Vicinity team entry Image supplied by Cranfield University

A team of space engineering students from Cranfield University has achieved phenomenal success in an annual competition of their peers.

The CranSEDS Vicinity team swept the board at the annual UK Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (UKSEDS) Satellite Design Competition, winning all five categories to take home the overall competition prize.

The Cranfield team won best CDR (Critical Design Review), best TRR (Test Readiness Review), best prototype, best presentation and best overall at the competition, which is sponsored by Airbus and SSPI.

Maria Carrillo Barrenechea, who has just finished studying for the Cranfield MSc in Astronautics and Space Engineering, led the team to victory as its project manager. She said:

“We are over the moon to have won the competition, and are so grateful to the University for its support and for letting us access its facilities to help prepare our entry.

“The pandemic created an extra challenge for us, but our team demonstrated that with good communication, passion and hard work, anything is possible.

“I want to congratulate everyone in the team for their work, and for the amazing results we have achieved in this competition alongside our studies and despite a global pandemic. I’m happy to have made so many new friends, all of whom are passionate about space.”

The UKSEDS Satellite Design Competition invites students to design, construct and operate a nanosatellite payload system with the objective of acquiring as much information as possible from an analogue lunar nanosatellite mission.

The Vicinity team were one of five finalists in the competition, during which they had to create a payload concept, trade off performance parameters, and pass a rigorous review led by a panel of space industry experts.

The team was mentored during the competition by Mark Muktoyuk, senior GNC systems engineer at Astroscale in the US. He said:

“The CranSEDS team have continually been organised, proactive and impressively ‘functional’ as a team – indeed, they have proven more ‘functional’ than a lot of teams I’ve seen in industry.

“Each satellite subsystem was managed well individually, and brought together into a successful collective.

“Finally, we should take a moment to observe that this has been accomplished during the most difficult year of recent memory for each and every one of us.

“This team have proven they can manage themselves beautifully through significant obstacles.”