Bede’s hosts its fourth ‘Galactic Challenge’


Bede’s School hosted its annual ‘Galactic Challenge’ for pupils from years 6, 7 and 8 on Saturday 19 January. 

The event saw over 100 eager engineers from Bede's Prep, Brambletye, Chailey School, Great Walstead, Holmewood House, Marlborough House, Rose Hill, Skippers Hill, Trinity School, Croydon and The Schools at Somerhill attend.


After a hearty breakfast and welcome from Bede’s Deputy Head John Tuson and the event organiser Bill Richards, the task was revealed; this year it was to design a space settlement for 2500 permanent residents and 6300 transient passengers that was to travel in a continuous cyclic orbit between Earth and Mars.  Mr Richards briefed the pupils that from now on the year was 2060 and that the only limit to the day’s proceedings were time, available personnel and their imagination.


After putting on a Galactic Challenge T-shirt the students were organised into five teams, Solaris Flight Systems, Columbus Aviation, Astrodyne Delta, Infinity Aerospace and Hyperion Space Ventures and headed off to separate classrooms to start work.  Bede’s Space Design students, who will be competing in the national finals of the Space Design Challenge in March took mentoring and technical advisor positions, and led the teams.


Bill Richards explained ‘Each group had members of the Bede’s Space Design team working with them to guide them through the brief, but to avoid directly answering questions, since the objective is for the young students to arrive at their own solutions.  The first task that the group had to do was to allocate a President and then Heads of Department to lead key areas of the design including Human Engineering, Structural Engineering and Management.  After a well-deserved lunch, the pupils had to put together a PowerPoint presentation to show their design proposal’.


With the number of competing students and parents exceeding the capacity of previous years, the teams assembled in the Multipurpose Hall to give their presentations in front of the other teams, their parents and a judging panel from the UK Space Design Challenge, including Tony Mears from the UK Space Agency. The teams each had ten minutes to present their designs, followed by an intense couple of minutes of questioning from the judges.

Mr Richards explained ‘the teams presented exceptionally detailed proposals and the judging panel was impressed with the designs that the groups had managed to put together in such a short period of time. They remarked on the enthusiasm, imagination and detail of the designs’.

After deliberations, the judges announced to the teams that Columbus Aviation (pictured top), comprised of students from Marlborough House, Rose Hill, Skippers Hill and The Schools at Somerhill had been successful with their design and they received medals from Mr Mears and Mr Peter Goodyer, Bede’s Headmaster. The parents, teachers and students of the schools involved left the event buzzing, having spent an intense day and looking forward to next year’s Challenge.

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Learn more about Space Science Club at Bede's Senior School >