Second Edition of EuRoC
presents 20 teams from 13 nations

The European Rocketry Challenge, EuRoC, organized by the Portuguese Space Agency, returns to Ponte de Sor from the 11th to the 17th of October. The United Kingdom is the most-represented country with a total of four teams, followed by Poland and Switzerland, but there will be 13 European countries participating in this second edition.

The second edition of the European Rocketry Challenge, EuRoC, the first European competition to launch rockets designed and assembled by university students, will welcome 20 teams from 13 countries. For the first time in history, a Portuguese university team will be competing side by side with students from Switzerland, Poland, France, Greece, Germany, and Denmark, among others.

“We are very pleased that we were able to broaden the geographical scope of EuRoC already in its second edition. We have more than doubled the number of participating countries, and we will host about 400 young people highly focused on developing their rockets and ensuring successful launches. We also have new partners, including the Portuguese Army, which gives us added guarantees of safety and ensures that this will be an extraordinary event!” says Ricardo Conde, president of the Portuguese Space Agency – Portugal Space, promoter and organizer of the event, in partnership with the Municipality of Ponte de Sor.

The UK is the country with the largest representation in the second edition of EuRoC, with four teams from four universities, each selected according to criteria that are not only technical and innovative but also related to the diversity and motivation of the working groups. The EuRoC organization believes that the conditions are met for each team to represent their university and their country in technical terms, and also in other characteristics that enhance them as a unit.

Poland and Switzerland, with three teams each, complete the top-three list of most-represented countries. In addition, Ponte de Sor will also welcome students from Germany, Austria, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and Romania. Among the 20 teams, there are four returning to Portugal: ARIS – Akademische Raumfahrtinitiative Schweiz (Switzerland); Space Team Aachen (Germany); DanSTAR (Denmark) and Air ESIEA (France), which suffered last-minute problems in the 2020 edition and is now hoping to launch its rocket.

The Portuguese students from Instituto Superior Técnico intend to launch their first rocket. “It is extraordinary that it’s already possible to achieve one of the main objectives of EuRoC: to stimulate Portuguese university students to take the first steps to develop skills in a segment as extraordinarily challenging and innovative as launchers. The IST team was already working on this challenge, but we believe that we’ve provided a fundamental impetus, as we hope to give to other teams,” says the president of the Portuguese Space Agency.

Promoted for the first time in October 2020, EuRoC challenges undergraduate and master’s degree students to launch their solid, liquid or hybrid propulsion rockets to altitudes of 3,000 or 9,000 meters. The competition is fully aligned with the strategic objectives of the Portuguese Space Agency, and specifically in the development of a cultural and educational framework that boosts the sustainable development of the space sector in Portugal.

Holding the event in Ponte de Sor contributes to EuRoC’s deserved prominence within the business community, ensuring a close link between students and industry. Ponte de Sor is home to one of the most dynamic and relevant aerospace clusters in Portugal, and the event shares space with the 5th edition of the Portugal Air Summit (PAS). The largest aviation, space and defence summit in the Iberian Peninsula, and one of the largest in Europe, this year the Portugal Air Summit returns to the Ponte de Sor Aerodrome.

“Hosting this rocket competition linked to the Portuguese Space Agency allows us to bring to Ponte de Sor innovation and advanced technology in the development of aerospace solutions, in a research context. It’s an asset for the Ponte de Sor Aeronautical Cluster, where there are already companies in the sector with ambitions to grow and attract engineers and other highly specialized technical staff. We also expect it to be an inspiring event for our universities, and a successful challenge for all teams and especially for the Portuguese team, which we will support with great pride,” Hugo Hilário, Mayor of Ponte de Sor.

“We had high expectations for the showcase in 2020, and a very concrete notion of the obstacles we would have to overcome. Now we are finalizing the logistical preparations for this year’s event. EuRoC is an event with great operational complexity, requiring all partners to mobilize in an exemplary manner to meet the safety criteria imposed by international regulations for this type of activity,” says Nuno Molarinho, Managing Partner of TheRace.


EuRoC’21 has the support of the national and international industry

The competition continues to rely on the support of national and international industry sponsorship, including companies such as D-Orbit, ISQ, Lusospace or Arrow Electronics, Omnidea and AED, as well as with direct support to the teams. FHP, for example, is contributing directly to the event as well as working with the IST team, supplying two models of composite parts of the rocket body structure.

“We are pleased to sponsor the EuRoC event again this year,” says Jonathan Firth, Chief Operating Officer of D-Orbit Group. “We believe it is a great opportunity for attendees to evolve both their engineering skills and their expertise in soft-skills that are increasingly important for space and aerospace work now and for the future, such as problem-solving, collaboration, reasoning, creative risk management, and negotiation. We also hope they have a lot of fun! And if any of them join the D-Orbit team in the future, that would be fantastic!”

The second edition of the European Rocketry Challenge has also the support of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, which over the past decades has played an important role in promoting knowledge and skills development in the younger generation.

“The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation has been investing in young people, talent and science for over 65 years, by awarding scholarships, supporting Scientific Olympiads and educational innovation projects, and providing opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills, competencies and attitudes necessary to transform the world.  We are sure that EuRoC 21 will be an important milestone in the lives of the young participants and will help them to dream even bigger.”

Maintaining the connection to the Municipality of Ponte de Sor, where the paddock will remain and where the teams will assemble their rockets, this year the EuRoC organization extends the competition’s spatial reach to include Campo Militar de Santa Margarida (CMSM). The launches will take place from there, over the course of four days starting on October 13th. An agreement with the Portuguese Army has allowed the use of the Military Field and will be fundamental to guarantee the success and sustained growth of the competition.

The Army supports EuRoC’21 by providing a respected infrastructure, in the context of the Armed Forces (FFAA), such as CMSM, and a set of equipment that will allow the operation of the various areas that are considered essential to the competition of launches between the teams, while offering safety guarantees that allow the show to be open to the public.

The CMSM is an infrastructure used for the operational training of Army and Air Force units, with national and international projection. Its purpose is to permanently prioritize sustainable development through the efficient use of natural resources, and constant protection and enhancement of natural heritage and biodiversity.

By supporting EuRoC 21, the Army seeks to consolidate itself as a modern, attractive and highly competent institution. Simultaneously, its support for initiatives of this nature reflects not only a propensity for close contact with academia, innovation and science, but also a solid commitment to Portugal and the Portuguese people.

Portugal Space
11 of August, 2021