Princeton SpaceShot Team

Attempting to launch a student-built rocket into outer space.


The 2017-2018 SpaceShot project team of the Princeton Rocketry Club designed, built, tested, and launched a 2-stage sounding rocket using advanced composite construction. The vehicle was safely launched to an altitude of 47,610 ft MSL (14 km) from Spaceport America on 05/27/2018, but failed to reach its mission objective of 100 km altitude due to a second-stage ignition failure.

The 2018-2019 SpaceShot project team continued this daring attempt by building and launching a total of 4 rockets that could reach the Karman Line.

Records we seek to break

  • 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)

  • Cheapest rocket to ever reach outer space (adjusted for inflation)

  • Fastest speed ever achieved at Spaceport America

  • Highest altitude ever achieved at Spaceport America



Coleman Merchant '19

The chief engineer of SpaceShot, Coleman pushes the limits of efficiency with every project.

Coleman has worked at Tesla and SpaceX, gaining experience in advanced composites, machining, and mechanical/aerospace engineering.

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


Satya Nayagam '22

Co-leader of the Avionics Team, Satya is studying Chemical and Biological Engineering with a Certificate in Materials Science. Passionate about spaceflight and rocketry, Satya has been involved in numerous space-related activities.

Satya worked for two summers at NASA, developing image analysis routines for ISS experiments and helping to design a microgravity drop rig and plasma generator. Satya has also designed and built payloads for flight on Blue Origin and Northrup Grumman launch vehicles.

As part of SpaceShot, Satya helped design the Avionics Bay, as well as assembling and testing the electronic and structural components.


Saad Mirza '21

The team lead for SpaceShot, Saad has basically been a space enthusiast since birth.

Saad managed the 2017-2018 SpaceShot project team, successfully gaining University approvals, and obtaining Federal authorization for space launch from the FAA/AST.

Saad is also the President of the Princeton Rocketry Club, and is an officer of the Princeton Aviation Association.


Miles Simpkins '22

Co-leader of the Avionics Team, Miles is studying Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and has had a passion for flight since day one.

At his high school in Texas, he was president of an aerospace club that conducted high altitude balloon launches including a world record attempt.

For SpaceShot, Miles designed the Avionics Bay and helped machine various structural parts.

Aside from engineering, Miles enjoys movies, playing golf, watching the NFL, and history. He also has a Private Pilot License and enjoys flying with friends.


Miguel Opeña ‘22
Miguel has diverse interests, including deep philosophical books, calligraphy and music.

However, math is his number-one interest, and he is using it to model rocket trajectories for our SpaceShot team.

Aside from trying to launch a rocket into space, Miguel also performs research for Princeton’s Intelligent Robot Motion Lab, where he is applying math and algorithms to autonomous robotic controls.


Rodrigo Fernandez ‘22
Rodrigo is studying MAE with a certificate in Applied and Computational Mathematics. In SpaceShot he has mainly been involved with the material selection and structural design of the Av-Bay for the rocket.

In Mexico, he was the chief engineer for ITESM Saltillo University's robotics team--Blue Ignition Robotics. In 2018, he led his team to earning a first-place in First Robotics Competition's Mexico regional--giving the team a direct pass to the world championship held in Houston that same year.

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