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Calling all UK secondary students: UK Space Settlement Design Competition 2013

4 Sep 2012


Would you like to win a trip to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas? The UK Space Design Competition gives you and your friends the opportunity to do just that!


Supported by the Space Science and Engineering Foundation and the UK Space Agency, the competition will take place at Imperial College London on the weekend of 23 -24 March 2013.

Finalist teams, having earned their place at the competition through either a video application procedure or through victory at one of the regional competitions, travel to Imperial College London where, whilst remaining as a team, they join with several other students to form one of four simulated design companies of up to 50 students each.

Supported by space experts, the teams are tasked with the design of a scientifically viable space settlement for over 10,000 inhabitants, taking several factors into account, ranging from structural engineering and communications to entertainment, food production, construction timelines, and cost. Designs are presented to a panel of expert judges for the chance to represent the UK at the International Space Settlement Design Competition, held annually at NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.  The competition is open to all current secondary schools in the UK.

The main aim of the competition is to provide students with an opportunity to take part in a design simulation that exposes them to the joys and challenges of working in a large industrial team. Students will develop a space-based infrastructure that requires complex, challenging, and imaginative thinking, leading to an increased interest in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics.

But the UK Space Design Competition is more than just a competition. It’s a journey. A physical journey from your school or science club to London and a personal journey in which students will meet exciting new challenges and grow, as people, in a way that few other curriculum experiences can offer.

At the 2010 International Space Settlement Design Competition, UK students scooped first place as part of the team Vulture Aviation.

Their winning design consisted of an 11km long “grove” cut into a canyon wall with twin elevators and a fleet of land rovers to transport personnel and supplies from one side of the canyon to another. The settlement, in line with ISSDC guidelines, was called “ARGONOM” and was predicted to take 13 years and cost almost 2 trillion dollars to build.

Whether you are a budding engineering, scientist, psychologist or artist, or a long established teacher in any of the STEM fields, the UK Space Design Competition has something to offer everyone.

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