Airbus Student Space Competitions

Two exciting competition opportunities from Airbus, open to all undergraduate and Masters students! The winner of each competition will get to present their project at the NSSC 2022!

Competition briefs:



The competition is open to all students working towards an undergraduate or master’s degree and entries must be individual. Applicants can apply to only one of the two Student Competitions Airbus is holding this year (“Airbus Student Space Competition: Disruptive Technology” or “Airbus Student Space Competition: Exploration Mission Concept". The submission deadline is 23rd of January 2022 (this is the correct deadline following an extension, please disregard the deadlines in the posters) and the UKSEDS NSSC 2022 is being held 5th-6th March 2022.
Note: Both competitions are individual. No group applications are accepted. 


Competition 1 Disruptive Technology: Space Debris Removal

For years scientists have been worried about the build-up of man-made material in Earth orbit citing a potential Kessler Syndrome event. With the advent of mega constellations the number of space objects are increasing faster than many could have predicted. Current efforts are in their infancy with missions like RemoveDEBRIS and ELSA-D aiming to improve space debris removal technology. Airbus and UKSEDS invites students to propose a disruptive technology that could address this pressing issue.

Ideas to consider in your application:

  • Technology Areas suggested include improved observation systems, lasers, debris assessment methods, capture/coupling techniques and deorbit strategies.
  • What is the current state of space debris and how is this set to change in the coming years?
  • Outline the design of your idea and suggest what advantages it poses over existing projects. Identify any technical challenges to overcome and how they can be mitigated?
  • What are the drawbacks of your idea? Are there specific areas of the problem or targets that will not benefit from this technology?
  • How will your design fit into the wider international effort to tackle space debris? What would be the cost of your concept? How could it be financed? Is there a viable business case?

You can base your project on current topics of study at your university or from your own creative thinking and research. 


Competition 2 Mission Concept: Ocean World Exploration

An ocean world is a celestial body in our solar system suspected to harbour water in a liquid form, such as Europa, Enceladus, and also Titan, Ceres and Pluto. Several Moons and dwarf planets in our solar system are also thought to have subsurface oceans, below a solid crust. 

Airbus and UKSEDS invite students to propose a scientific mission on the Ocean world of your choosing, including:

  • Design your mission concept, detailing the mission architecture, including the launch plan and trajectory, and the vehicles (Rovers, Drones, Probes, Lander) and equipment taken on the mission.
  • What experiments and observations will be taken at the Ocean world, to achieve your scientific goals?
  • What will be the main technical problems with this mission and how will you overcome these? (Communication, Radiation, Power, Thermal, Navigation, etc)
  • Are any other experiments/ observations to be taken: will this be part of a joint mission with other goals and aims?
  • Create a basic business case including how this mission could be funded and an estimate of its costs.

You can base your project on current topics of study at your university or from your own creative thinking and research. 


Selection Process:

To enter you must provide a 2 pages submission outlining your concept. Your entry can include pictures, be in the form of an essay, posters or infographic, however it must be limited to 2 single A4 pages only. Best entries will be shortlisted for the second round of selection. Shortlisted candidates will be asked to expand their idea by providing a presentation support file, such as a PowerPoint or a PDF, with a maximum content of 15 slides. there is no limit on the use of the comments area within PowerPoint. The 3 best entries will then be invited to deliver a 15 minute presentation in front of a panel of Airbus D&S experts.

Competition Prize:

The winners will have the opportunity to present their concept at the UKSEDS National Student Space Conference 2022 (NSSC2022) in front of an audience of industry experts and students from across the country. This event is dependent on the COVID restrictions at the time. The top three places will also receive a site tour of Airbus Stevenage and the Mars Yard (dependent on the COVID restrictions at the time) and a monetary prize as shown below:

  • 1st: £1000 + Mars Yard and Stevenage Site Tour + NSSC2022 Presentation
  • 2nd: £500 + Mars Yard and Stevenage Site Tour
  • 3rd: £250 + Mars Yard and Stevenage Site Tour

In addition, applicants not selected for the final but whose project would be denoted by their quality will receive a gift box with Airbus goodies. 


What to do now:

Get creative! Check the extended briefs in the google drive link for more information on each competition then start your 2 pages submission, and complete the adjacent application form and consent form

Please email your completed 2 page submission, application form and consent form to [email protected] before 23:59 the 23rd of January 2022. Any applications received after this date and/or without the complete application and consent forms cannot be considered. 

We look forward to receiving your entry. For any further queries relating to the competition please email [email protected] and we will get back to you promptly.

For the application forms and the competition briefs please visit:

For any questions you can email [email protected] 

For more information about the NSSC please visit:



Antonio Duduianu

Antonio is currently studying towards a MEng in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Bath.

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