About


The Satellite Design Competition invites students to design, construct and operate a nanosatellite payload system with the objective to acquire as much information from an analogue lunar nanosatellite mission. Students shall create a payload concept, trade off performance parameters and pass through a rigorous review process with panels of experts within the space industry. The competition aims to reach out to students from multiple scientific fields, including, but not limited to, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers and computer science engineers.

The competition aims to:

  • Challenge students to perform a complex, systems engineering task of the development of a payload to a set of real space mission requirements
  • Gain exposure and experience of the typical design processes and protocols in industry projects, including multiple project reviews
  • Enable students to apply taught technical skills and learn new ones relevant to a job in the space industry in an applicable project environment
  • Provide students with an opportunity to develop and practice other important and transferable skills, such as teamwork, leadership and project management

Competition and Major Changes

This year marks the third instalment of the Satellite Design Competition. With support from SSPI, previous years had teams research and identify an astronomy opportunity for which cubesat technology offers a high-quality solution and provide a high-level design for one or more cubesats capable of carrying out that mission, where a final extensive mission report was submitted. 

Recent developments of the Satellite Design Competition have enabled an expansion to include a build phase, where competing teams have the opportunity to design and construct a nanosatellite payload, thanks to a new collaboration with Open Cosmos. The nanosatellite payload will be integrated on-board Open Cosmos’ 3U beeKit platform and teams shall be scored over a series of tasks on a challenge day at the Harwell Science, Technology and Innovation Campus, Oxfordshire next summer.

With the major addition of the build phase, other new additions have been implemented to assist in the running and organisation of a smooth competition. These include:

  • A Test Readiness Review, intended to ensure teams are ready to compete, taking place 2-4 weeks before the challenge day
  • A competition grant that had been split into 3 tiers:
  • New competition prizes! See the 2019-2020 Rules and Requirements document, Appendix C.6.1 for the full list.