The Best Student Life. Bristol SU

Bristol SEDS: Space Exploration Society

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Welcome to the Bristol SEDS page! We are a society which unites Bristol students who are interested in Space. If you're an Engineer, Physicist, or in fact anyone who is interested in space and getting involved in some (incredibly rewarding) space related projects then Bristol SEDS is for you! From launching model rockets to producing high altitude balloons and tracking them as they float around the world, the projects we do are very exciting, interesting and challenging and we can offer you a very different experience compared to other societies! 

Perhaps you want to be part of a community of like minded students who are interested in Aerospace and the UK Space Sector.  We offer members a community where they can keep up to date about space events for students and also discuss space news and topics. We meet regularly, both for project work, and socially and we can even offer a discounted branch member price to attend the National Student Space Conference (NSSC) which happens every year with students around the country and leading figures, companies and organisation in the Space Sector.

We are the Bristol branch of UKSEDS (UK Students for the Exploration and Development of Space). UKSEDS is a national body for students interested in Space and we represent them in Bristol. 


Current Space Projects (2017/2018)

So, interested? Here are our current projects that you can get involved with!

Lunar Rover

The main project for Bristol SEDS in 2016/2017 acdemic year has been the UKSEDS Lunar Rover Competition. The mission was based on a real proposal by ESA to send a lander to a rim of Shackleton Crater. The objective for the competing teams was to design a 5 kg 30x30x30 cm rover that would be able to survive the vibrations of a rocket launch, drive over rough terrain and collect up to 500 g of dry ice.

The competition followed the procedures of a real space industry project. The teams were required to go through Preliminary Design Review (PDR) and Critical Design Review (CDR) stages, after which five best teams - Bristol SEDS among them - received the funding to build the rovers of their designs and come to RAL Space to prove their rovers’ ability to successfuly complete the mission.

Each rover was tasked to drive to the sample over the rocks and hills of the Mars Yard at RAL Space, collect the sample and return to the starting point. Points were awarded based on how close the rover got to the sample and how much sample was collected. Next, the each rover was put on a vibration table that simulated the structural loads it would experience during launch. After that the rover had to complete the first task again with double points awarded for each achievement.



At the end of the trials, Bristol SEDS was awarded a second place. You can watch a clip about the competition here


The society is planning to participate in this year's competition as well and further refine the design of the rover. 

G-Class Model Rockets

For 2015/2016 Bristol SEDS produced two model rockets with scientific payloads, to compete with model rockets submitted by other UKSEDS branches as part of the National Rocketry Challenge NRC. Our scientific payloads enabled us to investigate the motion of the rockets using accelerometers. The launch took place on 5th of June at Fins Over Gwent Rocketry club in South Wales. You can launch a clip about the launch here

We aim to build another model rocket in 2017/2018 as well, incorporating latest technologies in its production like composites and 3D printing.

Our own competitions


Water Rockets

This is a fun and relatively short project to kick off the academic year. The aim for each team is to design a water rocket which will go higher and stay in air for longer than those of the competing teams with bonus points for design complexity and clever payloads. The competition is set to start in early October of 2017.



Year 2016 saw the University of Bristol's first CanSat competition organised by Bristol SEDS, University’s Aerospace Engineering Department and the Avionics Group. The primary objective for the five teams competing was to log the temperature and pressure data during the CanSat’s descent using the qbcan kits provided, and transmit it to a ground station over radio and present the altitude/time and temperature/altitude graphs. The teams were free to choose the secondary payload and there was a variety of ideas: from a camera to an onboard wind turbine. Despite a tight schedule - the teams had only one week to build their CanSats - everybody managed to achieve great results.



The second competition is set to take place in late October of 2017.

High Altitude Balloons (HABs)

We have had much success in 2015/2016 with creating superpressure balloons that we have tracked some distance around the world! One of the balloons built that year – UBSEDS15 - has covered over 50,000 km in 47 days of flight and was tracked all around the world.

This achievement was later repeated by the UBSEDS18, which travelled for over 250,000 km.

Each of the balloons had a printed circuit board (PCB) with a GPS tracker shown below which emitted its position over radio. Solar panels were used and they worked very well in recharging flat batteries during daylight hours.

The latest balloon we have built – UBSEDS25 – tested a camera and hardware for image transmission (based on Raspberry Pi Zero) to enable us to take pictures of different places around the world from our future balloons!


For more detailed information on our projects be sure to check our website




Bristol SEDS Socials

It's always important to have a good balance in life, which is why we are planning for 2017/2018 to mix in a good amount of socials for members from time to time. Expect society viewings of space themed films!


Okay, how do I Join?!

To join Bristol SEDS, log in and click ‘Join the Group’ button at the top of the page. The current price of membership for a year is £5.

To get fully involved:  

Join our Facebook Group, the primary way of keeping involved and up to date:

Follow us on Twitter:  

And most importantly check out our website with much more information on who we are and what we do:


Terms and conditions

Click here to view terms and conditions


Membership Fee Inclusions


Prior to signing up to a Club or Society speak to the Committee to find out what your membership includes and if there are any further expenses throughout the year.


Service Standards


All Club or Society members can expect to receive:


  • The opportunity to attend regular meetings, events, activities, trips and socials as arranged.
  • The opportunity to stand for a committee position or vote in their elections (Bristol students only).
  • For Sports Club – to attend regular training sessions and have the opportunity to be selected for the teams.


Code of Conduct


When joining a club or society you are agreeing to abide by the constitution, general rules, regulations and policies of University of Bristol Students’ Union and also the Club or Society Code of Conduct which sets out the level of behaviour & discipline expected of all Club & Society members.


Download the Code of Conduct


Refund Policy


Any customer who pays for a membership subscription to a Bristol SU Society, Sports Club, Student Media and initiatives has a 14 day cooling off period from the time and date of purchase during which they have the right to cancel the subscription and receive a full refund. If you do decide to cancel within the 14 days, Bristol SU will refund your payment within a further 30 days of the cancellation.  To request a refund please email:


Data sharing (Sports Club members only)


Please be aware that Bristol SU may share data relating to the members of its sports clubs with the Centre for Sport, Exercise and Health (a department of the University).  This information may be used for the purposes of communicating direct with these members and/or to cross-reference against SEH's Sports Pass membership records.


As part of Bristol SU's membership of British Universities & Colleges Sports (BUCS) Bristol SU may have to share data on to its sports clubs members so BUCS can, from time to time, communicate with these members. 


Data sharing (Societies members only)


If you're joining one of the societies listed below please be aware that your name and email address will be shared with Bristol Hub for the purpose of keeping you up to date with their activities through their email “The Week”:

AIESEC Bristol, AMICUS Bristol, Anti-Slavery Society, Bristol Feminists, Bristol Friends of MSF, Bristol Marrow, Bristol Social Enterprise Society, Bristol Student Action for Refugees, Bristol University Amnesty International, Conservation Group, Bristol University Oxfam Group, Bristol University Sustainability Team, Bristol Volunteers for Development Abroad, Engineers Without Borders, Howard League for Penal Reform Student Society, International Affairs Society, Medsin Bristol, Model United Nations, and Vegetarian and Vegan Society.


For more information on Bristol Hub visit:


If you do not want your details shared with the Hub please email:

These terms shall be governed by English law and are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts. Nothing in these terms shall exclude liability for fraudulent misrepresentation.