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School of Science, Engineering & Design

TU2Space programme

Teesside University's TU2Space programme is nurturing a ground-breaking project to launch a rocket into space by a group of Teesside University engineering students. The idea was conceived in October 2017 and preparations are already being made for a rocket launch later this year.

What's the plan?


To launch a ThumbSat satellite weighing less than 50g

On a suborbital flight to space
(>100km altitude)

Using the simplest, fastest means possible.

If we are successful, this could be the world's first student team to put a rocket into space and first from the UK soil.

The main objectives are:

  • record the rocket's trajectory
  • obtain an image from peak altitude
  • record a video of the launch

About the programme


The TU2Space programme aims to launch a rocket at the altitude of 33km using a weather balloon and then the rocket will be launched to space.

Everything from research and testing to marketing and social media is being carried out by the students at Teesside University, with assistance and supervision from lecturers and external space engineer Shaun Whitehead.


The students at Teesside University are even making ammonium perchlorate composite propellant, to be used as rocket fuel - the same fuel used by NASA.

The TU2Space team is also using Thumbsat designed and developed by Shaun's company Scoutek. Thumbsat is a small satellite with GPS, transmitter, battery and a camera which will be attached to the rocket, allowing the team to track its activity and monitor progress before navigating it back to earth.

The peak velocity of the rocket will reach up to 1.5km/sec and the peak altitude will be 120km.

In the news


Programme team


Dr Atma Prakash

Senior Lecturer and TU2Space programme lead
He has put together a team of engineering students and lecturers to work on the project.

Dr David Hughes

Senior Lecturer
He has some very exciting ideas about exotic materials and build facilities. He is supporting the materials aspect of the project.

Dr Joseph McGinnis

Senior Lecturer
He is supporting the project in research and manufacturing of the rocket propellant.

Shaun Whitehead

The client supporting the project to go in the right direction
He has been involved in multiple space missions and worked with the European Space agency as a space engineer. He is inventor of the ThumbSat, a Femto-satellite which TU2Space aim to send into space.

The TU2Space project is being led by three student managers - James Dent, Ben Massey and Andrew Dunn.

Over 50 students have been involved so far across different engineering programmes and courses. They have been split into eight project teams, examining different areas of the rocket launch, such as propulsion, rocket design and simulation.