By STEPHANIE SUN
UHS’s Space Settlement Design Competition Team was victorious at last summer’s NASA Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida. Grouped with students from Wales, India, Uruguay and Texas, the team’s proposal for a space settlement won first place in the International Space Settlement Design Competition.
UHS’s team, also known as the UHS Spaceset Club, was created in 2007. James Gui (Sr.), the president of the club, said, “In the first two years that I went, our team would have trouble working together with each other, since every member would have their own ideas that they wanted to include.” Last year, however, he believes that the team worked very well together, winning the finals in Florida for the first time in the club’s history.
Before each March, the team works hard to produce a 40-page proposal for a plan that involves the construction, operation and design of a settlement. The Request For Proposal is the first component that must be organized, laying out the structural design and the work for the other sections; the request also usually requires the settlement to orbit around Moon or Mars in some way. The other sections include Operations, Human Factors, Automations and Business. Operations involves the systems that run the settlement, like water and electricity. Human Factors addresses the needs of the residents, including psychological factors and planned out residential areas. Automations determines how robots will be used in the colony’s construction and transportation, and the scheduling and determining of costs is done by the Business section. The final proposal consists of charts, diagrams, written explanations and 3-D renderings, a compilation of the team’s effort and hard work.
The international competition SpaceSet takes part in creating new design scenarios with special requirements annually for teams to work on. Last year, UHS’s team qualified through the Qualifying Competition, in which its proposal was reviewed by the competition coordinators and chosen for the international round. At that round, a total of twenty teams are invited; five teams are assigned per “company” to propose their plan to a group of supposed potential customers, and a total of four companies compete in the finals. The competition’s final round this year is held at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, where the teams can learn from real engineers and work with teams from across the world.
Alex Chung (Jr.), the club’s vice president, loves that he can explore his passion for engineering by learning from skilled engineers. He said, “I really love how SpaceSet enables me not only to learn about aerospace engineering but also to meet diverse cultures from all around the world during internationals. This year, our team would like to win at internationals again and hopes to constantly enrich our understanding of our solar system.”
UHS SpaceSet looks for students with strong science backgrounds and interests in engineering who can work well with a team. The club also hopes to gain more members who can use 3-D rendering software to illustrate the designs of the many diagrams that go along with the proposal.
Tryouts for this year’s team were held in late November. Gui noted the club’s goal to continue its legacy with underclassmen and his hopes to be more inclusive. He said, “We’re trying to encourage a more balanced gender distribution; this year, everyone who went to the finals was a dude. My sophomore year, we had about 33% of the team be female, but in recent years that number has dwindled.”
The 2015-2016 SpaceSet Team was announced on December 4, consisting of Gui, Chung, Kanyes Thaker (Jr.), Jonathan Huang (Jr.), Jeff Guo (So.), Josh Jia (Jr.), Harrison Ku (Jr.), Michael Diao (Fr.), Aurnov Chattopadhyay (Jr.), Priyan Sathianathan (Jr.), Chelsea Guo (Fr.), Jein Park (Sr.), Phil Chen (So.), Emaan Hariri (Sr.), Kevin Le (Jr.), Harry Liang (Jr.) and Jessica Lee (So.). The team meets Saturday mornings to work on its Qualifying Proposals.