We had a brief chat with our winners from SSC 2018, Team T0X1C V4P0R –
‘T0X1C V4P0R’ is made up of five participants who graduated from Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) previously. Having to serve National Service did not deter their interest in the challenge, and despite time constraints, we congratulate them on clinching the top prize.
Team members (in alphabetical order): Ho Jie Feng, See Ming Jie, Tan Wei Jie Solomon, Velusamy Sathiskumar Ragul Balaji, Ye Jiadong
The team walks away a grand prize of S$10,000.
Q: What was the inspiration behind the idea? Did you have several ideas or did you settle on your final idea straight away?
A: There was no single source or existing product that inspired our entire design. We got what we did through discussion, evaluation, simulation and sometimes, heated arguments. In October, we were divided on the exterior design of our satellite. After some intense back and forth, we eventually decided to use the standard cubesat’s 6U design because it was easier to prove its technical feasibility than other unconventional designs. Other important design decisions such as avionics, sensor payloads, power supply systems followed a similar process. That’s how we managed to make the best use of our combined expertise to form the design you see today.
Q: What was the entire experience like? Did you make new friends? How were the mentors/judges?
A: The entire experience was challenging. We had never designed a satellite before. This challenge widened our horizons, and gave us confidence to tackle greater problems.
Uniquely, we were the only team that was not currently enrolled in an educational institution. This meant that we would only be able to work on the project in our free time on weekends, outside of National Service. The time constraints and independent learning was difficult, but we dare say that it gave us an edge over others, as we were very motivated to pursue the topic in depth.
Furthermore, we made new friends and built new contacts. While designing SCSNEEO, we consulted several friends, experts and firms to gather feedback regarding the feasibility of our chosen solutions. Their input helped shape our overall design.
Q: What is the team’s future plan? What is next for you all (as a team)?
A: Historically, T0X1C V4P0R is known for its dominance in tech-related competitions, and we are not slowing down after this year’s Singapore Space Challenge. We’re always on the lookout for new opportunities to learn new things and demonstrate our abilities by taking on newer, bigger challenges. We’re hoping to push the cutting edge and improve the lives of the people around us. Additionally, we’re always keen for a chance to work with the experts to share our ideas and bring them closer to market.
Individually, we’ll be moving into fields such as Physics, Computer Science and Engineering in University, where we’ll meet the next challenge head-on! Who knows, we might even try our hand at the next DARPA Launch Challenge or even the XPrize!
Q: Would you encourage others to join? What advice would you give to students entering the competition next year?
A: Never back down from a challenge. When we first embarked on this journey, most of us knew next to nothing about the technical details of the space industry. It was a continuous learning process where we had to pick up new knowledge quickly and infuse it with our own ideas. Don’t underestimate how much you can do as students; we’re certainly confident now that we can even build our satellite (should we get the funding)!
Talk to experts, discuss your ideas with friends and do not limit your search to the Internet. There’s always something you can learn from them and we were certainly grateful to SSTA for organising this year’s Meet-the-Experts session where we got some key tips from Mr Kevin Goh (DSTA)!