UKSDC – Astoria Mining Colony 2077


The UK Space Design Competition (UKSDC) is an engineering industry simulation, attracting hundreds of secondary school students every year.

Open to students in Years 10 to 13, the UKSDC aims to enable students to experience the vast potential and valuable opportunities available through future study, or even a career, in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).

They are a small charity that runs regional events for secondary students; the competition is an engineering industry simulation, and the students design a futuristic space settlement.

They provide engineering industry simulation challenges to 11-18 year olds, aiming to give them crucial experience for life at university and beyond.

Through Regional competitions, an online Video competition and the National Finals which take place annually at Imperial College, London, they equip young students with essential scientific knowledge and skills and encourage them to participate in the STEM industry in the future.

Design briefs for the competition day are written by senior NASA engineers and researchers and require students to design a fully-functional space mining colony settlement in space, set a few decades in the future.

They must consider very carefully the structural, operational, aesthetical and automation aspects of the design as well as pitching a design brief to judges which are comprised of leading industry professionals.



The regional competition took place at the Harrison Hughes Building. Liverpool John Moores University on 23rd November 2019.



The main contact for the day was Shayne Beegadhur, a student at Loughborough University, who organised the competition with his colleague and Jenny Lyons from SDC.

Jenny Lyons, Director of Education and Outreach & Chair of the SDC Board



A passionate believer in the benefits that practical science brings to school-based learning. Jenny has taught in both the private and public sectors and additionally worked with a variety of agencies to promote and fund the setting up of Science Clubs.

This year the 3 judges included myself, Ray Stott, from SpaceSpecialists Ltd, Bob Morris from the Northern Space Consortium (NSC) and Mark Waters from 4wardfutures.



Each year over 700 students from around the country compete for the ultimate prize - a trip to NASA's Kennedy Space Centre for the International Space Settlement Competition.



The UK Regional heats for AUTUMN 2019 were held and Liverpool is one of the Regional heats.

2nd November, 2019 University of Edinburgh

9th November, 2019 University of Oxford

16th November, 2019 University of Cardiff

16th November, 2019 University of Cambridge

23rd November, 2019 University of Liverpool

23rd November, 2019 South East England
Venue: Bede’s Senior School, Upper Dicker, East Sussex, BN27 3QH

30th November, 2019 University of Derby

30th November, 2019 University of York

7th December 2019 Central London Heat
Venue: Imperial College London, Department of Earth Science & Engineering, Exhibition Road London, SW7 2AZ


The Request For Proposal (RFP) - Astoria Space Settlement Contract (dated 1st January 2077) - 10 pages long!


The first job of each company is to choose a student president and to appoint members and directors of each of the five departments, required to satisfy the Request for Proposal (RFP) These departments are:

  • Structural Engineering
  • Operations Engineering
  • Human Engineering
  • Robotics & Automation Engineering
  • Business & Marketing

The SDC is a student-led project, and whilst the CEO will facilitate the students in their quest to solve problems, they will not provide answers. Structuring the company, appointing its leaders, and answering the RFP is the responsibility of the students.

Each department attends a dedicated briefing session where they will learn more about their special function, and a representative of the Foundation Society will give the RFP to the company president. This document lists all of the requirements that the design must satisfy.

This year the 2 competing teams, each made up of approximately 20 students, in the Liverpool regional finals had to work on an exciting asteroid mining space colony set 50 years in the future (2077 to be exact!)


  • Grumbo Aerospace
  • Vereinigten Flugfahrten


The Winning Team - Vereinigten Flugfahrten!



Well done - all smiles after the hard day's work and onto the Nationals!

Good luck everyone!

Blog written by Ray Stott, SpaceSpecialists Ltd.

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