InternationalSpaceChallengeThe final of the International Space Challenge was held on Thursday 4th December at Shirebrook Academy in Derbyshire.

 The Space Challenge requires the students to imagine they are an engineering company working in a European Consortium designing and building a space hotel.  


 The preliminary rounds were held in four schools across Derbyshire and engaged 240 students in thinking about the engineering problems associated with building a hotel in space. The students had to not only solve the mathematical and engineering problems  associated with a space hotel, including building a model of their hotel, but they had to do so communicating in their target European language, be it French, German or Spanish.


During the preliminary rounds the students were supported in completing the tasks by volunteer engineers from Rolls Royce, an architect from the University of Derby, language specialists and staff from the National Space Academy. The six winning teams from the preliminary rounds went through to the final held at Shirebrook Academy. In preparation for the final each team had an engineering mentor who visited the students at school to help them develop their model and resources.


At each event the students were given a keynote talk from various individuals who emphasised how languages and STEM subjects are combined in their working lives; the speakers included Paul Hughes, ex-RAF and fluent in Arabic (and many other languages!) and Jeremy Nickless, UKSEDS President, French and German speaker and rocket engineer.


During the final each group had to prepare a marketing presentation for their hotel in their target language, solve space related maths problems, prepare an engineering presentation, build and launch a rocket, learn some Russian and take part in a space trivia quiz.


Teams from Shirebrook Academy and St. Benedict's Catholic School did very well but the overall winners were from the City of Derby School, who will have a day at the National Space Centre, including a space masterclass and a planetarium show as their prize.


Our thanks go out to the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Rolls Royce, the University of Derby, the keynote speakers and the language specialists from the Business Language Champions, without whom the event could not have run. We wish to congratulate all of the students who took part and thank all of the staff involved. 

"Fantastic event. Brilliantly organised. Best cross-curricular event I have been involved with. Thanks."

With this type of feedback it is hoped that funding can be found to repeat or expand this unique collaboration between space science, engineering and languages in the future.