School of Mechanical & Mining Engineering

02/11/2018 - 21:42

World-leading space industry experts testified at a public hearing at The University of Queensland earlier this month, as part of the State Development, Natural Resources and Agricultural Industry Development Committee’s inquiry into job creation opportunities in the sector.

UQ’s Chair of Hypersonic Propulsion Michael Smart said the establishment of the Australian Space Agency would lead to jobs growth nationwide and Queensland had the potential to make a strong contribution.

“It is an opportune time to hold the inquiry, as the space industry worldwide is growing at 10 per cent per annum, faster than almost any other sector,” he said.

“New players that can adapt quickly have an advantage over established players with legacy infrastructure to maintain.”

The hearing comes as UQ’s first rocket association landed a position in the top three on the Australian Universities Rocket Competition’s leader board.

UQ Space, established earlier this year, provides students with an opportunity to get hands on experience in aerospace technology, preparing them for a future in the industry.

The group’s two rocket building teams have already ranked first and second in the state, and second and third in the country.

UQ Space Managing Director Myrthe Snoeks said the group’s aim is to top the rankings ahead of the competition, which will take place in April next year. 

“Our focus now is to keep our momentum and continue aiming for first place, one challenge at a time,” she said. 

“Ensuring all systems come together to form one perfect design is the hardest part.”

Twenty teams from 14 universities will compete in the inaugural competition.

To succeed, the group must design and manufacture a craft that can reach an altitude of either 10,000 feet or 30,000 feet and have it return safely and undamaged to Earth.

“Having two rockets in this competition means that we have a lot of testing and designing to do,” Ms Snoeks said.

“We’re currently developing flight computers, deployable payloads and custom recovery systems.”

The group has 31 members from a wide range of disciplines at various stages of their degree.

The students have recorded seven successful launches and are planning at least one test launch a month in the lead up to the competition.

Media: UQ Communications, Paige Ashby,, 0430 511 615.