What is the competition framework?

Some countries host National Heats prior to a National Final (e.g. UKSDC). If you are a student in a European country, you may enter the corresponding Heat or directly to the Finals. If you do not succeed in a National Heat, you may enter the video competition. There is no limit on the number of video entries you may enter as a school or organistation.

A mix of students who competed at country heats and in the video competition will be invited to take part in the 2019 International Finals at Florida, USA during August 2019 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.

Will teams be broken up when competing?

No. You will enter the EUSDC as a team and you will compete as a team. Your team will never be split up. However at certain country heats and at the europe finals, your team may join with other teams to become a ‘company’. 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.

My child does not satisfy the age requirements. Can they still apply?

Students beyond the equivalent of Year 13 in the UK are not elgible for the European Space Design Competition. EUSDC is a competition for high school students. If you are older than 18 in the last year of high school, we may make an exception on a case by case basis if you contact us beforehand however you would not be able to progress on to the International Finals. If demand for a university level competition is high enough, we may consider running an additional event for older students in the future. Alumni of the competition can always continue to support the competition as an volunteer.

Can I be kept informed about my child’s progress in the competition?

Yes. For the European Final’s 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.

Are parents and carers allowed to attend the competition?

We welcome parents and carers to the judging phase of the competition but will not be able to provide any degree of financial or practical support to these extra visitors. The design phase of the competition represents a unique opportunity for students to gain independence in a realistic working environment and, for this reason, we discourage (but do not prohibit) parents and carers from attending on this day. Please let us know if you plan to attend on either day so that appropriate identity cards can be provided.

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 EU 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 EU 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 Europe Competition?

No. The international RFP will be of a similar scope and format to that used at the Europe competition but will detail the requirements of an entirely different type of space settlement. The RFP will likely be longer and more complex to compliment the increased length of the competition.

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.