The Space Science Engineering Foundation (SSEF) was set up to foster and extend students' interest in space and to use space as a vehicle for learning about subjects such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the STEM subjects of the National Curriculum, as well as psychology, management, design and business. It does this through the UK Space Design Competition (UKSDC) and the Galactic Challenge (GC) both industry simulations. It was designed to give students an insight into the real world of business and industry. It has long been a complaint that students leave school and college without the general attributes that would make them useful employees. The SSEF's programmes show students how important it is to be able to work in a team, solve problems, work to deadlines, keep within budgets and communicate effectively.
The students bear testament to the success of our programmes in achieving all these goals and it has been interesting to note that there are several other advantageous personal results. These include increased confidence, awareness of their own strengths, a breadth of understanding of other people, a feeling of capability and responsibility for the consequences of their actions. Above all, there is a sense of enjoyment and achievement. How does all this happen in the space of a few short hours?
The UK Space Design Competition (UKSDC) is organized and funded by the Space Science & Engineering Foundation (registered charity number 1170548) along with generous support from other sponsors.
The UKSDC is a science and engineering challenge designed as a simulation of life in industry. Students form a company that they run through their own management and engineering team. The Foundation Society based 70 years in the future request a design proposal (RFP) with specific parameters for a settlement in space or on a planetary body. The individual companies are made up of an elected president, vice president of marketing and heads of engineering in four area; Operations, Human, Structural and Automation. The companies product is a slide show presentation. Companies have a day to come up with a detailed design which they present to a panel of judges who include experts in the field and representatives of the UK Space Agency. Professional engineers and scientists assist the students, however the running of the company and the designs are the students own work.