EuRoC brings hundreds of European
students to Constância
For the first time, the European Rocket Challenge will take place entirely in the municipality of Constância, with the paddock located in the town's Municipal Sports Pavilion. The collaboration protocol between the Portuguese Space Agency and Constância Town Hall was signed on Tuesday.
Now in its fourth edition, the European Rocketry Challenge (EuRoC), a university rocket launch competition that starts on 10 October and is promoted by the Portuguese Space Agency, is scheduled to return to Ribatejo between 10 and 16 October. For the first time, the competition is concentrating all its activities in Constância. The municipality, which since 2021 has hosted the launch of the rockets at the Campo Militar de Santa Margarida, will this year also host the paddock, the area where the competing teams meet to finalise their launch projects.
On the morning of this Tuesday, 29 August, the Portuguese Space Agency and Constância City Council signed a Collaboration Protocol that provides for cooperation between the two institutions within the scope of EuRoC. Every two years, the municipality will give the Agency the facilities of the Constância Municipal Sports Pavilion to set up a paddock. As well as serving as a “workshop” for the teams, the Pavilion will host the closing ceremony and the EuRoC awards ceremony. Thus, the location of the paddock will alternate each year between Constância and the Ponte de Sor Aerodrome, which has hosted past editions of the competition.
The president of the Portuguese Space Agency, Ricardo Conde, emphasised the importance of holding the event in territories such as Constância, placing them “on the European map for rocket competition and the promotion of space activities”. “The Agency wants to promote space access activities in Portugal, to promote academia and students. We want to put Portugal on the map as a modern, enterprising country that fulfils the aspirations of its young people,” he added.
For the mayor of Constância, Sérgio Oliveira, the protocol signed by the two institutions is the first step in “a great challenge to project the municipality”, with the prospect of creating “business or investment opportunities” in the area. “It’s much more than just launching rockets, it’s something that will project our municipality beyond our borders,” he emphasised.
EuRoC 2023 has confirmed the presence of 22 teams from 14 European countries, including Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Norway. For the first time in the event’s history, there are two Portuguese teams competing: RED, from Instituto Superior Técnico, and North Space, which brings together students from ISEP (Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto), the University of Aveiro and the Faculty of Sciences and Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto.
The start of the EuRoC is scheduled for 10 October, when the competitors arrive at the Constância Municipal Pavilion. The following day will also be spent exclusively in the paddock, with the first launches scheduled for 12 October. Activities at Campo Militar continue until 15 October, with 16 October reserved for the closing ceremony and awards ceremony.
EuRoC also has the support of the Portuguese Army.