Bede’s Pupils in UK Space Design Competition Final

By School House

2 years ago

On 12th November, Bede’s hosted a Regional round of the UK Space Design Competition. Pupils arrived at the Senior School in Upper Dicker at 8am from Sevenoaks, Riddlesdown Collegiate, Shoreham Academy and Hove Park to assemble for breakfast and a series of welcome and technical briefings.

Pupils were grouped into larger teams and then given an impossible brief, known as the Request for Proposal (RFP), which is set in the future. The pupils were given the task of producing a presentation displaying their ideas and teachers were not permitted to help!

Bede’s pupils make it to the UK Space Design Competition Final following success at Regionals
Bede’s pupils make it to the UK Space Design Competition Final following success at Regionals

Bede’s partnered with the pupils from Shoreham Academy and three pupils from Hove Park to form their team: Earhart Advanced Industries (EAI). Pupils from Riddlesdown and Sevenoaks made up the team of Da Vinci Mechanica. Shoreham and Hove Park were new to the UKSDC and so it was probably natural that Bede’s students were appointed to many of the leadership positions within the team, with Upper Sixth pupil Oliver Hayes-Bradley as president. Oliver is a veteran of the competition, having been involved since he was in the Upper Fifth. Having both new and experienced students involved in the competition is an important reason for the continued success and involvement in the UKSDC, since that helps train the next generation of students coming through.

The teams were asked to design a space settlement in orbit around the planet Mercury in 2058 and, like all UKSDC RFPs, it was extremely demanding and completely impossible to meet every point within the time the teams have. The teams were required to design a structure for up to 800 permanent staff and 200 transient visitors, specifying in detail how they were to keep the residents safe from the intense solar radiation and operate as a solar observatory and cargo trans-shipping hub for mining operations on the planet.

The required presentation from each of the teams is essentially a sales pitch to the fictional Foundation Society for the business of building the settlement. One of the main points the judges liked about the EAI proposal was that they explored potential commercial activities for the settlement more thoroughly than most teams usually consider. Given that the cost for most settlements is usually in the order of several hundreds of billions of dollars, this was a significant plus point for EAI.

Whether it was that or the thorough answers that the team were able to provide the judges in the Q&A, EAI were announced as winners and Bede’s, Shoreham Academy and Hove Park progress to the UK final at Imperial College, London in March.

This is what two Bede’s students who competed in the UKSDC for the first time said about their experience in the competition:

‘When I first signed up for this competition, I had absolutely no idea what to expect, however, after competing in the UKSDC, I honestly couldn’t recommend it more. A common misconception is that in order to succeed you have to be unbelievable at Maths or Physics, but this competition is so much more than that. It is a chance for you to develop amazing skills such as leadership, time management and public speaking, which will benefit you for the rest of your life. As well as giving you the opportunity to have a great time with some amazing people. So if you weren’t able to participate this year, I honestly recommend you give it a go next year, as it honestly is so much fun!’

‘I absolutely loved the UKSDC day, it was filled with fun, teamwork and of course lots of hard work! It was more creative than I expected and more relaxed, it was a very fun day.’

Next year’s Regional round will be held at Bede’s on Saturday 18th November 2023.

See Bede’s online listing here.