DC’s welding program collaborates on world’s most powerful student-built rocket

December 2023 Update: Thanks to DC’s superior welding, Space Concordia recently completed its first successful full-scale test to validate the rockets engine control systems, ground control systems, telecommunications and propulsion system. The team is thrilled with the results and will continue to make improvements and optimizations for future tests to prepare for launch in 2024.

Experts from Durham College’s welding program helped achieve a significant milestone in the pursuit of space exploration with Space Concordia.

A number of DC’s expert welding faculty worked collaboratively for a year to design, test, build and weld the fuel propulsion system for a Base 11 challenge rocket named Starsailor. The space-capable rocket was transported and assembled at Concordia’s Loyola campus and was successfully mounted and raised on the launch tower, making it Canada’s largest and the world’s most powerful student-built rocket.

“DC’s welding program has an excellent reputation, which is why Space Concordia initially contacted me in 2019 about this project,” said Gregg Peel, DC welding professor, who facilitated the project. “We met every standard the Concordia engineers set for us, and the rocket set an amateur record for producing 35kN of thrust during a test fire, making it the most powerful student-built rocket ever created.”

DC is leading the way in skilled trades, and its Welding Engineering Technician program is sure to play an integral role in the projected growth of the aerospace industry in Canada. Brian Glen, one of DC’s welding professors who helped build the rocket, says DC is aligned with the evolution of the industry.

“The welding industry is advancing with the use of robotics and computer automation, which is why we use innovative equipment and current procedures. We also have strong industry partnerships that help teach and prepare students with what they need to be career-ready post-graduation.”

Space Concordia is preparing Starsailor for flight next summer as it continues its journey toward the stars.