The fastest, highest, and most energetic student project in Norway.
Propulse NTNU is a rocketry team that aims to give students hands-on experience with engineering projects.
The students join the team as an extracurricular activity on a voluntary basis with the goal of learning as much as they can about rockets, engineering and teamwork. Through Propulse NTNU, members will get opportunities that they would not have had as a regular student, adding experiences that will strengthen them as engineers in later projects and careers.
The final product reaches thousands of kilometers an hour in a matter of seconds, reaching higher than the tallest mountains, far into the sky - all built by students in their spare time.
The rocket is a purpose-built sounding rocket, designed to execute a specific scientific mission as defined by the members. This makes members think beyond the development of the rocket and consider the application of their work.
Propulse NTNU is independent and self-organized, giving the members a taste of how to run a project from a management perspective. They are themselves responsible for defining a mission, recruiting and organizing team members, engaging with industry and gathering support, going through the development process, and carrying out tests and necessary operations in order to achieve their goal.
We believe that our members come out on the other side as better engineers because of the long, high paced and intensive process they go through - and we are happy to give them this opportunity to become better.
Our current mission
Spaceport America Cup - The world's largest intercollegiate rocket engineering competition.
Spaceport America Cup is the largest university rocket competition in the world. Every year in New Mexico, USA at the legendary Spaceport America, 150 university teams gather to compete for the tittle "Best Student Rocket". Hosted by the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA), students will take on the exciting task of building a high powered sounding rocket from scratch within the rules of the competition. The rules have been developed and adapted to changing times ever since 2006, and have been refined to push the competing teams ever further in a resource conservative way, while maintaining high level of safety for spectators and competitors.
The competing teams will be scored on technical design, performance, simulation accuracy, innovation, safety and professionalism of operations, as well as documentation.
The well-developed rules of Spaceport America Cup functions as a nice framework for Propulse NTNU as we grow as an organization, accumulating new knowledge and resources.
How we work
To make students able to develop and build a rocket in a short time span requires a robust plan with a robust team structure. The team is built up around the systems of the rocket, splitting the team in cross-disciplinary sub-teams called system groups consisting of members from many different studies. Throughout the project the system groups will continually communicate and synchronize through weekly meetings, presentations, design reviews and documentation. The development process follows the principles of concurrent engineering. Want to contribute at a design review? Contact us!
The average time span for a project is nine months, and is filled to the brim with activities that ensure the highest productivity and learning for the members, while maintaining the lowest risk and financial cost for the organization. The support of our partners ensures that the project can keep a fast pace throughout these nine months.
Design & Development
Propulse NTNU strives to let the students develop as much of the rocket as possible. This starts with a concept phase where many fundamental ideas to fulfill different functions and solve problems are researched, discussed and sketched out. This translates over to a design phase where the winning idea of the concept phase turns into detailed 3D models, first drafts of circuits, and the groundwork of analysis. Many prototypes to verify the designs will be built and tested during the design phase.
During the development process the team will have design reviews where all aspects of the designs are discussed with the whole team, to ensure compatibility between systems.
Production & Testing
To design a rocket is a huge task in itself, but to design a rocket that can be manufactured with the tools available is arguably a greater task. The members of Propulse NTNU will be responsible for the production, engaging with workshops and suppliers. Often they will produce the parts themselves from scratch, giving them a hands-on feel on how their designs translate to production.
Testing and verification is a huge part of Propulse NTNUs development plan. The members are themselves responsible for setting up experiments, executing the tests, and then verify and document the results and processes.
Operations & Missions
Few other engineering projects have an end-phase like a rocket project. Designing for operation adds another dimension to a design. In Propulse NTNU, the members are not only the researchers, designers, producers, and testers, but also the end-users - giving them firsthand experiences with every step of an engineering project.
The members will execute the mission themselves, and will then be forced to solve every problem that comes with the mission. The members will see and feel how their design choices affects operations and the mission itself.
Research & Development
There are many opportunities for students to take on a larger projects and challenges that does not fit within the time frame of a competition. These projects are given a environment and resources in Propulse NTNU where they can be developed and reach a mature level before being implemented in a mission specific rocket. All projects are done by dedicated members of Propulse NTNU.
How high does your rocket reach?
Our rockets are designed for Spaceport America Cup, where we compete in the 30K class, meaning we are trying to reach 30,000 feet (9144 meters) above the ground - no higher, no lower.
How fast does your rocket go?
The speed varies after the mission, but usually the rockets are designed to reach supersonic speed. This enables us to travel almost 10 km in around one minute.
How can I join the project?
At the start of every fall semester Propulse NTNU recruits new members to join the project. These members can take on a wide range of different tasks, from technical development to marketing positions.
Propulse NTNU also recruits to the board and various leadership positions, where you can take charge of the organization itself.
To apply, just keep an eye out for when the application form becomes available and fill it out. Make sure to follow us on social media, as we will post news about recruitment there first.
How long is the period of commitment when I join?
Two full semesters is the standard minimum for all members. Some positions (Board positions) require longer periods of commitment. This will be specified if it is the case.
The standard membership will start in the fall semester, and end during the summer.
Members can always extend this membership indefinitely if they want.
How much time do I need to commit to the project?
Our rule of thumb is 20 hours per week, except during periods of preparation for exams. It is expected that members put in one full work day during the week, some afternoons and most weekends to fulfill this time commitment. Luckily, we have infrastructure that allows a lot of work to be done remotely.
I don't know anything about rockets. Can I still join?
Of course! We set no requirements for prior knowledge or experiences for students seeking to join us. People join us to learn, and if you don't know anything about rockets, you will learn a lot about rockets - which is a great thing!
When you're working with and learning about rockets, you will quickly realize that "rocket science" is actually just a really amazing combination of many cool fields!
I'm only a first year student. Can I join the project?
Of course! Propulse NTNU is where you come to learn, not necessarily where you come to show off what you know already. As long as you are motivated to put in the effort to learn about things independently when needed, you are always welcome regardless of which year you're in.
I don't study engineering. Can I join?
Of course! We have a wide range of positions that involve you in a non-technical way. Ranging from leadership positions, financial positions, to marketing, graphical design, photographers, film makers and so on. What you study is not a limiting factor for joining Propulse NTNU. Many different people and competencies are needed to run a rocket project. If you have any questions on how you can contribute, reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm an exchange student. Can I join?
The usual period of commitment is two full semesters. As long as you are in Trondheim as a full-time student and are available to help the project, you can join the project on the same grounds as any other student.
Is there a membership fee?
No, all members join on a voluntary basis, so there is no fee in any form. We are lucky to have many partners in the industry to support the project so that the members don't need to finance the project themselves.
Click here to see who makes the project go around.
Do you have any other questions?
Please feel free to send them to us.