After 42 hours of designing and preparation, the Durango High School Aerospace Design team and associate schools from Texas, Washington, Pakistan, India and the UK placed second at the International Space Settlement Design Competition at Kennedy Space Center. According to the judges, the margin between the first and second place team was “paper-thin”.
A total of 240 students from five continents competed in the competition, grouped into multinational “companies”. This year’s project required designing a settlement in Moltke, a lunar impact crater located only a short distance from the Apollo 11 landing site.
DHS team member Paxton Scott (senior) served as company president, his sister, Abby Scott (senior) was elected as systems engineer, and Katelynn Weese (junior) acted as head of human factors and safety.
“For somebody pursuing a career in engineering this competition, is as close as it gets to the real world. You receive an RFP (request for proposal) and design according to the customer’s request,” said Chandler Jeep (senior), a first-year member of the team.
“One of the more difficult parts of the competition is working with 52 other students from other nationalities with competing visions on how to win,” said company president Paxton Scott. “Logistically, the number of students makes it difficult to keep everyone on the same page and moving forward.”
Despite language and cultural differences Durango team member Stella Potemkin (junior) explained, “the relationships I made and the lessons I learned validated the experience more than any trophy would have.”
Abby Scott echoed this sentiment: “I had a moment where I took a step back and watched students from Pakistan, India, and the US present their plan for the construction sequence together and it made me hopeful for the future.”
At the end of the competition Abby Scott received the award for best female presenter.
The Durango team has now qualified for the International Aerospace Design Settlement Competition twenty-four times and won the competition seven times.
Major funders of the team this year were Durango Education Foundation, LPEA, StoneAge Tools, and Ed Dudley.t