National Finals - UK Space Design Competition
A group of seven students from Years 10-12 reached the NATIONAL FINALS of the UK Space Design Competition and visited Imperial College London in March with Dr K Hill and Mrs K Simpson. Getting to the National Finals was a great achievement, even more so because most teams were comprised solely of Sixth Formers. Our students gained huge confidence and came a 'very close' second (although Dr Hill is a bit biased and thought their design was better than the winners as the occupants were more likely to survive!!) Below is a report by the students who participated. Well done to all our students who took part.
After a hectic start on Friday, we travelled down to London, filled with determination. The chaos really started when we tried to negotiate the tube, but after successfully navigating the system, we arrived at our hotel, our HQ for the weekend. In the lobby we came across another school, Bede’s, who happened to be in our company; Vulture Aviation. Immediately the brain storming started and the beginnings of new friendships were made. We then went to the Science Museum (because we are nerds). It was a 40 minute walk (not 20 minutes like we’d been told! – lies, secrets and lies) which was filled with peril, as piggybacks had not been risk-assessed (cough cough Hannah). We then returned to HQ and caught up with friends we’d made at regionals.
On Saturday, at 06:00, 7 tired teens were dragged out of bed, unaware of what was to transpire. After arriving at Imperial College (15 minutes late) we made friends in the foyer, eventually forming a circle 50 people wide. After some lectures and talks, the Request for Proposal (RFP is God) was given and off we went to design a moving space settlement of mercury. Communication was vital and quickly we all became comfortable with each other and though the task was serious, a lot of banter occurred. Our knowledge expanded at a terrific rate, learning about algae walls, atmospheric pressure and the price of toilet paper for 11,000 people. In such a short space of time, we became knowledgeable in things we never thought we would know, proving to others, but mostly to ourselves, how capable we were under pressure, especially as we were the school with the youngest mean age. When the Imperial College rooms closed at 22:00, the day was far from over. Stocked up with Red Bull and coffee, we worked back at HQ, finally going to bed at around 02:30 on Sunday morning.
The next morning, we felt the effects of the night before. At 06:00 the alarm went off, but was promptly ignored. After the realisation we had to leave in 20 minutes, we scrambled to get ready. After some more tube mishaps, we eventually arrived at Imperial College (yet again 15 minutes late- whoops). The presentations went underway, with most people catching 40 winks (Liv and Bethan) and after questions from the judges, they went to deliberate who would win. We came 2nd, out of 5 teams, with a 5-4 split with the judges. We still learnt so much though, gaining new friends, knowledge and experiences. We now have several more friends on snapchat.
The way home was filled with danger, as tired students and tubes don’t mix. A big thank you to Dr Hill for risking her life and saving Rebecca from being left on the platform, standing in the way of the closing tube doors.
The UK Space design Competition was an amazing experience and we thank Dr Hill and Mrs Simpson for making this possible, shepherding 7 caffeine fuelled and exhausted students around London is no mean feat. We hope that many more people can take part and experience the fun we had.