Pupils from Bishop’s Stortford College were members of the winning team in the UK Space Design Competition (UKSDC). As a result, two college pupils will form part of the British team at the international final in Florida during the summer.
Imperial College London hosted more than 200 students aged 14 to 18 for the sixth national final of the annual UKSDC. The challenge saw 45-50 pupils from different schools working cooperatively to form a ‘company’. Nine Bishop’s Stortford College pupils took part: Matthew Braz, James Catton, Benedict Corti Tyler, Will Daniels, Elizabeth Farrant, Victoria Farrant, Sam Marshall, Jonathan Minihane and Alexander Turley-Pound.
This year the students were asked to present detailed designs for a mobile space settlement housing 10,000 people, powered by solar sails and designed to travel in a cycler orbit between the Earth and Mars in the year 2060. They received advice throughout the weekend from Imperial College undergraduates with specialist knowledge relevant to the design process.
Each ‘company’ then had to complete a 50-page presentation and make a 35-minute presentation in a sales pitch format to the judges and 200 fellow competitors.
The winning design, called Balaluceras, was proposed by ‘Vulture Aviation’, and comprised a multi-torus design which was praised by the judges for its detailed radiation shielding and cargo-handling systems. The team included students from Quintin Kynaston Academy, Capital City Academy, Westminster School, Nonsuch High School for Girls, Bishop’s Stortford College and Riddlesdown Collegiate School. They had earned their places either by winning at a regional heat or producing a top video entry.
This year’s judging panel included Anita Gale, an associate technical fellow and senior project engineer at Boeing; Jeremy Curtis, head of education at the UK Space Agency; Dr Randall Perry, founder of the UKSDC and a senior research investigator at the Impacts and Astromaterials Research Centre at Imperial College London; and Helen Oliver, a research associate at the University of Cambridge computer laboratory.
From the winning company, twelve members were selected to form the British team which will go on to the international final at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida this summer, competing against teams from all over the world. Bishop’s Stortford College pupils Victoria Farrant and Matthew Braz were selected for the team. Victoria Farrant also won the Dick Edwards Design Award for making the most significant contribution in terms of team work, project input and organisational skills.