About ARIS

Where visions and people grow 
for Earth and space

In ARIS, we combine inspiration for space exploration, hands-on project work and personal development. We encourage students to take charge, define a vision and realize it – attributes that leaders, managers, engineers have to live to shape the future of Earth and space.


Win the Spaceport America Cup.
Fly a student demonstrator in Orbit by 2029.

Initiated and lead by students from ETH Zürich, HSLU and ZHAW we build sounding rockets to win the Spaceport America Cup in the highest category by 2024. Together with our partners from industry and academia, we aggregate the required knowledge. And on the way there, we educate future engineers and leaders in hands-on project work. Our ultimate goal: to fly a student demonstrator in Low Earth Orbit by 2029!

A bottom-up initiative

ARIS was founded by a group of enthusiastic students in August 2017 in a classroom at ETH Zürich. It is a non-profit association with the purpose to form students in hands-on project work and to sustainably shape the perception of space. Made by students for students, ARIS stands for ambition and Swiss pioneering spirit.

Do space & talk about it

ARIS focusses on engineering projects, conducts keynotes with space experts and inspires the next generation through STEM activities.

New Space: involve new actors

Our partners are established in the space industry or focus on products for our daily use on Earth. Together we shape the exploration of the last frontier: Space.

A broad network in academia and industry

In ARIS, we bring together the experience of academia and industry. We combine the strengths of ETH Zürich and the universities of applied sciences HSLU and ZHAW.

Connect across Switzerland and the World

Space is unlimited, and big steps require collaboration. We connect and exchange with teams across Switzerland and around the World.

Why space?
A growing market.

Space is changing: private and commercial actors impact the industry and make space more accessible, series manufacturing is being established for satellites, more and more start-ups discover their business cases in orbit. The big agencies, on the other hand, go for the next leap: back to the Moon and forward to Mars to stay.

A perfect time to foster our base out in Switzerland and inspire the next generation to pursue their dreams!

The roadmap towards space

ARIS aims to be in space in 10 years, be it with a rocket or a technology demonstrator. However, we do not just want to fly high. We intend to get to the stratosphere first while testing innovative new features. Together with our partners and the knowledge available in Switzerland, we aim to disrupt the perception of space.

First: Step by step to the stratosphere

We will get there one step at a time, building upon recoverable suborbital sounding rockets. By competing in the Spaceport America Cup, we fly and evolve in an international environment and learn from the best. The goal: to win the Spaceport America Cup in the 30‘000 ft category with a student researched and developed sounding rocket.

A space to grow

Together with our mentors, we embrace the personal development of our members. We guide them and facilitate their ability to work in interdisciplinary teams. We give them the tools to deal with unexpected situations and solve conflicts. Our ‘fail fast’ and collaborative culture assures a steep learning curve, backed by a safety net. With their insights, both from success and failure, we motivate them to go out into the World tackle the challenges of tomorrow. 

A culture of responsibility

ARIS is an independent non-profit association. Over 70 students engage voluntarily up to 40 hours per week besides their studies. Our structure encourages the students to take charge and actively shape ARIS.

Safety & transparency

ARIS provides a safe and reliable environment to achieve the extraordinary. Internal review loops are being installed for safety and finances. Regular reviews with external partners ensure its relevance.

Strategic guidance

Through ARIS, the students and our partners evolve into new fields of technology and education. To make sure we stay at the cutting edge of the developments, an Advisory Board is being set up in 2020.

Coaching & mentoring

We value the personal development of our members, performing teams and aggregation of knowledge from one team to the next. In ARIS, students coach students together with our mentors to achieve the extraordinary.

Well-structured and agile


ARIS is a multi-project organization formed around the rocket project. The student teams and sub-teams are given high flexibility and responsibility to work efficiently and independently where ever possible. The cross-functional business teams provide operational support for the engineering teams and cover other ARIS activities. Coordination is ensured by the Association Board. ARIS follows yearly cycles aligned with the academic calendar. Yearly, we engage about 50 new students.

Strategic lead

ARIS’ long-term vision and mission are overseen by the ARIS association board and elaborated with the whole team. An advisory board of key industry and academic partners is being formed to ensure industrial and academic relevance.

Operational lead

ARIS is ambitious, has many  members and moves fast. To ensure that activities and projects are on track and planned early enough, a key group of team leaders, board representatives and project managers meets every week.

Day-to-day business

The business team handles all overarching association activities that arise in terms of  sponsoring, marketing, operations, safety and human resources, events and finances.  This enables the project teams to focus on technological advancement.

The implementation of our main system – The Rocket Project

In the core of our current activities stands the rocket project with the aim to improve year by year our performance at the Spaceport America Cup. Each year a team of 30 students implements the available know-how into a fully functional system, tests and flies it.

explore the ongoing rocket project
To implement the next level technology – Development Projects

Step by step, ARIS is working towards a sophisticated, fully student-built sounding rocket. A team of 10-15 students prepares the required technologies by develops a hybrid rocket engine or a guided recovery system in future, mainly through an ETH Focus Project.

explore the current development project
To evaluate and prepare the future – Strategic Development

There are many relevant technologies for ARIS’ future rockets for which we yet have to build up the know-how. A small team of dedicated students explores the feasibility and coordinates these concept studies, mainly in the form of theses at our partner universities.

expolore the strategic development

Hands-on project work

We define a vision and realize it. We live space exploration, we accumulate new knowledge through experience. Engaging with the real world, its limited resources, limited time and human factors – is the encouragement to prove our ambition professionally. Students test their specific knowledge under real conditions in a collaborative setting – from marketing, finances, logistics, science to electrical and mechanical engineering.

Established project processes 

Whether NASA / ESA system engineering processes for the engineering or Scrum in IT – we chose the tool needed to ensure the reliability of our outcome and build up our own best practices suited for our project cycles.

Theory complemented with praxis 

We design, manufacture, build, test and eventually fly our systems. We complement the theory form the classroom with the complexity of a real-world setting, limited resources and human factors.

Expert reviews

The success and quality of ARIS’ projects emerge from direct feedback and interaction with experts from industry and academia. They closely follow our projects and educate the next generation of leaders, managers and engineers.

Develop, operate and manage

ARIS is composed of interdisciplinary, complementary teams of engineering, scientist and management students. Together, they go through the complete process from design, manufacturing, to operations of a real-world hardware and software product.

Explore the projects of ARIS

Fit to reach for the stars


We meet our ambitions with a well-structured association and a widespread network across academia and industry. Centered around ETH Zürich, ARIS strengthens its academic integration and specific expertise together with the Universities of Applied Sciences HSLU and ZHAW. The successes of ARIS are successes of our partners.

learn more about our partners

Building rockets in Switzerland and forming students is not an easy endeavour. Many thank goes to partners that enabled us to grow and form students year after year since the very beginning:

Initiative Partners