Our Programmes

UK Space Design Competition

On Saturdays in the late fall, the SDC runs regional challenges at universities throughout the UK for students in years 10-13. On a weekend in mid-March, approximately 225 regional competition winners advance to the UK National Finals held at Imperial College London. There, students form 5 companies of approximately 50 students each. The following summer, members of the winning company select 12 students to represent their company and to attend the International Competition (ISSDC) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Except that it starts on a Friday evening and the presentations are judged on a Monday, the ISSDC is similar to the UK Finals Video Competition held near the end of the year. As with all the challenges, this competition furnishes an RFP in response to which students make a 3-minute video entry. Video Challenges allow students unable to attend a regional competition a chance to gain entry to the UK National Finals.

The SSEF also sponsors the EU Space Design Challenges. Students are welcome to enter from anywhere in Europe, including the UK. The winning company of approximately 50 European students selects 12 students to travel with UK students to the International Space Settlement Design Competition (ISSDC) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Galactic Challenge

The Galactic Challenge (GC) is run in conjunction with schools at two levels, years 5-8 and 9-10, and is held on a day selected by schools and by GC representatives. Galactic Challenges range in size from 24 to 100 students and, like the regional challenges, students are assigned to student-led companies. While the SDCs are completely student-run, the GCs have more interaction with experts and are of a shorter duration. Still, as with the SDC, participants of a Galactic Challenge present to judges in front of the complete body of students. Differing from the Space Design Competitions, parents and friends of the GC are invited to the presentations and judging. For further information on  the Galactic Challenge, please visit its website.

With the help of the SSEF and UKSDC, additional ‘educational’ competitions are run at schools to promote science, engineering and space sciences.

Engineering Preparation Programme 2021

The EPP is an intense 5-day programme for 14-18-year-old students wanting an introduction to engineering. It is held twice a year in late January and again in mid-July at Imperial College London’s central campus near the Natural History Museum, Albert Hall, Hyde Park and the Science Museum.  During the last two days, students are challenged with what they have learned in the Space Settlement Design Competition, which is similar to the UK Space Design Competition,  Starting in the summer of 2020, EPP students will be able to participate in an online programme run by the Global Space Design Challenge. 




The aim of the competition is to provide students with the chance to take part in a design simulation that exposes them to the joys and challenges of working in a large industrial team.