Princeton SpaceShot

The first student-built rocket to reach outer space.


The SpaceShot project team of the Princeton Rocketry Club designed, built, tested, and will launch a 2-stage sounding rocket using advanced composite construction during the 2017-2018 academic year. The vehicle is expected to reach an altitude of over 100 km (328,000 feet, 62 miles), surpassing the Karman Line, which defines outer space.

A record-breaker in every sense

  • First student-built rocket to reach the Karman Line, the internationally recognized boundary of outer space (100 km altitude)
  • Smallest rocket by vehicle mass to ever reach outer space (Previous recordholder: Super Loki Robin Dart)
  • Rocket with least propellant mass to ever reach outer space (Previous recordholder: Super Loki Robin Dart)
  • Cheapest rocket to ever reach outer space (adjusted for inflation)
  • Fastest speed ever achieved at Spaceport America
  • Highest altitude ever achieved at Spaceport America

Efficiency and Advanced Materials

Despite being only four inches in diameter, and weighing only 50 lb, the rocket soars to nearly 500,000 feet at over a mile a second, while the skin heats up to over 1500 F.

Similar performance sounding rockets from NASA cost over $2,000,000 per launch. We're designing from scratch, building, and launching for under $20,000.

Our secret? A design philosophy of elegant simplicity, commercial off-the-shelf components, and advanced composites used by Lockheed Martin for re-entry shields.

Launching from Spaceport America in May 2018.

Team Leads


Coleman Merchant '19

The team lead and chief engineer of SpaceShot, Coleman pushes the limits of efficiency with every project. Last year, he designed and launched a rocket that reached 40,000 feet in altitude. It was only 2 inches in diameter.

With experience in advanced composites, machining, and mechanical engineering, Coleman is a natural engineer.

Coleman is also the chief engineer for the Princeton Racing Electric (PRE) team.


Saad Mirza '21

The project manager for SpaceShot, Saad has basically been a space enthusiast since birth.

At Olean High School, Saad started an aerospace club, leading a team of 40 students every year. They built and launched high altitude balloon payloads to 120,000 feet, as well as rockets, while coordinating with the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST).

Questions? Email