UKSEDS Autumn Update

An overview of the last and next six months for the people important to us




How you can help


Our Executive Committee team this year consists of:

We’re delighted to have welcomed Julia Hunter-Anderson, Matjaz Vidmar, and Sheila Kanani as charity Trustees, who join Portia Bowman, Matthew Goodman, and Graeme Taylor. Everyone at UKSEDS is hugely grateful for the support of Gill Norman, Kerry Sanz, and Craig Brown, whose terms as Trustees came to an end this year. Thank you all!

We are always keen for new ideas for projects and events, as well as support in delivering the work we do. Please get in touch at [email protected] if you are interested in working with us.


This year has presented new challenges for us, but we’re proud of how we’ve managed to work together to make the last 6 months a success.

To help students and teachers, we are creating a new website with a host of outreach activities to do at home, as well as holding more regular career-focused webinars to provide advice to our members in these difficult times. We have also started a new podcast called Preparing for Launch, which is now coming to the end of its first season.

With teams unable to move into the build phase of our competitions, we worked with our partners to create additional design deliverables that challenged participants above what is usually required, and held online finals, reaching a much larger audience than usually possible.


We asked our members about their views on application processes for internships and early career jobs, with lack of feedback being highlighted across the board. Out of 218 unsuccessful applications in the last 12 months, 75% received no feedback after any stage, 56% received no feedback after an interview, and 33% received no feedback after the final stage.


Improving the recruitment process is a win-win for everyone. As one respondent put it:“Despite being rejected from one internship, the feedback cheered me up. Before I was getting nowhere with job applications and the feedback gave me something to work on.”

If you are serious about attracting the right people to your organisation, and the space sector in general, we propose the following:



We really couldn’t run our competitions without our sponsors and supporters. We’re especially grateful to them all this year for their enthusiasm and help in reformatting the competitions to conclude in a remote format.

National Rocketry Championships

23 teams initially, 7 in the final phase

Winners: Cranfield University (1st place), University of Exeter (2nd place), Loughborough University (3rd place)

Satellite Design Competition

9 teams initially, 3 in the final phase

Winners: University of Glasgow (overall winner),Cranfield University (best presentation)

Sponsors and supporters: Open Cosmos, SSPI UK

Olympus Rover Trials

12 teams initially, 5 in the final phase

Winners: University of Southampton (overall winner), University of Bath (best CDR), Cranfield University (best prototype demonstration)

Sponsors and supporters: Thales Alenia Space, GMV, RAL Space, Fairspace, Open Cosmos, and Oxford Space System


At NSSC in March we were excited to partner for the first time with the following organisations:

National Student Space Conference, 6th-7th March 2021

We’re planning an action packed interactive online conference that will again be the premier space event for students to learn about the sector and make connections, and for organisations to get themselves known among the most enthusiastic of the up and coming talent. Entry level sponsorhip price of £150 with a tailored package for every sponsor, look out for the full details coming out soon! Email us at [email protected] if you’ve never sponsored before and would like more details about our event.

Student Space Symposium, 10th October 2020

This new event offers our members the chance to write and present papers on any space-themed topic. We received a staggering 68 abstracts, of which we selected 15 to be presented at the virtual symposium and published in our Symposium Proceedings. The top five will also be peer reviewed for publication in a special UKSEDS edition of the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society (JBIS). Nearly 450 people watched live on the day, with over 150 more having viewed it since. We’re pleased to have partnered with the BIS, AstroAgency, Blue Abyss, and Momentus for this event.

A Question of Space

In this new competition, university and graduate teams will go head-to-head to answer space related questions in a quiz show format. This will be filmed, edited, and published online, serving as an opportunity for participants to test their extra-curricular knowledge and help inspire and educate the general public about the diversity of knowledge related to the space sector. We would greatly appreciate it if you would help us out by submitting questions here, and if you know of a spacious area, near or in London, that would be willing to host this (COVID permitting of course), do get in touch.

The Space Careers Show

To celebrate 5 years since the start of, we wanted to organise a special Careers Launch Birthday Party with the aim of inspiring the next generation of space explorers. We have thus organised a number of talks, activities, and discussions for all secondary school students to learn how to apply what they are currently learning and how the space industry may not be as far out of reach as it seems when they look up at the night-sky. The event will feature guest speakers such as Brad Gibson, a mission design competition and also a rocket demonstration by one of our volunteers, along with a few more surprises.

Preparing For Launch Podcast

Kicking off with Dallas Campbell in April, we’re thrilled to have had a wonderful variety of guests providing entertainment, education, advice, and insight to our audience, including the first British astronaut Helen Sharman, and business analyst for Astroscale, Harriet Brettle. Now 10 episodes in, we’ve achieved an average of 120 listens per episode, and are looking forward to series 2 starting in the new year.