Video Competition

The 2021-22 UKSDC Video Competition is closed and its winners are announced below. Thank you to everyone who entered and we hope that you will take part in the UKSDC again as the judges really appreciated the effort that went into this year’s entries!

How does it work?

If you can’t make it to one of our digital heats  this year, you can still enter the UKSDC through our video competition! Teams are invited to submit a 5 minute video detailing a design that meets the Request for Proposal (see below) set by the Foundation Society – a fictional organisation dedicated to human expansion and development throughout the Solar SystemTeams have until the December deadline to plan, record and edit their entry. This is an amazing group project, and we receive great feedback each year about how rewarding the experience can be for students! Any questions, get in touch with us by emailing or via our socials!

13th September 2021

Video Competition opens! The RFP will be released at 10:00 GMT and teams will have three months to complete their designs!

12th December 2021

The deadline for submissions! Submit your proposal to us via the provided form by 23:59 GMT!

10th January 2022

Results announced! Successful teams will be invited to join us at the national final in March!

The Results

The quality of entries to this year’s video competition was staggeringly high, with some teams achieving maximum marks in some categories – the first time this has ever happened! We would love to be able to invite more of you to the National Finals in March, however there are only places for four teams with year. Following scrutiny and discussion, which generated the comments included, we would like to invite the following teams, in alphabetical order, to compete in the 2021-22 National Finals:

Chipping Norton School

“We were impressed with the practicality of your design: from excellent wall design, moderation in facilities provisioning, and a clear breakdown of the cost of your proposal, you demonstrated that your design would effectively fulfil the RFP.”

King's College School Wimbledon

“Their understanding and communication of the orbital mechanics was excellent and clearly informed their logistical decisions. The vehicle design, with its clever use of solar-thermal power, was presented professionally, which demonstrates a methodical and considered engineering process.”

Space Entrepreneur Society

“The innovative concepts in this proposal may, one day, see flight. Creative ideas were backed up with detailed but sensibly simple safety procedures and logistical considerations.”

Magdalen College School

“The attention to technical detail in this presentation is exemplary: the specificity and appropriateness of material choice for each subsystem shows thorough consideration of every aspect of the mission.”

Request for Proposal (RFP)

Date of Issue: 13-09-2035


The Foundation Societyhas announced its support for a number of independent, commercial missions in the inner solar system. The five proposals that have been selected are each preparatory for future mining interests, which hope to reduce the cost of installing infrastructure in space. These missions are recognised, in some instances, as containing ‘flag-planting’ operations, which will give the operators the right to use inhabited territory with legal protection. The Foundation Society acknowledges claims by some commentators that its support for such missions undermines the abilities of smaller entities to compete with the operators chosen. However, a significant consultation procedure has reaffirmed the need for acceleration in the rate of space-based mineral exploration. Foundation Society sponsorship is subject to the chosen operators’ compliance with open tendering for work on their contracts. This will encourage solutions that will be innovative, safe and cost-effective.


Crucible Ltd. is a Sheffield based space-mineral utilisation company that has received a grant from the Foundation Society to send a crewed spacecraft to (6178) 1986 DA (henceforth DA). DA is a near-Earth asteroid thought to possess large amounts of abundant and precious metals. The mission must place human-filled boots on the surface of the asteroid to claim the land for Crucible Ltd. and the Foundation Society, and will form the vanguard for an upcoming mining and processing installation.

  1. Detail the mission profile necessary to place a viable crew size (more than two people) on the surface of DA for a period greater than one month.
  2. Show, in detail, the design of the craft that will transport the crew to DA. Crucible Ltd. have specified the use of a launch vehicle with a payload volume of an 18m long, 9m diameter cylinder. This payload must have a mass no more than 100,000 kg (including propellants on-board the vehicle) in order to be placed into low-Earth-orbit (LEO). Subsequent launches are permissible with the same vehicle, but complex in-space are known to be costly and risky. The proposal must specify and show:
    1. Propulsion systems to take the craft from LEO to DA.
    2. Power generation systems.
    3. Life support systems.
    4. Suitable environmental protections.
    5. Living quarters appropriate to the mission and its duration.
  3. Describe the procedure associated with performing an extravehicular excursion on the surface of DA and what mineral prospecting procedure techniques will be used to assess the best sites for resource extraction. Describe a mining scheme that can be adopted by Crucible Ltd. to safely and efficiently extract materials from DA. Brief descriptions of permanent facilities are sufficient, but scientific detail will be rewarded. Detail tests or experiments that could be performed by the crew to ensure the viability of your mining proposal.

The Rules of Entry

  1. Teams may consist of no more than 12 students, all between Years 10 and 13 (in England/Wales, or equivalent elsewhere in the United Kingdom).
  2. A photograph, or photographs, of all team members must be included at the end of the video submission. Please consider the privacy of everyone involved with any information you share in your video and consult your school’s policy if appropriate. If you choose to upload your video publicly, please take extra care over data you intentionally or may inadvertently share. We will not use any information about the team from your video to register you for the national finals; we will contact you for this purpose if your entry is among the winners selected by the judges. It is against the rules to swap or add team members between your submission and the national finals.
  3. Video submissions must be no longer in duration than five minutes. Any submissions longer than this limit will be handled at the judges discretion. Judges are aware that YouTube can slightly alter the duration of a video. Videos must be easily intelligible, with an audio track at no more than 1.25 times recorded speed.
  4. Judges will evaluate submissions on their effectiveness at meeting the above Request For Proposal (RFP). For each RFP requirement, submissions will be evaluated on their scientific accuracy, feasibility, communication, innovation, and creativity. Entrants are expected to make reasonable assumptions about aspects not covered by the RFP, but content not required by the RFP will not receive extra credit beyond contextual clarity.
  5. Teams should upload their video to YouTube (either publicly or as unlisted) and include the working link and a contact email address in the submission form below before the deadline at 23:59 GMT December 12th 2021. The judges will only accept submissions entered in this format. We will seek to contact you before the deadline if your link does not work, however we can only do so for submissions before 12:00 GMT December 12th 2021. For this reason please double check your contact email address is correct and is an account you check regularly. We will only contact you if there is a problem or a query, so please don’t worry if you don’t hear from us – it’s a good sign! If you have difficulties or problems with the submission or other questions regarding the video competition please email us at but please be aware that we may not be able to respond in time for the deadline for emails received after 12:00 GMT December 12th 2021

Advice to Teams

Judges are evaluating the quality of your ideas and your appreciation of the scientific, engineering, and human challenges that must be overcome. For this reason, the engineering merits of your design should always be at the forefront of your mind when planning your video. It is important to accurately and clearly communicate your design to the judges in order for them to appreciate the thought and work you put in. Additional ideas or information beyond the scope of the RFP will not be penalised, however judging will focus initially on how well the RFP has been met. Never underestimate the difficulty of producing a video, or condensing months’ worth of work into five minutes!

The judges are looking for content that helps them to understand your solution to the RFP. If you wish to make use of computer aided design (CAD), rendering, or animation, you could give a text-based or audio explanation alongside to give context to the imagery. Additionally, try to find a good balance between the amount of text and the amount of imagery in your video, as they both have their advantages!

We may struggle to judge your design accurately if we can’t see or hear anything clearly! Plan your workload to allow plenty of time to record and edit the video. Whilst video and image quality are more easily improved, audio recordings are much more difficult. We recommend Audacity as a powerful and free audio recording and editing tool that can help you to produce a more professional and cohesive sound. If screen-recording is necessary, OBS is a free and quick program that will enable you to show off your work to the best of your ability. These are, of course, by no means the only choices and you may already have access to better ones.

Finally, enjoy the challenge! UKSDC allows you to explore new areas of science, work together as a team and generate interesting ideas to tackle the advancement of space travel. We look forward to seeing what you all come up with!