Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question that is not answered below, please contact [email protected] and [email protected] for assistance.

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 teamwork and, while a few anxieties are to be expected at the beginning, most people make fantastic new friends by the end of the weekend.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

No. The RFP is delivered by a special courier and is not available until the day of the 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. There is a difference in style in the RFPs used at each competition, with UKSDC materials being tailored to the strengths of our competitors.

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.

Students that are below Year 10 are encouraged to look at the Galactic Challenge.

Students beyond Year 13 are not eligible to take part in the UK Space Design Competition. However, if demand for a university level competition is high enough, we may consider running an additional event for older students in the future. You may also come along as a volunteer.

Yes. For the UK stage of the competition, students can add a contact email address to their team’s application form to which all essential competition materials will be forwarded. For students progressing on to the international phase of the event, this additional contact information will be compulsory.

The Space Science & Engineering Foundation will cover the costs of Saturday night accommodation at the UK Final. The Space Science & Engineering Foundation with kind support from Imperial College London, the UK Space Agency and Dangoor Education will provide catering on both days of the UK Final. The Space Science & Engineering Foundation work with host institutions to try to ensure catering at Regional Heats and Micro-Competitions is also provided. For students progressing on to the international phase of the competition, the Foundation and its partners will also cover the cost of international flights and ground transportation in America. The International Space Settlement Design Competition will provide complimentary accommodation and food on international competition days. Any additional expenses (such accommodation and food for sightseeing days in America, travel insurance and ESTA costs) will be the responsibility of the team in question but should not be substantial. The UK organising committee will offer as much practical assistance as possible.