The Propulse student rocket named Stetind. Photo by NTNU
The fastest and most energetic student project in Norway

PROPULSE INTO THE FUTURE

Every year since 2018, students at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has managed  to design, engineer and build rockets in their spare time - between classes, homework and after-school activities. The team behind the project, and with their rocket capable of reaching thousands of kilometers in a matter of seconds, won the 9000m SOLID class in the university rocket launch competition European Rocketry Challenge, and the 30K feet COTS class at Spaceport America Cup 2021.

  • Text:Njål Frilseth

    Photo:All photos courtesy of Propulse NTNU

Self-proclaimed as the fastest and most energetic student project in Norway, Propulse NTNU is a rocketry team with the aim to give students real hands-on experience on large engineering projects. This year’s rocket project is named Stetind – named after the national mountain in Norway with a peak nearly 1400 metres above sea-level –  and the team begun conceptualizing the design back in September of 2020.

Team Propulse

The project followed the principles of concurrent engineering in order for the students to be able to successfully develop the complex project in such a short time. With its dedicated students ranging from different roles and disciplines, the team had a robust action plan with a strong team structure. The team was split into cross-disciplinary sub-teams consisting of members from many different studies. The average time span for a project this size is nine months, making students commit to two full semester or more on a project.

Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KONGSBERG) is a proud main sponsor of Propulse NTNU. As a leading global technology company, delivering mission-critical solutions to customers operating in extremely challenging environments, it is important to support and contribute to students’ personal and educational development.

“I wish I had the chance to be a part of a team that taught me invaluable lessons about rockets, engineering and teamwork when I went to school. It is important for us to support an arena that are inclusive and teaches the students teamwork and communication across different disciplines. I’m really impressed by how they are able to adapt to real project execution. Their enthusiasm and skills are really encouraging,” says Eirik Lie, President of Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace.

Photo: NTNU student working on the rocket Stetind. Credit Propulse NTNU.Team Propulse - Student working on the Stetind rocket at NTNU. Photo by NTNU

Thinking beyond

In order for the students to create a strong and viable product, the rocket is designed to execute a specific scientific mission as defined by the members – creating a space for each individual member to think beyond just the development of the rocket, and to consider the application of their work. The students are themselves responsible for defining each project’s mission, recruiting and organizing the team, and the external engagement with KONGSBERG and other industry partners.

Going through the development process, and the necessary operations of a project in order to be a successful team, gives each students a taste of how projects are run in real-life from a management perspective. Being an independent and self-organized project group creates an opportunity for the students to become better engineer and working professionals.

Photo: Students inspect Propulse at NTNU.Credit Propulse NTNU.Team Propulse - Students working on the Stetind rocket at NTNU. Photo by NTNU

More than just engineers

But there are not just future engineers who are part of Team Propulse. The team consists of a wide range non-technical roles and disciplines needed to successfully reach their mission. What major a student has chosen to study at NTNU does not limit their chance of joining the team. Roles ranging from leadership positions, financial positions, to marketing, graphical design, photographers, film makers are needed to create the perfect end result.

The students at Team Propulse take on the major task of designing a rocket, but are also responsible for testing and verification of the product. Setting up experiments, executing tests, and document the results is all part of the project.

Photo: The Propulse rocket Stetind. Credit Propulse NTNU.The Propulse student rocket named Stetind. Photo by NTNU

Propulse into the future

There are few student engineering projects that have an end-phase like a rocket project. Designing for operations adds another dimension to a design. The members are not only the researchers, designers, producers, and testers, but also the end-users - giving the students firsthand experience with every step of an engineering project. Not only do the team execute the missions themselves, but they also have to solve every problem and issue that might occurs during a mission.

Propulse NTNU is giving students hands-on challenges, and opportunities that they would not have experience as a regular student. The project is on a voluntary basis and they do their work on their spare time. The extracurricular activity provides the students with experience that will strengthen their interest and help them advance their knowledge and skills needed in their later careers.

Want to know more about Propulse, how to join or future career prospects in the rocketry field? Please visit Propulse’s informative website by clicking here.

Propulse Team 2022