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An unexpected journey (NASA, Florida)

Posted: 2nd August 2016

In the first of our student blog posts written from NASA’s International Space Settlement Design Competition (ISSDC), AS-Level Hong Kong student, Adrian Chau gives us an insight into the roles and responsibilities that come with being assigned Head of Structure in this prestigious contest:

“Cardiff Sixth Form College had always been the dark horse of NASA’s International Space Settlement Design Competition (ISSDC) and I was looking forward to continuing its legacy. With high hope, our team swiftly made friends within our company, Grumbo Aerospace. Upon realizing the hue of talents with our own departments, we were ready to unleash our combined knowledge to make the best presentation the competition had ever seen.

Ploughing through

With the help of a few of my friends, namely Calum and Karon, I was successfully voted as the Head of Structure and my responsibility was to assign a multitude of tasks to my fellow teammates. This was no easy task! Collaborating with a multicultural team was definitely a fresh experience. Despite having different views and stress creeping in on all of us, my department  successfully pulled off what we recognized as a satisfactory structure, at long last.


Within a few minutes upon the completion of the structure, our president forcefully imposed a radical change and require us to redesign and recalculate the entirety of our Mars settlement. This was no doubt a fatal blow to our presentation and moral. With only a few hours left until the deadline, I rallied my team to complete the hefty task on our shoulders. Exhausted, drowsy and perhaps losing hope, we soldiered on courageously to complete our structure presentation, with merely minutes to spare. I am very proud of my team.

Personal development

Although Cardiff Sixth Form College didn’t win the NASA competition this year, my personal experience is not defined by results alone. This industry-simulating experience overloaded all five of my senses, but it also gave me the opportunity to get to know myself a lot deeper. Every student who participated has grown, matured and made life-long friends and, to me, this is what really counts.” 

Picture opposite shows CSFC students with astronaut, Chris Ferguson at Kennedy Space Centre in Orlando, Florida.

Categories: Student Blog