Into the Black is a two-stage passively stabilized extremely high-powered sounding rocket. The rocket is designed with high strength materials due to the nature of its mission. Powered by advanced solid fuel compositions the goal of Into the Black is to cross the Kármán line (100km apogee) and become the first rocket designed and built by a University to reach space.

Into the Black flies on motors that are made by our team with a total impulse of both stages falling in at around 36,500N.s. Off the shelf avionics is used to monitor flight with in-house built telemetry systems to track the rocket up to its target altitude. The rocket takes off from an 8-meter launch tower and gets propelled into the sky reaching a top speed of Mach 5.6 and apogee of around 140km. Total flight time is around 13 minutes and descent is controlled by a single drogue parachute. At touchdown the sustainer will be out at sea where a custom-built flotation device will inflate using CO2 acting as a main parachute and keeping the rocket afloat while rescue helicopters recover the rocket.


The booster on Into the Black is powered by an O motor and the sustainer is powered by an M motor. All these motors were designed and built by the team using highly efficient compositions and packing methods, which is the driving force to allow this rocket to pass the Kármán line.


The booster motor casing is built using carbon fibre making it extremely light and amongst the first of its kind. The booster fin cans are built with carbon fibre with a layer of high-temperature pre-impregnated fibreglass. The same pre-impregnated fibreglass is used to create the nose-cone.


The sustainers fin cans are made using 3D printed titanium that goes through vigorous heat treatment, and the reason for this material selection is to minimize the chance of fin flutter in-flight. The interstage is manufactured from high-grade aluminium to incredibly tight tolerances, and high-grade stainless steel is used for the nose-tip.

Read more on Into the Black here:


Into the Blue is an experimental sounding rocket designed to reach exactly 30,000ft. It contains an active air-braking system that alters the coefficient of drag in order to precisely target a desired altitude. After beginning construction in April 2018, Into the Blue has successfully flown 6 times on K, M and N class motors.

Into the Blue’s airframe consists of fibreglass body tubes, fibreglass nosecone, carbon fibre tip-to-tip fins with stainless steel leading edges, carbon fibre coupler and a stainless-steel nose tip. The airbrakes are made up with 3D printed titanium joints, and an aluminium casing. The rocket uses a dual-deploy parachute system that includes a drogue parachute and a main parachute to safely bring the rocket back to the ground.

Real-time telemetry is used to monitor each flight. The data is processed and sent to an online database where it is then integrated to our live dashboard where all aspects of the flight can be monitored by anyone around the world.

Into the Blue was designed and built to fly a 4 kg payload as part if the Australian Universities Rocket Competition. During the competition flights, Into the Blue flew a biological sample to 30,000ft, studying the effects of microgravity on a sample of yeast. You can read much more about this here.

Read more on Into the Blue here:




Logistics Lead

A 4th year Mechanical Engineering student and a founding member of UC Aerospace. He has a passion for all things that break the sound barrier. Within the team he specialises in logistics, composites work and launch day organisation. In his spare time he can be found in the mountains skiing.


Projects Advisor

Robbie is in his 4th year at UC, studying Mechatronics Engineering. He oversees all of the UC Aerospace projects, and can be found in the Mechatronics room building robots. He lead the design and development of the active air-braking system, and is now helping the development of the next air-braking system.


Technical Lead

Jack is a 4th year Mechanical Engineering student and founding member of UC Aerospace. His role as Engineering Lead is to oversee concept generation, design and construction for all UCA projects. In his free time, he enjoys climbing and the outdoors, or can be found working on anything that flies.

UCSA Executives



Flynn is a 4th year Software Engineering student at UC. He is currently working on software to establish a long range, real time telemetry connection to UCA's rockets as they fly. In his free time, he enjoys growing his small software development company and working on his personal software projects.



William is in his 4th year of studying mechanical engineering at UC, He helps coordinate team structure and supervises the flight certification teams. He also assists in the composites and airframe manufacture of UCA’s high altitude rockets. In his spare time he can be found working on working on his motorbike and other personal projects.



Simon studies 3rd year Mechatronics Engineering. As an Aircraft Technician and general UCA team member, he assists with practical matters while building rocketry experience. Is often found trail running, gardening or building autonomous aircraft.

Technical Leads


Technical Vice-Lead

Thomas is in his 4th year at UC, studying Mechatronics Engineering. He oversees design and manufacture of various components for UC Aerospace projects. He can be found rock climbing, up a mountain, or behind a lathe in the mechanical workshop.


Operational Data Team Lead

A 4th year mechanical engineering student focusing on the software side of the UC Aerospace rockets. He focuses on the transmission, and processing of data for all of our rockets. In his spare time he can be seen working with 3D computer graphics and simulators.


AURC Team Lead

Kieran is a 3rd year Mechatronics Engineering student at UC. He assists in general construction, software, systems and generally being pedantic for UCA projects and helps develops components within these areas. In his spare time he enjoys long-distance cycling, working on personal projects or listening to Jazz. He has also adopted the nickname of 'Intern' being the youngest member.


AURC Vice Lead

Jessica is a 3rd year Mechatronics student at the University of Canterbury. Her roles involve designing mechatronic control systems, team management and fabrication. In her spare time, she enjoys writing and instant photography.

Jacob Saunders

Flight Certification Lead

Jacob is the technical lead for Level 1 and also runs the clubs social media. He is currently a 2nd year mechatronics student. In his spare time you will find him 3D printing and making personal projects.


AIAA Representative

Dr Dan Zhao is an academic in the mechanical engineering department whose research focuses on propulsion, aeroacoustics and aerodynamics. He is also an AIAA associate fellow.


Academic Representative

Dr Sarah Kessans is a lecturer in the UC College of Engineering's School of Product Design. As a biochemist and synthetic biologist with a passion for space exploration, Sarah is working to create solutions for sustaining life both on and off Earth, as well as developing technology that will make this possible.


Faculty Advisor

Bruce has been a member of staff in UC Mechanical Engineering for 6 years. The favorite part of his job is supporting students working on really cool projects like rocketry. Innovation, elegant design, and doing what can’t be done are all things that make him happy. In his free time he works on his own design and build projects, balanced with busy family life.


Contact information

69 Creyke Road

Ilam, Christchurch 8041

New Zealand