SSEF’s Stellar Journey to the International Space Settlement Design…

Report from SSEF’s staffer, Sam Hession who accompanied the SSEF teams to the ISSDC 2023


Hey there, space enthusiasts!


We at the SSEF (Space Science Education Foundation) are over the moon (pun intended) to share our incredible adventure at the International Space Settlement Design Competition (ISSDC) held in July 2023. Buckle up as we take you on an intergalactic ride to the prestigious Kennedy Space Center in Florida!


**Launchpad Anticipation**


In Florida but before the competition officially kicked off, our teams from the UK, EU, and Africa had a blast exploring the surrounding area and bonding. What made it even more extraordinary? Witnessing not one but two rocket launches!


The highlight was the spectacular Falcon Heavy Rocket by SpaceX on July 28th, lifting off at 11.04 PM. We gathered at William J. Manzo Memorial Park, arriving early to listen to the countdown live from Mission Control. As the rocket roared to life, our hearts soared with it. We even caught the low-frequency sonic booms and watched two boosters gracefully land back on Earth. Talk about a stellar start!


**ISSDC Lift-off**


 With the rocket show setting the stage, our students were pumped for the ISSDC. Anita Gale, one of the founding members, welcomed us with stories of the event’s illustrious history and her late husband, the legendary Dick Edwards. We dived into department breakdowns within our companies, getting ready for the lunar settlement challenge.

At lunch, the Request for Proposal (RfP) was released. With hearts pounding and minds racing, our students embarked on the thrilling mission of designing a lunar settlement. Nearly 200 students, split across three companies, worked tirelessly, some joining us online. They had from Saturday lunchtime until Monday morning to craft their designs and prepare presentations for the esteemed Judging Panel.


**A Cosmic Marathon**


The next two days were a whirlwind of activity, with students shuttling between Kennedy Space Center and our hotel. They tackled the challenge head-on, fully embracing the spirit of competition. Our teams—UKSDC, EUSDC, and AFSDC—were not just competing; they were pushing the boundaries of innovation and creativity. Sunday night saw most of them burning the midnight oil, adding the finishing touches to their designs and presentations.


 **Lunar Sunrise**


 Come Monday morning at Kennedy Space Center, you could see a few bleary-eyed faces, but spirits remained high. Students, dressed in their finest, arrived armed with their final presentations, ready to impress the Judging Panel.


The presentations were out of this world! Each student company had collaborated seamlessly to produce innovative and exceptional lunar settlement designs, worthy of any space industry contract. It was a nail-biting finish, but only one company could secure the coveted contract, and it was Dougledyne Fletchel company which included the members of our EU team, so there was much to celebrate.


 **A Cosmic Congratulations**


 To all the students who participated in the ISSDC from the UK, Africa, and Europe, we tip our astronaut helmets to you! Your diverse skills, experiences, and perspectives shone brightly throughout the event. The journey to the ISSDC is paved with dedication, teamwork, and an unbridled passion for exploring the cosmos. We, at the SSEF, are incredibly proud to have met and gotten to know this extraordinary group of young space enthusiasts.


Stay tuned for more cosmic adventures, and remember, the sky is not the limit; it’s just the beginning! 


Team Announcement

We are pleased to announce that the following students will represent the UK at the International Space Settlement Design Competition to be held at the Kennedy Space Center in the summer – congratulations to the following students…..(N.B. all are listed in alphabetical order!)

From Olympus Mons Trading Company (Winning Company)

Sai Batchu

Max Dawkins

Maia Guo

Libby Paine

Ieuan Underdown

William Wang

From DaVinci Meccanica

Ximena Harrington

Magnus Murphy

From Earhart Advanced Industries

Soumil Sahjpall

Daisy Taylor

From Kepler Automation

Leo Carey Read

Twisha Khandelwal

First Reserve: Nell McLachlan

Second Reserve:  Alexander Sinani

Third Reserve: Lye Williams


UKSDC Final 2023

UKSDC Finals 2023 Blog post 

The UKSDC Finals took place this weekend at the iconic Imperial College London. 248 15-18 year olds from more than 25 schools around the UK qualified last Autumn at one of the Regional heats for this exciting and challenging competition. Twelve students will be selected to represent the UK at the International Finals which are held annually at NASA, Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

A huge thank you to all of our amazing volunteers who gave up their weekend to bring their skills, experience and knowledge to the event. Our volunteers worked as CEOs, Technical Advisors and Judges to make sure that the weekend ran smoothly, and we couldn’t have done it without them.

Each company, made up of up to sixty students, was given twenty four hours to design ‘Dias’, an orbital settlement around the sun. The companies had to use their technical knowledge and work collaboratively to produce their final presentation by 8.oo am on Sunday morning. We can confirm that there were a few sleep deprived and bleary eyed students (and volunteers) on Sunday morning !

The Judges had a very difficult decision to make about who the winning company would be and one of the Judges was overheard saying “this was one of the closest competitions yet”. Despite this, we would like to congratulate the students from Olympus Mons Trading Company on winning the competition, and all the other teams for producing such innovative and creative designs. 

Well done everyone, and watch this space for announcements about the team going to the International Finals in July…..


UK Space Week 2022

Space Week 2022
Embrace waste use it in space

Our friends over at the Galactic Challenge have teamed up with the very inspiring and creative team from Baker Ross to celebrate Space Week 2022.

This year World Space week is celebrating sustainability in space and sustainability from space  and the competition is all about reusing and recycling your waste from home and using it to design a space related item. If you are in school Years 3 – 9 and would like to enter our competition and be in with a chance of winning some Baker Ross craft goodies then this challenge is for you!

More information about the competition can be found on the Galactic Challenge website along with all the rules and judging criteria. Entry deadline is 28th October 2022, so embrace your waste and getting cutting, sticking and creating. We cannot wait to see all of your creative space designs!


UK Team for the ISSDC

It was a really tough job to select who should go through to the ISSDC  – so many of you have worked incredibly hard and put your heart and soul into the competition. We talked to the CEO’s, re-ran the presentations, and trawled through the Teams dialogue. We were lucky to have so many amazing candidates to choose from – a big thank you from all of us at UKSDC for your dedication and hard work. 

Finally we have come to our decision, and we list the 12 candidates in alphabetical order. We have also listed 6 reserves

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uksdc finals Education

UKSDC Finals

Thank you to all the students, teachers and volunteers who helped make the UKSDC Finals such a fun event – especial gratitude goes to Theo and the RfP Committee for such an innovative scenario to work with; it is safe to say that they pushed your creativity to new boundaries, ‘where no man (or woman) has gone before!’ Read more “UKSDC Finals”