SEDSIC2007 Design Competition

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This contest is held in conjunction with the SEDS International Conference in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India.


On an upcoming human mission to the Moon in 2020, 20kg has been allocated to SEDS for a scientific payload. The payload will be a series of rovers, allowing students on Earth to explore the lunar surface. Now, SEDS is asking for proposals to choose the best design.

Your mission: develop a conceptual design for the rovers.

There must be no fewer than two rovers in the payload, i.e. there can be two, three, or more rovers. All rovers must be contained within a small shipping container with outside dimensions that fit in a 0.2 m3 rectangular prism. The total mass of the rovers and container can not exceed 20 kg. The container will be transported to the Moon on a cargo lander and transferred to the surface near the perimeter of the base by an Astronaut. The rovers will be deployed from the container by a remote command; no human intervention will be allowed to remove the rovers from the container. The container will serve as the ground station for the rovers, relaying communications to and from the rovers.

Each rover will be equipped with, at minimum, a video imager and an additional scientific payload to be chosen by the designer. The rovers and ground station must survive at least 30 days on the surface and not require any maintenance from humans. Assume that the ground station is placed in a location that is in constant daylight.

Data from the rovers will be freely available to anyone on the internet. Some students will be selected to remotely operate the rovers during the mission. The design proposal should consider how students will be chosen, how the rover data will be distributed, and potential missions.


The grand prize is a half-tuition scholarship to the International Space University (worth approximately 8000 euros for the 2008 Summer Session Program).

All presentations will be presented in summary in a technical session at the International Astronautical Congress in Hyderabad. A CD containing all of the presentations will be handed out at the conference.

Judging Criteria

The design report will be judged by a team consisting of professional engineers, scientists, and professors from the American Astronautical Society, SEDS-USA Board of Advisers, SEDSAT-2 Advisers, and ISU alumni.

There are three criteria:

  1. Technical merit (50%). Describe all assumptions used in the design. Use technical references such as journals, and accurately cite all sources. Understanding of physical and engineering principles should be evident in the design. Designs must identify environmental constraints encountered on the lunar surface and solutions to survive within these constraints.
  2. Creativity (30%). Special consideration will be given to unique -- but feasible -- solutions. Consider how the data from the rovers will be used.
  3. Presentation (20%).
    • Half (10% of total) will be allocated to the written paper. References will be made in the Harvard referencing style. Figures should be used to illustrate the design. The paper must be well organized. (If you need help with English, please ask for help on SEDS Forums.
    • Half (10% of total) will be allocated to the on-site presentation at the conference. Only the top papers will be selected by VIT to present at the conference. (Thus, it is not necessary to be present at the conference to win the prize, but you will be ineligible for this 10%.)


  • Submissions are limited to single participants. Participants may communicate with each other for assistance during the design, but all submissions must be original work.
  • Submissions must be in English.
  • All participants must verify that they are students.
  • Maximum document length: 25 pages, double-spaced, 12-point font (Arial or Times New Roman). (There is no minimum length.) Document paper size must be A4, 8.5" x 11", or an equivalent size.
  • Important Dates:
    • Participants must send a Letter of Intent and an abstract only to by 23:59 GMT on 1 August 2007.
    • Selection of top papers will be made on 10 August.
    • Documents must be submitted in electronic form to by 23:59 GMT on 5 September 2007.

Note: The SEDSIC Committee may need to make small changes to the rules between now and the submission of the abstract. To be notified of changes, please join the SEDSIC email list; all changes will be announced via this email list.


Please post questions about the competition on SEDS Forums.

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