01 December 2023

Sevenoaks takes second place in UK Space Design Competition regional heats

A Sevenoaks School team took second place in the regional round of the 2023 UK Space Design Competition 2023, with their design for a space settlement on the moon.

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The UK Space Design Competition, run by the Space Science Engineering Foundation challenges student teams to design a space settlement which fulfils the requirements in a Request For Proposal issued on the day. Twelve Students from Sevenoaks took part in the regional heat at Bede’s School in November.

This year we were asked to design a space settlement on the moon to fix mining robots called harvesters. Our design centred around a rotating disk which gave us gravity like that on earth. There were four teams of around 25 students from Year 10 to Year 13. Each team was comprised of students from two schools and we worked with Shoreham Academy. There are distinct roles for everyone, such as human and structural engineering, marketing and operations. I was elected President of our team.

The day started at 8am and it took eight hours of work to create our proposal for the panel of judges from the UK Space Agency, Imperial College and engineering companies, which we subsequently presented. It was a long and stressful day, but worth it. Having joined Sevenoaks in the Sixth Form, I was only able to compete in this competition twice but I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in keeping humans alive in space. You don’t have to be STEM-focused to do it – diverse skills are essential. This year, we had artists designing spacesuits! The only real requirement for the UKSDC is the ability to think outside the box, to be able to propose feasible but seemingly outrageous solutions to equally out-of-this-world problems.

It was quite an experience managing such a large team on the spot. I had a rocky first hour but gained incredibly useful experience of bringing multiple strands of the same team together to create a deliverable with limited resources in a fixed timeframe.

Whatever our roles, we all came back having made new friends, enjoyed new, invaluable experiences and had an amazing time – and our team came in a formidable second place.

Aaron Francis, Upper Sixth

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