The Space Science Engineering Foundation regional heat of the UK Space Design Competition was held last Saturday 16th November at the University of Cambridge Engineering Department. 9 Long Road students attended the day, which started at 9am and finished at 8:30pm, this was an ideal competition for those students with an interest in STEM fields and/or space!
There was no expectation of the students to have any technical knowledge, just a passion for their work. There were helpers to all the teams to answer any technical questions and highly encourage the use of resources such as the internet or provided books so that the students may learn how to solve these problems with minimal assistance.
The competition involves students being grouped into companies (with other schools) and then being tasked with designing a space settlement to a set of given requirements. This year the design was for a mining space settlement set in 2077 in the Asteroid belt. The students were then to present their designs to a panel of judges.
The format is an industry simulation. This means the students needed to design their work with the judges in mind – efficiency is a key skill. This was an opportunity for the students to experience working in a large team with people that they will not be familiar with under time constraints.
The winning team will move on the National Finals at Imperial College London. From there, they will be eligible to be selected for both the UK and EU team that will attend the International Finals at Kennedy Space Centre.
It was also a good opportunity to experience the aura of the University of Cambridge Engineering Department, where Sir Frank Whittle designed the first Jet engine. There were representatives from the University Engineering Department and Siemens in attendance as either helpers or judges.
The team thoroughly enjoyed working with students from Boston Grammar School. After the 20 minute presentation and 10 minutes of acute questioning from the judges, while not winning were commended by the judges on their design ideas. In particular the Design of the robot mining droids, the use of Mars, clarity of safety routes in their space station and the use of Wearable technology.
For more general information, including a great documentary-style video, please click here.