Will teams be broken up when competing?
No. You will enter the UKSDC as a team and you will compete as a team. Companies are formed by merging three or more individual teams together. However, teams that try to retain their cohesion after being placed inside a company typically put themselves (and their colleagues) at a disadvantage. The Competition is all about team work and, while a few anxieties are to be expected at the beginning, most people make fantastic new friends by the end of the weekend.
Can I request accommodation before the competition as well or help with travel expenses?
Unfortunately the Space Science and Engineering Foundation does not have the financial means to provide complimentary transport or additional accommodation, but we will do our best to provide accommodation for those with a long distance to travel to the final. We will also be happy to help teams in this situation organise their own transport and accommodation in any way we can.
Is car parking available at Imperial College London?
Yes. On the Saturday complimentary parking is available a few minutes’ walk from the main competition venue. Parking must be organised well in advance of the event – please provide us with accurate vehicle registration numbers and the name of the driver as soon as possible after you are accepted. Please check local parking information for on road parking over the competition weekend.There is free parking on Sunday outside the venue.
How are students and supervisors assigned hotel rooms?
Students will be expected to share with other students from the same and other schools in non-mixed accommodation (up to 4 per room). Supervising adults will be asked to share with one or two other adults of the same gender.
What can teachers and adult supervisors do during the competition?
Teachers are welcome to attend any of the briefing sessions they like but are discouraged from playing an active role in formulation of student designs. Feel free to advise the students when you see them going wrong, and to answer any scientific questions they may have, but remember that ultimately their design is their design. Independence is a valuable part of the competition experience. A supervisors’ room is made available, and there is complimentary tea and coffee throughout the day.
Why are only 12 members of the winning team allowed to go to Houston?
Putting aside the cost of flying 50 individuals to Houston, it’s important to realise that both the UK and International competitions rely heavily on pooling together lots of small, individual teams (from a variety backgrounds) into a single company. Given this particular ethos and the comparable sizes of the UK and International organisations, sending a full UK company to Houston is impossible. Asking students to choose their own representatives is an important part of the industry experience and is usually done with a great deal of maturity and a minimum of disagreement – even though some students will obviously be disappointed. Nine of the 12 students are selected by a blind vote, the additional three are selected based on the recommendations of the company’s CEOs and other volunteers to ensure the team is well balanced.
Can supervising adults see the final RFP in advance?
No. The RFP is delivered by a special courier and is not available until the day of the competition.
Does the International Competition use the same RFP as the UK Competition?
No. The international RFP will be of a similar scope and format to that used at the UK competition but will detail the requirements of an entirely different type of space settlement.
How much does it cost to compete in the international competition?
Flight, transport to and from the airport, food and accommodation (on days of the competition only) are provided by the competition organisers and their sponsors. The exact travel dates are negotiable, most teams arrive in Houston a couple of days before the competition begins to allow some time for sight-seeing, and leave immediately after its conclusion. Food and accommodation for any additional days is the responsibility of the participants, as is travel insurance and US travel (ESTA) authorisation.
A team of twelve is also sent to represent the EU. All expenses are paid by the participants except for hotel and food on Friday night to Tuesday morning, which is the duration of the international competition.