UK Space Design Competition

What is the UKSDC?

The UK Space Design Competition is a multidisciplinary space-themed competition designed to be a simulation of life in industry! It is supported by the Space Science Engineering & Environmental Foundation (SSE²F).  Students from multiple schools are combined to form an engineering company and take on the task of designing a crewed space settlement within our solar system.

Set between 40 and 80 years in the future, students are able to lose themselves in the elaborate and expansive SDC universe and they form one of our fictional engineering companies. The universe is complete with over 20 fictional settlements and 50 subcontractors that provide an array of goods and services that can help competitors in their quest to try and tackle the Request for Proposal. 

Open to UK students in Years 10 to 13, the UKSDC gives students a taste of the vast potential offered by future study of STEAM subjects, through this fun an engaging simulation of a career in the industry!

Roles to suit everyone!

Being an industry simulation event, the UKSDC packs in roles for students of all academic interests, with the only prerequisite being a passion for space! Whether you are a a budding architect or engineer who wants to design space habitation in the Structures Department, or a young entrepreneur who wants to put their creative business vision to the test within the Business and Marketing Department, there is a role for everybody at the UKSDC. 

Medical and psychology students will find themselves at home within the Human Factors Department, looking after residents mental and physical wellbeing, while chemists and physicists will love the Operations Department which takes a deep dive into the essential processes required to keep the settlement operational.

Last but by no means least, even the best designs in the world will not sell themselves! Each company needs a team of artists and writers to turn the technical work within the company into a flowing, persuasive, and visually appealing final presentation to wow judging panel.

How do I take part?

With so many roles for students in the UKSDC, you have almost certainly found something that appeals to you, and now you want to take part. 

There are two ways to enter the UKSDC each year – through our regional/digital heats. Both are held in the Autumn term, with successful teams invited to join us in March for the national final! We invite teams of between 4 and 12 participants in years 10 to 13 (or equivalent) to enter, with most teams coming as school groups or science clubs.

If you have a team size that is less than 4 or greater than 12, please do get in touch. Special arrangements can be made to group smaller teams together or split larger teams up before the competition. We want to engage as many young people with the space industry as possible and will do our best to make sure nobody misses out!

Win a trip to NASA

The UKSDC is part of a global family of SDC partners running events across North America, Asia, Australia, Africa, and Europe! These competitions culminate in the International Space Settlement Design Competition in July and a select team of 12 students from the winning UKSDC company are invited to compete.

Those who qualify for the ISSDC are sponsored to travel to the Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral in Florida for the competition. This trip normally involves a couple of days of spectacular space sightseeing in a location that has been the home of human spaceflight for over 50 years!

The UKSDC Team

The UKSDC Team

The UKSDC Team is led by a board passionate about providing access to STEM activities to young people around the UK! With representatives from industry, academia and education, the UKSDC Board embraces a wide array of perspectives to deliver innovative, inclusive events!

Our Volunteers

With so many students now taking part in the UKSDC, the number of people required to help run and organise events is only increasing with each passing year. Fortunately we have an army of volunteers, primarily comprising students that have previously taken part in the competition, but just couldn’t get enough of it! They help out in all sorts of ways, be it writing the Requests for Proposal, helping out with the website, or turning up to act as company CEOs and Technical Advisers during the competition and we could not run this competition without their hard work and generosity!

Space Design Around the World

Us space nuts in the UKSDC are not alone. In fact every inhabited continent now has an SDC competition which can allow them to qualify for the International Space Settlement Design Competition in July of each year. At this competition, the selected 12 students from the UKSDC get to compete with and against some of the best STEM students from across the globe in a 3 day long competition to find out who will ultimately be crowned champion for that year. The UK team was part of the winning company in both 2016 and 202o, and the render of the winning 2020 settlement can be seen as the background to the Competition Overview above!

Promoting STEAM since 2009

The UKSDC, EUSDC, MESDC, and AfricaSDC , Environmental Design Challenges, Galactic Challenges, and Eco meets along with Pro Ed et al. and the Global Space Design Challenge attracts thousands of students each year. It was founded by Dr Randall Perry back in 2008! The competition has been growing consistently and now attracts students to Imperial College London.  We are always looking for new schools and student societies who wish to join the UKSDC family! We are always striving to increase our STEAM outreach to try and inspire as many young students as possible into the educational discipline that will design our society’s future!

Our Amazing Supporters

The SSE²F and the UKSDC are proud to be supported by organisations from across industry, academia and the charity sector!

UKSDC: GDPR Compliance This privacy notice sets out the standards that you can expect from the UKSDC when handling your personal information.