This year the students were asked to present detailed designs for a mobile space settlement housing 10,000 people, designed to travel powered by solar sails 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.
The winning design, called Balaluceras was proposed by ‘Vulture Aviation’, and was comprised of 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 Stortford’s College, and Riddlesdown Collegiate School. They had earned their places either by winning at a Regional Heat or producing a top video entry. On the far left is Nicholas Fletcher, director Fletcher Services Ltd and on the far right Louis Lyle an alumi of the competition currently attending York University.
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.
Trisha Saxena, 18, Vulture Aviation’s president, said “Whenever people talk about the UK Space Design competition it seems to be about the sleepless nights and stressful deadlines that look impossible to meet, but winning the competition this year makes it all worth the effort. As president of Vulture Aviation I know what a struggle it was to complete our design on time and it’s truly thanks to every single member on the team that we won. It’s a privilege to be able to represent the UK at the International Final and I genuinely hope we can win this year!” A student at Nonsuch High School for Girls, Trisha earned her place at the UK Final by winning the Central England heat at the University of Oxford.
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 this summer, competing against teams from all over the world.
The 2016 competition is already in the works, and anyone interested in getting involved should contact [email protected].