Sunrlde - Sheffield Universities' Nova Rocket Innovative Design Engineering Society

SunrIde is an ambitious team of 100 hardworking engineering students from Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield. The team ranges from Undergraduates to Masters students, from more than 20 countries. Founded in 2017, SunrIde has been expanding ever since, maintaining four highly-engineered projects to achieve rocketry innovation through their research.

SunrIde holds the National Altitude Record of UK amateur rocketry at 36,274ft in 2019 and has gained international recognition for the students' passionate endeavours. Here is their successful launch. SunrIde's primary goals are to push our limits for innovation, and to provide rocketry enthusiasts with the opportunity to learn about and become involved in the space industry. 

Members typically study

  • Aerospace
  • Computing/Technology
  • Electronic/Electrical
  • Mechanical/Manufacturing

The facts

The first UK team in history to participate in the largest rocket engineering competition in the world.
Award winner of the Best Flight Dynamics at Spaceport America Cup 2018 for achieving an accuracy of 99.83% at 10,000ft.
According to UKRA, SunrIde holds the UK National Altitude Record for rocketry since 2019 at 36,274ft reaching 2.67 Mach.
In 2023 SunrIde aspires to become the 1st UK University team to reach the Kármán line at 100km! (50 km test in 2021.)
The team won 1st place in the National Rocketry Championship 2021 with a Distinction for the highest altitude in the history of the competition.

Employers Who Like Our Society

These live Gradcracker employers have shown they are particularly interested in members of our Society. You can click on their logos to visit their Company Hubs, ‘Follow’ them and apply!

If you're an employer and would like to add your company logo to this page, please contact Georgia via email at

The projects running this year are:

  • SunFire Bi-Liquid Engine: Produced by 17 dedicated Dissertations led by Final year students on this 11kNs impulse engine.
  • DART: 2-stage high power rocket aiming to test the team's RF Systems over 60km range. Launching in Spring 2022
  • Solid Rocket Motor: 2-stage high power rocket aiming to over 20km range. Launching in Summer 2022
  • UKSEDS: Two junior rocket teams of 15 members each, participating in the National Rocketry Championship. Launch in Summer 2022.

SunrIde Training Programme 2020-21 

Up to three weekly workshops and specialised learning sessions on rocketry development, coordinated by the team executives.

Fifteen already completed sessions including: 

3D Rocket Model – Fusion 360 - Workshop - Rosie Hurcombe

Arduino, Circuitry and Power Management - Workshop - Zefy Pissaki, Mostafa El Debeiki, Jacob Lawson

Physics of Rocket Engines - Seminar - Jakub Mech, Alec Dent

Manufacturing is a complex multi-step process, and yet we must complete within any challenges that come on the way. It takes the careful coordination, planning of advanced manufacturing activities at The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University and strong relationships with suppliers and staff to realise our brand-new system on time.

High-Power Rocketry at 30,000ft - Spaceport America Cup

One of the major projects we’re currently working on is Rocket VESNA 🚀! With the success of HELEN (named after Helen Sharman) we decided to give her new life by retaining her aft body, for the structural rigidity and optimal aerodynamic performance she demonstrated, as well her perfect conditions after recovery. Vesna (named after Vesna Vulovic) is a direct upgrade to her, proving reliability and reusability of her system.

Once the current conditions and funding allow us, we intend to manufacture most of the components ourselves with the help of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC). Manufacturing will be completed during the next month, allowing us to test the new systems before launch and adapt the design if needed.

Special Nose Fairing and CubeSat Payload

Our latest rocket was rescued in near perfect condition, making her the main attraction as a platform for testing and designing innovative systems. This opened the door for us to directly collaborate with another SSI project called SunSat, providing us with a 10cm 3U cubeSat that tests a new technology for measuring high G forces while ascending, and atmospheric conditions as it descends.

Accommodating such payload required us to build a wider forebody that can safely withstand the forces acting on the rocket and be able to mechanically eject the payload and drogue chutes at apogee, without the use of pyrotechnics. A final year student dedicated his thesis to solving the stability and rigidity of the coupling between the different sized bodies and proper transfer of energy by designing custom particle dampers that run through the structure, and around the launching mechanism.

The fairing system was designed to be a scalable mechanism that can be implemented into larger scale rockets, without detaching any parts for reusability, and most importantly maintaining a low outer profile that can accommodate pressure and temperature sensors with minimal aerodynamic change to the simplified simulated profile. This should result in a fast and stable descent of a singular body under the drogue and fairing flaps, before ejecting the main chutes, minimising any damage caused by the fall.

Foldable Glider

SunrIde 🚀 will be collaborating with SunStratos💫for a completely new innovative endeavour!

The SunStratos project involves a rocket launched autonomous glider capable of long endurance flights. The glider would be folded to fit within a 3U payload bay and be ejected at 9km altitude with the help of one of the SunrIde sounding rockets. We look forward to working together and can't wait to see what we can accomplish in the next two years!

Check out our animation here.

We are so excited to work with another team from the Sheffield Space Initiative. 



National Student Space Conference

This photo is from the time 20 of our aspiring engineers jumped on a coach and attended the National Student Space Conference in Birmingham.

Here’ s what Zefy from the SunrIde Electrical Team had to say about the day:

“When we got there, we were asked to do a speed presentation. It is an activity where you get only 2 mins to present. Mann and Dana nailed it, presenting on the clock, including our latest launch video.

What was outstanding was the amount of questions that followed from amazed students about workshops and seminars to share our experiences. 

Sometimes you work a lot, and you keep looking for the next thing, but it's so important to look around what you've achieved. Great things are coming! ☺️”

Liquid Fuel Rocket

In an ambitious venture, SunrIde's SunFire project will trial a completely custom designed and built Liquid-Propellant Rocket Engine at Spaceport America Cup in 2021.

Sunfire's pressure-fed bio-propellant engine will be the product of 12 dissertation-level projects from both The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University.

This is the first time we've attempted to build a rocket engine from scratch, having only used bought off-the-shelf motors in the past, and this step will provide the foundation for exciting research and up-scaling in future years. The rocket itself will meld the aft of our Kármán Alpha system with a redesigned fairing.

Help us become the 1st UK University team to go to Space

Our success in high power rocketry would have never been possible without the support from our sponsors. While this gave us the confidence to expand the project, funding became one of the primary challenges. We are looking for businesses with an appetite for raising their profile in the student market by backing a project with an excitingly promising #future. Do you want to put your name on our #rockets? Talk to us to find out what sponsoring SunrIde could mean for your #business.

Project Leaders


  • Project Manager: Dana Arabiyat    
  • Technical Lead: Jakub Mech    
  • Mission Lead: Alec Dent      
  • Operations Manager: Louis Garrard

Rocket Team:

  • Avionics Lead: Cedric Vandeputte, Sebastiano Zuddas  
  • Design Lead: Josh Brown, Nathan Hinchliffe, Alex Santos, Emma Patterson
  • CFD Analysis Principal: Juan-Philip Marx

SunFire Engine:

  • Team Principal: Owen Fletcher, Henry Saunders
  • Engine Manufacturing Principal: Henry Saunders
  • Propulsion Lead: Siraaj Rubbani, Tom Aveyard
  • Systems Integration Lead: Abdel Alomari


  • Operations Lead: Zefy Pissaki
  • Technical Lead: Jacob Lawson

How to Join

If you want to find out more, please email us at and take a look at our website here.

Or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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