Galactic Challenge 2019

On 21 September, a group of Year 7 students collaborated with pupils in Years 5, 6 and 7 from different schools for The Galactic Challenge 2019. 

We were assigned to design a space resort called the Armstrong Settlement, which had to withstand the moon’s harsh conditions. You could tell by the atmosphere, that everyone was ecstatic to start the challenge and to meet our CEOs. We had a short introduction- speech from some of the former winners of the UK Space Design Competition and head CEOs. Next, we got put into our teams, which was a fair mix of all the schools. We allocated roles within the team, such as Engineer, Tech- Advisor and Marketing. The last step, before we started our preparations, was selecting the president and vice-president. The process of choosing these places was; the willing candidates went out of the room, the remaining group voted and then, the places were chosen.

The groups ordered themselves according to who wanted to focus on which category e.g. Food supplies. We then researched our topic and started planning: sketching, making drafts, making second drafts, blueprints etc. to go towards the final PowerPoint presentation. This process went on for a couple of hours. Organisation and keeping track of everything was crucial as we had a time limit and a minimum amount of boxes we had to tick. The preparations were probably the best part of it, apart from the presentations, as we all got to feel important; everyone was needed to fulfill the tasks - As we like to say, teamwork makes the dreamwork! As we got closer to the deadline, you could tell that everybody could feel the arising pressure. Every last second counted.

Each team moved into the Pamoja Hall to pitch their Space Resort presentation to the judging panel, which included: Ms. Jenny Lyons, Mr. Phil Weaver, Mr Adam James; Mr. Bill Richards and Mr. Aadil Kara, the chair of the Galactic Challenge. The different teams included: Astrodyne Delta, Columbus Aviation; Hyperion Space Ventures and Solaris Space Systems. The teams’ presentation started off with a short speech from their respective CEOs: Barty, Alex, Azad and, Maria. They then had 5 minutes to present their plan and were given time warnings. All the teams were very confident and did a fantastic job in doing their presentation. As each group took turns in presenting, the judges noted down key points about each teams’ resort. After they had finished, everyone applauded and the judges asked a series of questions to see if they could answer them on the spot or questions that the presentation didn't cover. After a long but fun activity, it was judging time. Everybody was tensed and eager. A former finalist of the official Galactic Challenge calmed the tension by putting on a ‘Kahoot’ quiz which everybody enjoyed (even parents!) Finally the time had come; the judges had made their decision. They took turns explaining what they liked about the teams’ ideas and what we could have improved on. Silence enveloped the scenery. The judges had announced the winner: Hyperion Space Ventures! Everyone applauded and the winners cheered loudly. Medals were awarded and certificates as well. Finally, we concluded by taking a group photo. 

Year 13 student Azade Modaressi, who led her team to victory as the CEO of Hyperion Space Ventures, commented, 'I was very proud of how hard the entire team worked. The president and vice president were able to organise the entire group wonderfully, and the heads of departments delegated tasks to the rest of their group in a way that best used everyone’s abilities, while making sure that all the points on the Request for Proposal were met. The entire team was able to maintain their focus and organisation and complete a task that requires careful consideration. The young pupils had to consider everything from food and water management; to entertainment; to complex calculations of how much energy a resort on the moon would need and how best to provide this energy. It is difficult for even sixth formers, who have a good knowledge of the science required, to succeed in this competition, and I was impressed by the level of care that went into all the details of the design, as well as the creativity with which the team approached the task they had been given.' 


Claudia Shaffie and Kanishq Hari, Year 7

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