Sign up for NPL updates
Sign up for NPL updates

NPL at the Royal Institution of Great Britain


Water rockets

Water Rocket Challenge

Water rockets

NPL’s Water Rocket Challenge 2023 was a great success, with over 800 attendees joining us as part of the 35 school teams, 30 evening teams and 60 teams/individuals taking part in our 'build your own rocket' workshop. The money raised from the event went to Richmond Borough scouts.

The winning teams of 2023 were school team ‘Budget Avengers’ from The Kingston Academy and evening team “Just Rockets”.

Our 25th event is planned for Summer 2024

If you need any further information, please contact NPL Outreach

What is the NPL water rocket challenge?

The challenge is to land an air pressurised rocket, using water as a propellant, exactly 70 m from launch point, three times, with extra points for flight duration. We have a big annual festival on our site where teams compete.

On this page are some awesome videos, photos and results from previous years’ Water Rocket Challenges.

Water rockets are fun and easy to make

We have some posters of water rocket scientific facts and design tips, as well as a video made in association with a local school on the science of water rockets:

Download our comprehensive booklet about building water rockets which helps you improve flight and understand the physics involved.

Rocket Simulator

Check out this Water Rocket simulator software! It is described in the booklet and helps you improve flight and understand the physics involved (be amazed at the temperatures of water and air leaving the rocket).

Software: Water Rocket simulator  [Windows only 2.84MB]


Did you know?

NPL constructed a water rocket powered car which featured on the Gadget Show.

We also held the record for making the world's largest water rocket,
launched in 2011 – using 140 x 2 litre bottles and stood 3.4 m tall.

Contact us