Countdown to international space mission for Perse pupil

Sai Batchu (Year 10) is set for an out-of-this-world experience after being chosen to represent the UK in the International Space Settlement Design Competition (ISSDC).

Being held at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, the event will see teams of budding young scientists and engineers from around the world converge in July to design a futuristic space colony for humans.

Sai is one of 12 students selected for the British team, having excelled at last month’s UK Space Design Competition (UKSDC) finals at Imperial College London.

Along with fellow Perse students Ashvik Goel, Hercules Voultsos (both Year 10) and Edward de Ferrars Green (Upper Sixth), he was part of the winning Olympus Mons Trading Company team at UKSDC.

Sai also collected a Randall Perry award for leadership in ensuring joined-up thinking between different ‘departments’ in the company as they were set the challenge of designing a settlement capable of housing 2,500 people, aligned to a group of fictional existing space colonies, in the year 2095.

He said: “I was in shock when I heard I’d been selected for the UK team. I was really excited because I wanted to be an astronaut when I was younger, so it’s a dream come true as it’s being held at the place where the Apollo missions were launched from.”

The task for ISSDC participants will be to create initial settlements in Earth’s orbit and on the Moon, and establish manufacturing capabilities on them, before making a pitch for their design to the judging panel.

Sai and his UK team-mates will find themselves joining forces with representatives from other countries to form a bigger ‘company’ to tackle the challenge.

Each ‘company’ will be split into departments managing different elements of the process from structural and operations to business and human resources.

Sai said: “It will also be a really good experience to work with others from different backgrounds who are really interested in the fields of space and engineering.

“It’s a three-day competition, so there will be a little more time than the UK competition, but there will also be much more expectation and we’ll need to go even more in-depth, so it will just as time-pressured and every hour will be really valuable.

“There will also be a chance to tour the Kennedy Space Center, which is going to be really interesting and exciting and look around Florida, so I’m really looking forward to it.”


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