UKSEDS – Open Cosmos Satellite Design Competition Announcement

24 Oct, 2019

Harwell, 24 October 2019 – The UK Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (UKSEDS), Open Cosmos and Space & Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) are proud to announce the third edition of the annual Satellite Design Competition.

The first two editions of the competition required student teams to identify an astronomical object and design a cubesat to research this. The final product of the competition was a mission report and basic design of the proposed satellite system on paper, with the support of SSPI.

The third edition will take the student teams an important step further, thanks to the new collaboration with satellite mission provider Open Cosmos. In addition to making a design for the satellite and mission, students will be able to define, build and integrate an actual satellite payload. The nanosatellite payload will be integrated in an Open Cosmos 3U ‘beeKit’ platform. At the end of the competition, teams will be scored over a series of tasks on a challenge day at the Harwell Science, Technology and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.

With this addition, the competition allows students to get very close to building an actual satellite. Their payload will undergo a real test readiness review before competing in realistic space conditions and scenarios during the challenge day. This is not only a unique opportunity for the teams to work with actual space hardware, but also a testimony of the fact that satellite technology is becoming simpler, cheaper and faster to develop, making it possible for universities to actually develop, integrate, launch and operate their own satellites.

The scenario for the 2019/2020 competition will be a nano satellite mission to the Moon. We are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Moon landings, World Space Week 2019 was themed around the Moon as the gateway to the stars and many countries, including the UK, are preparing to go back to the Moon. It is also a showcase of the capabilities of modern nano satellite technology, where cubesats have recently been involved in deep space and planetary missions as far away as Mars.

David Maiden, competition project lead and bid & partnership manager at Open Cosmos said: “As a past CranSEDS member, I understood how important it was to create more opportunities for students given that space engineering courses are becoming more and more popular every year. For Open Cosmos, this competition is yet another indicator that we are making space accessible to everyone, placing satellite technology in the hands of students and creating the opportunity for creativity and innovation.”

Sam Bond, Vice Chair of UKSEDS said: “Our competitions team lead, Jack McHugh, has done an absolutely fantastic job of working with SSPI and Open Cosmos to expand our satellite design competition. I haven’t heard of another opportunity where students are given the chance to work on real space hardware, giving students a unique opportunity to experience what work in the space industry is like. ”

Enter your team into the competition here.


About the organisers


Formed in 1988 and now with over 450 members and 27 affiliated societies located up and down the country, the UK Space Explorations and Development for Students (UKSEDS) is a charity run by student volunteers, for students. We support students and enthusiasts across the country by running space projects, hosting conferences and workshops, and doing outreach to inspire and educate the next generation of space enthusiasts. We run and support multiple events throughout each year, including events, workshops, competitions and conferences. Our most popular being the National Student Space Conference (NSSC), which is held annually every March.

Our sister site has done an outstanding job of matching students and recent graduates with the huge number of different careers paths in the space sector and has been hailed as “a crucial service to thousands of people across the country” by the former Prime Minister, Theresa May.

About SSPI

Founded in 1983, Space & Satellite Professionals International ( is on a mission to make the space and satellite industry one of the world’s best at attracting and engaging the talent that powers innovation. With more than 3,700 members in 40 nations, it is the largest space and satellite industry association in the world. It delivers on its mission through programs that promote space and satellite as the invisible but indispensable infrastructure of the modern world, and that help turn individual promise into careers filled with purpose through research, career education for young people, management education for working professionals and talent recognition that spans the industry. SSPI maintains local chapters in the US, UK, Luxembourg, Brazil, Nigeria and Japan.

About Open Cosmos

Open Cosmos (OC) provides simple and affordable space missions to help companies solve the world’s biggest challenges. We enable companies across a wide range of industries to use space applications and technologies as a tool by removing three mainspace access barriers: time-consuming paperwork, expensive technology, and overall costs. Founded in July 2015 by Rafael Jordà Siquier, Open Cosmos employs 50+ people of more than 10 nationalities and is based on the Harwell Campus near Oxford.

By rethinking the way a satellite is being developed, procured, manufactured and operated, we allow our customers to benefit from significant cost and time reduction while ensuring reliability across all mission elements. This is driven by our Mass-Customisation Methodology which covers all aspects of a nanosatellite space mission from spacecraft design to testing, from procurement to launch, and from mission definition to operations and orbital data delivery.

We provide services and enabling tools for rapid payload development, allowing businesses, research institutions and organizations from across industries to develop their technologies.