We are UC Berkeley's premier high-power rocketry team. With an illustrious history of successful launches, STAR proudly holds the record for the longest and most accomplished launch history on campus, having completed a total of eight vehicles, numerous liquid engines, andover our impressive half-decade lifetime.
Our mission is to enable students from all backgrounds and majors passionate about aerospace to gain hands-on experience through intensive projects – developing valuable engineering skills including developing simulations, manufacturing, operations management and more – while representing UC Berkeley at international competitions.
Furthermore, through our education and outreach programs we pass down knowledge and help support the next generation of engineers in our community! To this end we have began a scholarship program with NextGene Girls projected to award more than 50,000 USD to underserved communities.
By contributing to our cause, you will play an integral role in propelling our team's ambitions to new heights and launch us to the STARs!
4th Place (10k International 2023) at the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA)’s Intercollegiate Rocket Competition (IREC) with our vehicle “CalVistor” featuring novel airbrakes allowing us to get within 24 ft of our target apogee. Honorable mention for most commercializable payload for our custom IREC vibrational art payload.
1st Place (10k 2021) at Friends of Amateur Rocketry’s 1030 competition and 17th place (10k International 2021) with our vehicle Bear Force One featuring custom muon detector and microbial fuel cell payloads.
18th Place at NASA’s Student Launch 2017 with our vehicle Ursa Major featuring a nose-mounted camera with smart detection algorithm to deploy landing legs and ensure upright payload landing.
Numerous campus records including the current campus altitude record achieved with Berkeley’s first minimum diameter rocket “MINDI”, as well as being the first Berkeley team to launch a two stage rocket. We are also one of the few collegiate teams worldwide who have successfully hotfired a bipropellant liquid engine.
The inaugural launch of our Stage Separation rocket (SSEP) took place in September 2022, marking a significant milestone in our research and development efforts. This pioneering endeavor, affectionately named "Pinkbeary," served as a proof-of-concept project to assess the efficacy of a two-stage airframe design and a spring-actuated separation mechanism, which is triggered by the detonation of pyro bolts. Notably, this endeavor showcased novel recovery methods and airframe architectures, firmly establishing UC Berkeley's prominence in the field of successful staging rocket launches.
Building upon this initial triumph, our team is working hard on the second iteration of our stage separation vehicle which will also be our entry to the international IREC rocketry competition. Anticipated to reach a projected apogee of 10,000 feet, this forthcoming mission will incorporate enhanced structures, novel recovery techniques, and an exciting new payload.
Our first-ever flyable liquid-powered rocket is currently in the testing and optimization phase! Our airframe and recovery teams have completed their preliminary designs and are working to physically test their conceptual component assemblies on the ground, validating our analysis of in-flight structural dynamics. On the propulsion front, we’re working on scaling our hotfire-tested LOX/ethanol development engine into the flight vehicle space and energy requirements envelope (integrated hotfire tests ahead!).
The avionics team is shifting focus from propulsion ground support build-out to flight module design, including Printed Circuit Board component/stack optimization, onboard harnessing and power distribution. As we continue to integrate subscale projects between each subsystem, we’re working hard to maintain thrust and flight simulation accuracy to reflect the predicted physics of launch.
We are currently on schedule to launch this foundational liquid-powered rocket in Spring 2024 in the dollar-per-foot competition at the Friends of Amateur Rocketry launch site in Southern California and eventually integrate liquid propulsion into our future IREC competition vehicles in the Student Researched and Developed liquid categories.
For the past 7 years, STAR has attended local events to teach children about rocketry and space technology - meeting with thousands of students ranging from elementary to high school to inspire the next generation of thinkers, innovators, and golden bears!
We have also expanded our outreach efforts through our scholarship program, designed to give meaningful support to local students who are struggling to access education. Our scholarship program is dedicated to supporting and championing the academic aspirations of low-income women of color pursuing science degrees. We partner with NextGene Girls to empower talented young women who face systemic barriers, offering them the means to pursue their dreams and contribute to the scientific community. Our goal is to provide a supportive network of mentors to our scholarship recipients, in addition to supporting them financially. Each recipient receives a $2000 scholarship, along with the continued support from our outreach program, where we run workshops on college fundamentals (such as LinkedIn, resume-crafting, etc).
By investing in their education and unlocking their potential, we not only shape the future of science but also foster a more inclusive and equitable society. We are also aiming to expand our program and increase the number of scholarships we can provide.
STAR sees projects from both short-term and long-term perspectives. We have big dreams of launching each of our unique and complex rockets! However, to do so, we need all the help we can get! We would greatly appreciate any support that our donors can provide! And to give back to our donors, we have cool prizes that range depending on the amount donated. Feel free to check them out!
We love the work we do at STAR and are always happy to talk about it! To contact us or learn more about us, you can visit:
STAR featured in…
The Daily Californian