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Space Rocket Challenges for 2020

Join in and have fun with rocket science

Space rocket challenge logoRocket Challenge 16th June to 6th July

NPL are delighted to have partnered with the UK Space Agency for the NPL 2020 Space Rocket challenge. 

UK Space Agency

NPL Space Rocket Challenge 2020 Winners Announcement

Robert Garner - Mission Safety Analyst of UK Space Agency joined NPL staff to judge almost a hundred entries designed by school students from across the UK and abroad in two age categories. 3D models will be created from winner and runner up designs, and meetings with Reaction Engines arranged for the winners. All participants receive a certificate of entry.

Here are winners, runners up (with Rob’s comments) and shortlisted entries. We are very impressed by the ambition of the ideas and elegance of solutions. For brevity, we show details from entries below and in the downloadable documents here.

Design a Rocket 2020 Primary

Design a Rocket 2020 Secondary


Winner of Secondary School Category: Megan

“This is a wonderfully drawn overview of a lunar mission, including lots of detailed drawings of individual parts of a rocket (including the rocket engines) and the mission profile. Great attention to detail and highly accurate!”

Secondary Winner Megan

Winner of Primary School Category: Saskia

“I love the idea of this mission. There are lots of mission concepts for similar "swarms" of tiny satellites to go to lots of places at once. The spacecraft are beautifully drawn.”

Primary Winner Saskia

Runners up

Runner Up in Secondary School Category: Freya

 “This is a very cool design of a spaceplane, with clever use of bio-mimicry. I particularly like that it has been designed to limit it's harm to the environment, and that the colours have been inspired by the UKSA logo.”

Secondary Runner up Freya

Runner Up in Primary School Category: Tom

“This rocket makes good use of boosters, and I like the idea of a Saturn Gateway, a bit like the Lunar Gateway that NASA is developing! The moon probes are thoughtfully designed, especially the jet legs which are important for landing on moons with no atmosphere, and a range of sensor payloads for searching for life.”

Primary Runner up Tom

Shortlisted Secondary











Shortlisted Primary








Did you know….
Space activity at UK Space Agency and NPL

NPL logo

  • NPL contributes to the UK space industry enabling the age of privately financed space missions.
  • NPL developed the science behind TRUTHS – a climate mission, led by the UK Space Agency, which will be delivered by the European Space Agency to enable in-flight calibration of Earth observation satellites and help deliver improved confidence in Earth Observation data gathered from space and the forecasts driven by this data
  • NPL have been pioneers in atomic clock technology since its advent in 1955.Today, signals from 31 atomic clocks onboard satellites enable GPS
  • NPL is helping space scientists understand the end-to-end performance of satellite instruments under operational conditions prior to launch through the development of novel instrumentation testing methods


Keep up to date with upcoming Outreach activities

UK Space Agency

  • The UK Space Agency is one of the founding members of the European Space Agency (ESA). Over the next 4 years we will be investing £374 million per year to ESA giving us access to €6 billion of science, research and innovation output each year
  • The UK Space Agency’s Spaceflight Programme aims to enable commercial spaceflight from UK spaceports. There are currently 7 proposed launch sites in the UK
  • Space is part of our everyday lives. Satellites support services the UK public, businesses and government rely on every day – from checking the weather forecast on the go to monitoring farming yields; and from maritime navigation to mobile health screening
  • There are over 41,000 people currently working in the UK Space Industry, and there not all astronauts, space sector jobs include aerospace engineers, physicists and entrepreneurs to name a few.
  • The UK Space Agency celebrated its 10th Birthday this year!

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