Suppose a group of aeronautical engineering students are developing a liquid engine for a rocket.

What UK laws and regulatory authorities deal with the creation and subsequent testing of a liquid engine rocket?

  • 1
    Why haven't you sought the input of your academic leaders or their student advice offices? They are at least in a better position to tell you why this is likely to be a bad idea without much more of their input, and a very bad idea to take legal advice from strangers on the internet.
    – user4657
    Dec 29, 2021 at 6:53
  • @Nij Maybe self-learning and independent research is part of the project.
    – Rick
    Dec 29, 2021 at 9:56
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    This is a classic hypothetical and should not be closed as asking for specific legal advice. Dec 29, 2021 at 15:34
  • No responsible educator will ever allow or assign find out how to control potentially explosive devices as a project for "self-learning and independent research".
    – user4657
    Dec 29, 2021 at 19:52

1 Answer 1

  • The fuel:

According to this source, liquid fuel rockets are not covered by the Explosives Act 1875 as the fuel and oxidising agent only meet at the point of combustion.

However, there may / will be handling, storage and use controls or restrictions depending on the quanity and type of ingredients used: oxidisers for example. Without knowing what these ingredients are it is impossible to give a definitive answer but this source may be of use.

  • The testing:

If the testing includes rocket flight, rather than a ground test (here for example) then this page from the Civil Aviation Authority's website provides guidance on the airspace notification aspects of a rocket event or activity.  Note that these CAA notification procedures depend whether the rocket is defined as "Large" or not (i.e. if the total impulse of the rocket motor (or combination of motors) is more than 10,240 Newton-Seconds as per Schedule 1 of the Air Navigation Order 2016

Regardless of whether it's flight or ground testing, a properly managed and implemented risk assessment is needed to ensure the health and safety of the students, members of the public, and private / public property. The Health and Safety Executive's website offers more detail on this as well the legal requirements and responsibilities of educational establishments.

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