrIde missions

The Sheffield University Nova Rocket Innovation Design Engineering (SunrIde), is the first student-led rocket design team to represent the University of Sheffield and the UK in the world's largest intercollegiate rocket competition Spaceport America Cup (SAC). 

The Spaceport America Cup is the largest international intercollegiate rocket engineering competition that takes place in New Mexico, USA. In 2016, the competition had an attendance of 600 participants from over 50 universities with competitors from every continent. SunrIde has been recognised as the first official UK team to compete in the competition’s history. 

To participate, our first Sheffield rocket was named “Amy” in memory of the inspirational Yorkshire born Sheffield Alumnus, Amy Johnson, who was the first female aviator to fly alone from Britain to Australia.



Ice is a critical resource for the establishment of a permanently manned Lunar base, as it can be used to create drinking water, air and even rocket fuel. It is theorised that ice is present at the base of moon craters. A lander is solar powered and thus too heavy to access inside craters where ice could be, hence a smaller rover is deployed via a robotic arm from the lander to retrieve sample for analyses. This competition is sponsored by RAL Space, European Space Agency, Oxford Space Systems, and Thales Alenia Space.


MarsWorks is a student-led project at the University of Sheffield scoped with designing and building a Mars rover for the European Rover Challenge (ERC). MarsWorks has its origins in Project MoonWorks, as the first rover was dedicated to the fabrication of a miniature lunar vehicle which could retrieve ice samples from the depths of lunar craters. The team has a broad range of activities. 

A successful participation in the national competition organised by UK students for the exploration and development of space in 2018 led to a prize award for the best innovation for the developed advanced scooping mechanism. MarsWorks will move forward to design and build a fully autonomous Mars rover to participate in the European Rover Challenge (ERC), the biggest space robotics event in Europe.


Avalon ROV is a student-led project established in 2016 by a group of engineering students at the University of Sheffield. The project was created to participate in an annual international robotics competition MATE ROV. The aim is to build an ROV (Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle) to tackle real life problems by performing tasks underwater. 

Through participation in this prestigious contest in 2017 in Long Beach, USA, Avalon has become one of 25 top world teams to qualify to the finals of the competition. Avalon has become first ever team from England to get to the final stage where we took 18th place out of almost 200 teams applying. 


The SunSat mission (Sheffield University Nova Satellite) aims to understand the rate of deforestation by observing the Earth from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) at 400 km. This will be achieved using a high resolution camera which images the ground cover, compresses the data and transmits them back to the ground station at regular intervals.

Simurq Aeronautics

Simurq Aeronautics is an innovation-hungry student-led organisation in the University of Sheffield. Our aim since our inception in 2008, has been to design and develop novel autonomous aerial systems to compete at national and international competitions. 

Over the years, we have competed at the International Micro Air Vehicle (IMAV) competition as well as the Institution of Mechanical Engineers' (IMechE) Unmanned Aircraft Challenge Systems (UAS) Challenge.


Sheffield University Stratosphere Programme (SunStratos) is a student-led research group within the University of Sheffield. We develop solutions that capitalise on the use of upper layers of the atmosphere for strategic missions. 

Our current project involves a rocket launched UAV glider capable for long endurance flights. The UAV would be folded to fit within a 3U payload bay and be ejected at 9km apogee with the help of one of the SunrIde sounding rockets. 

Such a UAV will be capable of reaching the upper layers of the atmosphere within seconds. Search and rescue missions and remote sensing missions are just some of the use cases of this technology demonstrator UAV.

Project Falcon

Project Falcon is a student-run research team operating within the University of Sheffield. The team is working on creating the world’s first variable incidence winged octocopter to push the capabilities of modern flight research. The aircraft combines the rugged adaptability of a multirotor with the endurance and efficiency of an aerofoil to generate more lift, whilst using less power. 

Possible applications for the project include environmental surveillance, remote inspection, deployment of military equipment, and the delivery of small payloads such as medical packages to remote areas over longer distances than would be practical with only rotors. The team aims to showcase their prototype in UAV tech fairs and compete in an international competition soon.