LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A team of university students in London is preparing to launch the most powerful reusable rocket built by a UK team. On Sunday, September 24th, the student-led Karman Space Programme (KSP) will attempt a two-stage rocket launch to test systems for reuse and recovery of the vehicle, a crucial step towards low-cost, sustainable access to space. The rocket has been named Orion.
The team used AI techniques such as transformer neural networks to speed up simulations by orders of magnitude and use a fraction of computing power. In addition to this, the team's innovations include a metal 3D printed rocket engine, which is the world's most powerful non-governmental and non-commercial engine with nearly 40kN of thrust.
The UK Minister for Space at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, George Freeman, said: “To see the next generation of space innovators already pushing the boundaries of UK space technology is remarkable and I wish the Karman Space Programme success after their hard work. Initiatives like these show just how transformative partnerships between academia and industry can be in reshaping the landscape of UK space exploration. As demonstrated globally, the adoption of reusable rocket technology is pivotal in significantly lowering space launch costs and propelling the UK towards a leading role in the space arena.”
“This launch represents years of hard work and commitment from our team," said Shapol, KSP's Chairman and co-founder "We're proud to be pushing the boundaries of what student groups can achieve in space technology and grateful for the support we've received from world-class institutions such as the UK Space Agency and others in making this mission possible.”
In addition to leading KSP, Shapol has founded startups building autonomous air taxis and has received 8 figures' worth of pre-orders. His latest venture is automating engineering design, and the technology is being used by several aerospace organisations. Shapol credits the hands-on engineering experience and teamwork skills gained from programmes like KSP, as well as access to world-class resources and facilities in the UK, with preparing him to successfully launch and grow new technology companies.
“The challenge of offering greater access to space, at reduced cost and with minimal environmental impact places space sustainability at the top of the agenda. I’m delighted to see ICL taking up that challenge and wish them every success.” said Tim Peake, the British astronaut to space walk.
The programme is sponsored by Cybral, OneWeb, Seko, Dassault Systemes and others.
The upcoming launch will take place at Mojave, California. Livestream details will be shared on KSP's website and social media platforms in the coming week. Journalists will be invited to the launchsite (California) and Mission Control (London).
More information about Karman Space Programme can be found at: https://www.karmanspace.co.uk/.