Cranfield Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (CranSEDS)

Now in our 20th year of running, CranSEDS is a branch of UKSEDS  (UK Students for the Exploration and Development of Space), comprised of students who are passionate about space, technology, and all that comes with it, competing across disciplines in the both the UK and Europe.

Offering students of any background hands on experience of projects from varying altitude rocketry, and advanced rover design, to conceptual design research or even engaging in outreach to inspire the next generation of space enthusiasts. Every member of CranSEDS is passionate about building their expertise in the ever-growing space sector, actively engaging and contributing to this exciting field.

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The facts
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We regularly collaborate with industry partners to hold conferences, panels, and engagement events.
We provide training to all 80+ members to engage in technical laboratory work.
We've consistently performed across at least 7 UKSEDS competitions annually from rocketry and rover building to satellite design.
We organise numerous outreach events to inspire the next generation of space enthusiasts.
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Recent Projects

UKSEDS Satellite Design Competition

This competition challenges students to design and build a payload system for a 3U CubeSat for space debris detection and analysis.

In the Research and Design phase, teams undertake a complete design process to develop a 3U CubeSat payload system where, following initial evaluation, the best five teams progress to the Build and Test phase, to fully realise and physically test their prior work.

Last year’s team, Condor, designed their CubeSat with complex mechanical and avionics systems with camera-based debris detection method, presenting their work to companies working closely on sustainability and space.

Their efforts awarded them the Best Critical Design Review (CDR) award, demonstrating the teamwork, ingenuity, and dedication to push the boundaries of small satellite design.

In Orbit Servicing and Manufacturing (IOSM) Dragons’ Den Event

In partnership with Satellite Applications Catapult, students pitched concepts to innovate upon existing IOSM concepts, solving the challenges of attaining real-time satellite data which can present detrimental challenges to operation efficiency and lessen confidence in the health assessment of space assets.

Some of the approaches taken by last year’s team included in-orbit inspection systems and microgravity manufacturing. Winning first place across each award category was a great achievement by the team in this high-standard competition, which ran in close collaboration with industry partners Astroscale, LMO, Space Forge, ClearSpace and Airbus Defence and Space.

Hybrid Rocket Motor and Test Stand

Last year, the society entered the UK Race 2 Space competition for the first time, designing and building Cranfield University’s first hybrid engine & test stand. 

This ongoing research project, developing a 350N hybrid rocket motor using HDPE and N2O.

With a team comprised of Astronautics and Space Engineering and Thermal Power course students, they were able to not only enter, but achieve a second place, and already have begun development to build upon lessons learned throughout its development.


INWED 2022

In May 2022, CranSEDS volunteers led a workshop for local school students from ages 11-14 as part of the University's International Women in Engineering Day event. In the workshop, the students were given 45 minutes to design, build, and launch their Mars rover. The rover had to carry two scientific instruments (LEGO bricks) and fit inside the provided payload fairing. All 7 teams successfully completed the task and launched their rovers!

Cranfield Village Jubilee Day

A team of CranSEDS volunteers and members of the MAch-22 Rocket and Payload Team took part in the Cranfield University stall at the Cranfield Village Jubilee day celebrations (4th-5th June 2022), carrying out live demonstrations and showcasing the design work carried out by CranSEDS.  

Biddenham International School STEM Fair

The CranSEDS outreach team conducted four Mars Rover Workshops with students in Year 4 as part of the Biddenham International School STEM Fair day. Around 120 students took part and each team managed to complete their rover!

Women in Engineering and Leadership Conference

This event, designed in partnership with Airbus, invited Cranfield Alumni now working across aviation, space and defence departments of the company as guest speakers. Open to any who wish to attend, whether from Engineering, Management or just Aviation enthusiasts, in order to raise awareness and celebrate careers and paths into industry. This session also promoted student engagements with several break sessions for networking to allow attendees to discover more about Airbus and the talents it hosts and share their passion for the sector.

National Space Students Conference  

Invited by UKSEDS to the weekend long conference in Manchester, CranSEDS attended to extend our network and connections across the industry. The event featured talks by leading industry figures, a careers fair, and opportunities to be involved in discussion and networking events, with last year’s event including a more prominent focus on interactive workshops and skills development.

Midlands Regional Cluster Event  

Hosted at Cranfield University, UKSEDS co-hosted this conference which introduced startups and graduate schemes from Space Resources Laboratory and Frontier Space Technologies, including a talk on postgraduate student opportunities. Some guest lectures covered topics of space sustainability, the future as a graduate in space engineering, Analogue Space Missions, as well as the future of flight from a BAE Systems representative before a panel discussion covering careers and the future of the space industry.


Space Party 

Themed evening at the Cranfield Student Association (CSA) for students to dress in their best space themed attire and show off their out-of-this-world dance moves. Open to all those at the university, this event had a record attendance of themed evenings for that year at the ever-popular CSA.

Shuttle Smash: A Badminton Battle Royale

Last year’s foray into organising a social with a sports society, calling all badminton enthusiasts, whether seasoned or beginner, this event sought to showcase our society members’ talents beyond the purely academic!

This ultimate badminton tournament hosted by CranSEDS, brought together individuals on campus towards the end of the year for a friendly competition to become the Shuttle Smash Champion.

Committee List
How to Join

Our contact details:

  • Address: CranSEDS, Cranfield Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, 3 The Green, Wharley End, Bedford, MK43 0SS
  • Email: 
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