Category Archives: News

Lukas Schwarz joins the team, SPL turns 20

  • Lukas, our youngest and latest team member just joint SPL, welcome!
  • SPL turned 20 in October 2018. Even we missed that anniversary. Nobody knows the exact moment of our decision to build rockets, but it was about October 1998. There are rumours saying there was some wine and other hydrocarbons involved. SPL did not turn into a company like SpaceX or RockeLab but we are still alive and healthy and enthusiastic about rockets.

SPL gets a H2020 grant from the EC

SPL got a 50 k€ grant for a feasibility study for a green propellant engine (RCS and upper stage), called ECO-Thrust, from the European Commission EC (H2020 SME instrument phase 1). If done right, we could make it into phase 2 where things really begin to rock, but that’s whish-full thinking at the moment. Thanks to all people involved to made this happen! Special thanks to Evolution Europe in Spain who wrote most of the proposal. We archived 14.4 points out of 15 during the evaluation by the EC.

We are also mentioned on

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 790305

SPL shows it’s 10kN engine at Spacetech Expo in Bremen

SPL shows it’s 10kN engine at Spacetech Expo in Bremen

In the frame of the Spacetech Expo Bremen SPL had the opportunity to show it’s 10kN engine at the booth of KISTLER ® Sensors.

The engine is equipped with various ultra-fast piezoelectric quartz sensors (to sense normal pressure and combustion instabilities), a high temperature pressure sensor (which can withstand a temperature of over 800 °C!) and a 6 DOF dynamometer (Force in xyz and torque in xyz), all made by KISTLER ®.

SPL supports Swissloop

[Updates at the end of this posting]

Since about half a year SPL supports Swissloop on their work of their propulsion system.  Last weekend of 22. July 2017 we pressure-tested the system. Pressure and leakage tests went well. The weekend of 29. July 2017 a full thrust test on one of our thrust test stands was conducted.

Catch the roll out live on their Facebook Stream from on Thursday 27.07.17 at 18:00 CEST! Today, they got the invitation from SpaceX to be part of the competition end of August!

Some media coverage of the roll out and the competition in California:

The Swissloop team at the roll out 27. July 2017 in the ETH main building

The Swissloop team at the roll out 27. July 2017 in the ETH main building








Finally SPL’s logo appears on the pod 🙂 Thanks!

Test run of the rocket system [Update 29. July 2017]

Today we tested Swissloop’s rocket system (Leakage and pressure testing happened a week ago). No details form our side, because the results are proprietary. But we had a lot of fun!

Infrared picture from the ice cold tubes and nozzles afer the tests.

Infrared picture from the ice cold tubes and nozzles afer the tests.

Sitting the guys from Swissloop: Chris Timperio, Manuel (?), Daniel Kaufmann Standing Hu. Ammann and Bruno Berger both SPL

Sitting the guys from Swissloop: Chris Timperio, Manuel (?), Daniel Kaufmann
Standing Hu. Ammann and Bruno Berger both SPL








A video of the pressure and thrust testing (Via Facebook) [Update 5. August 2017]

Competition Weekend II is scheduled for August 25-27, 2017, at SpaceX’s Hyperloop track in Hawthorne, CA [Update 28. August 2017]

Swissloop made it into the finale of 3 teams out of hundreds! This is a great achievement. Before you can run it in vacuum you have to pass many tests. Elon Musk was there too and gave them a high five:

The run itself went so so well. Their battery drained in the tunnel while waiting for vacuumization.

It was a great experience to work with you guys. Thanks and good luck with the next projects!

SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition

Swissloop is a team of 40 physics, mathematics, electrical-, mechanical- and civil engineering students at the ETH Zurich that is complemented by design and business students from Switzerland. Their objective is to design and build a prototype for this new kind of ground transportation: the Hyperloop.
SpaceX, a private space company based in Hawthorne, California, is currently running a competition for universities around the world to design, build and race pod prototypes of the Hyperloop. The company has already built a 1.25km-long test track for this purpose. The competition is divided into three stages: two design stages, a preliminary draft design submitted in November 2016 and a detailed build-ready design to be submitted in February 2017. Swissloop’s objective is simple: build the fastest pod that has to successfully accelerate and decelerate within the limits of the test track in summer 2017.

Tags: SpaceX, Hyperloop, Swissloop

Flight of EOS1 (Edge of Space 1)

a high altitude balloon project.

In August 2015 we launched a high altitude (aka stratosphere) balloon. It was not really rocket related but definitively space related. We got some fantastic footage. The probe attached to the balloon was equipped with (inside a Styrofoam box):

– Raspberry PI connected to a small GPS-Module (uBlox), telemetry transmitter (434 MHz) which sends position, sensor data and low-res live pictures to ground stations (Fix and chasing cars) and from there to the internet
– Backup GPS tracker via GSM
– Various sensors (Temp, pressure etc)
– GoPro Camera
– Raspberry cam which sends a live stream via telemetry link to the internet
– Backup position link via GlobalStar satellites (independent of GSM and telemetry downlink)

  • Probe carried by a latex-balloon with 5 m3 Helium
  • Heidi and Peter – two fearless Legonauts – as passengers in their capsule
  • Powered by 2 Lithium powerpacks good for 8h for all devices

Tracking via SDR (Software defined Radio, USB-Dongle and HackRF)

The flight path over Switzerland

Which mountains do you see on the video? Here a panorama view with explanations.

Take a seat and enjoy a ride over Switzerland in 25 km altitude! Local Video in HD (no audio for no apparent reason 🙁 ):

Video on Youtube (not available in every country) and Facebook:

Heidi and Peter recorded a range of view of 392 km:


SPL welcomes Devis Tonon in it’s team

We welcome Devis Tonon as a new team member. He holds a PhD in Applied Physics (Technical University of Eindhoven) and a MSc in Aerospace engineering (Polytechnic University of Turin). He has experience in aeroacoustics, thermoacoustics and fluid dynamics. He will be a great help for us solving the thermoacoustic issues in one of our engines.

10 kN engine at full throttle, modification on test stand

Short summary: The engine ran on Ethanol/LOX, O/F about 1.95, thrust nearly a metric ton and we got a (measured!) ISP of about 232s at a chamber pressure of 21 bar… which is quite a good number! We pushed the chamber pressure further, but ended up with a molten nozzle (for optimizing combustion, short burning times are sufficient… so we only use mild steel nozzles at this state of the tests). More below… Continue reading