13 International Space Settlement Competition


Congratuations to our 12 Olavian students who were selected to form part of what subsequently became first UK team to win the International Space Settleement Design Competition ISSDC in over 5 years.

The International Space Settlement Design Competition is the highest level of space design competition in the world, and qualifying is an impressive feat in itself. After winning the London Regionals and the National Finals at Imperial College, twelve students from St Olave's were invited to represent the UK at the ISSDC. Usually held over three days at Kennedy Space Centre, Florida, students from St Olave's and Eltham College formed the UK contingent for this year's four-day virtual competition. 

The other countries on our team included students from Caringbah High School (Sydney, Australia), Amity International School (Noida, India), and Raisbeck Aviation High School (Washington, USA). In total, there were 52 students on our team, Rockdonnell, and our task for the weekend was to design the Argonom Settlement in the foothills of Ascraeus Mons, Mars. Argonom is meant to be the first large surface settlement on Mars, built in 2070 to handle large volumes of Cargo and infrastructure development in the early stages of the Martian economy. 

Company elections occurred on Thursday 23rd July, one day before the competition started. Freddie Skerrett was elected Vice-President of Engineering, Mitra Stainsbury Vice-President of Business and Marketing, Nadiya Ivahnenko Head of Automation Design Department, and Amro Fadel Head of Human Factors Department. The competition began on Friday 24th where students had briefings from Anita Gale, Co-founder of the ISSDC and former Payload Integration Specialist on the Space Shuttle Programme, and Geoff Notkin, President of the National Space Society. Following this, the competition began with the team working incredibly long days with minimal sleep. Some students received only 7 hours sleep from Friday morning to Monday evening in a true test of endurance.

The UK team worked hard to overcome technological and cultural barriers with a degree of professionalism and composure beyond their years and received praise from our company supervisors, who included an Engineer at Boeing and Old Olavian Shayne Beegadhur. When Monday came around, a number of Olaves' students helped to present their design to a number of industry experts through Zoom and after hours of deliberation, and we are thrilled to report that they came away victorious. Particular congratulations need to be given to Mitra Stainsbury, who was awarded the prestigious Dick Edwards Award for Outstanding Leadership. 

St. Olave's international team roles were fulfilled as follows:

  • Freddie Skerrett (Vice-President of Engineering)
  • Mitra Stainsbury (Vice-President of Business)
  • Nadiya Ivahnenko (Head of Automation Design Department)
  • Amro Fadel (Head of Human Factors Department)
  • James Hayes (Cargo Integration Lead)
  • Jonah McDonald (Atmospheric Regulation Lead)
  • Angelika Kochajkiewicz (Hull Composition Lead)
  • Caitlin Gallagher (Construction Processes Lead)
  • Lucy Stock (Network Security Lead)
  • Eleanor Yuen (Network and Communication Lead)
  • Sophie Bata-Madden (Habitation Design Lead)
  • Katherine Stanton (Medical Processes Lead)

Congratulations also go to the other St. Olave's team members who contributed to victories at Regionals and Nationals :

Chrisa Prachalia; Gregoire Dastros-Pitei; Karo Agbro; Sophie Lu; Tavishi Prasad

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