We had a chat with Brenda Toh from SSTA, who is in charge of Singapore Space Challenge 2020.
Why this theme? What is its significance?
The theme for SSC 2020 is a current trending topic in the industry: Space Debris.
Space debris widely refers to all non-functional, human-made objects, including fragments and elements, in Earth orbit or re-entering into Earth’s atmosphere. According to NASA, more than 500,000 pieces of debris, or “space junk,” are tracked as they orbit the Earth. They travel at fast speeds of up to 17,500 mph, enough for a tiny piece of orbital debris such as small paint fleck to damage a satellite or a spacecraft.
This poses threats to the thousands of satellites are in orbit around Earth, providing vital services to Earth’s billions of inhabitants. As the amount of space debris increases, so does the risk of in-space collisions, explosions, and ultimately resulting in the creation of more debris. Debris can also fall back down on Earth. Fortunately, most debris have landed in the oceans, but sometimes, it does not. When it does not, it may become a big hazard for humans on earth.
In 2018, the United Nations Assembly expressed its deep concern about the fragility of space environment and impact of space debris, It is a global issue for concern.
What is going to happen during the competition and how to prepare for it?
SSC is an annual technical design global competition designed for youths aged 15 – 25 years old.
We welcome participants from all disciplines and they do not require a technical background to join the competition. To help youths prepare for the competition, initial references for context reading will be provided.
As part of our efforts to foster knowledge building, the competition strongly encourages learning outside of the classroom. Participants will get to attend industry visits, where they will visit related site facilities and hear from subject experts. During the course of developing their proposals, participants will meet with technical experts, who will spend dedicated time with each team to curate their ideas, broaden their understanding of the space eco-system and help build their core competencies for a successful mission design.
Participants need to form a group of four to a team. The teams will need to submit a mission report (not exceeding 50 pages), a video presentation recording and a computer simulation. A mock-up can be created to better illustrate their submission, but this is optional.
What makes a good project?
A good project is one that is both innovative and technically sound. The goal of SSC is to challenge participants to come up with out-of-the-box, creative ideas that can be executed in the real-world. Hence, these ideas should be supported by technical concepts and theories, and also be commercial.
How does scoring work? What are the components?
Each submission is judged based on 5 components:
- Technical Characteristic (30%)
- Creativity (30%)
- Concept Relevance (20%)
- Clarity of presentation recording (10%)
- Formatting of the mission report (10%)
In addition, teams can earn bonus points through 4 methods:
- Attend industry visits and workshops
- Report – discuss the design limitations of their project and propose countermeasures
- Report – include a finance and costing analysis
- Report – includedditional viable applications of their project.
How can the participants prepare for judging?
For the key deliverables (mission report, video presentation and computer simulation), it will be useful for the teams to note and adhere to the 5 judging components.
For the Community Choice Award, this is a closed down pitching session where teams can sign up and they will be required to present their project in front of an a panel of judges.
Confidence is key and the best way to achieve that is to practice, practice, practice! Team dynamics also play a huge part and we always look out for those that display great rapport.
Besides that, relax and have fun with space exploration!