An out-of-this-world experience with Bristol’s Space Society

 Female student (left) stood with rocket prop. Students in space suits stood aside Tim Peake cut out (right)

An out-of-this-world experience with Bristol’s Space Exploration Society

Are you totally fascinated by the wonders of the universe? 💫 🚀

Are you looking to make lasting friendships with people who share your passion for space?

Maybe you’ve dreamt of constructing your own rocket and watching it soar into the abyss?

If this sounds like you, Bristol’s Space Exploration Society (Bristol SEDS) could be your launchpad!

We recently caught up with the society’s President, George Burns, to hear all about the adventures that await society members…

Q: Can you tell us a bit about the purpose and mission of Bristol SEDS?

A: Bristol SEDS is the Bristol branch of UKSEDS, the UK’s national student space society which has been running for over 30 years. With the support of our parent organisation, we frequently run events, and provide resources to fellow Bristol students who share our passion for space exploration. We’re all about building important skills and sharing the know-how you need to dive into the space industry!

Events really bring our society’s mission to life; we have everything from the theoretical to the practical, so there’s always something for all. From space law talks to rocketry competitions – everything you need to develop your skills as a space enthusiast and get a fantastic all-rounded experience. We even hold CV writing and communications workshops if you’re looking to brush up on those soft skills.

Q: What are some of the most exciting projects or initiatives you’ve been involved with to date?

A: Rocketry competitions are an absolute blast! In just a few weeks, our ‘HyPower’ rocketry team is set to soar to new heights in Portugal for the EuRoc 2023 rocketry competition. The team will battle it out with other European universities, pushing the limits of our highest-performing vehicle to date.

Launch vehicle reaches staggering 1.6km height during Mach23 competition

Speaking of heights, last year’s Mach-23 launch was a real highlight. Our impressive vehicle reached a staggering height of 1.6 kilometers, that’s equivalent to stacking two Burj Khalifas – the world’s tallest building – on top of each other (gif for attention!). You can read more about Project Prometheus and the journey to launch here!

And finally, last year’s National Student Space Conference was a real highlight for us. This event was organised by UKSEDS and it provided an excellent chance to connect with hundreds of other SEDS members scattered across the UK. We’re excited to be attending again this year!

Q: Do you have to study Engineering to join the society?

A: A common misconception is that space is only for aerospace engineers, which is completely untrue. As the society’s president and an electrical/electronic engineer, I can tell you first-hand that space is for everyone.

Our society’s mission is to develop the skills of our members in all areas of space exploration, whether that’s in rocket science or in the business behind space. We encourage everyone from every background to get involved with SEDS, whether that’s by getting your hands dirty in a rocketry competition or by attending the range of talks we’ll be hosting this year.

If you fancy a sneak preview of what’s coming up, our website reveals all!

Q: Do I need to know a lot about space to join?

A: Absolutely not – you can come with no knowledge of space at all and then end up launching a rocket/testing a rover by the end of the year. Our workshops and competitions are designed so that you can go from zero to hero in just one academic year!

Q: How has being a part of the society enriched your University experience?

A: You’ve probably heard a bunch from me already, so I thought we’d keep it real and ask our current members about their experience.

I was chuffed to hear that our members shared similar thoughts. Being a part of the society helped them expand their friendship groups, spending quality time with new friends from different courses and backgrounds.

Others mentioned how the society has positively impacted their studies and career plans. In fact, one member raved about a society tour we organised to Airbus and RAL Space, saying that it had opened their mind to potential future employers.

And there’s been a lot of talk about personal growth and development too—since joining, many of our members have really honed their technical skills in coding and CAD, while others have developed soft organisational and team working skills that they can carry with them into the future.

Personally, I’ve grown so fond of space exploration that I’m now eyeing up a space-related PhD too.

Q: Now you’ve convinced our readers to sign up, how can they do just that?

A: To join us, you’ll first need to order your membership on the Bristol SU website. If you want a preview of one one our talks, we hold them every Wednesday in Queen’s Building. Tickets are available here, but members get early access, so be quick!

Alternatively, you can always message us on Instagram. We’re here to guide you through membership or answer any questions. Let’s make it easy for you! 🚀

*The information and statements contained within this blog is correct at time of publication.