UK Pupils win NASA module design space challenge

Five United Kingdom primary schools are over the moon after winning a NASA spacecraft design competition


Generation Beyond challenge seeks to inspire the next generation of astronauts by bringing the science of space into primary schools across the UK. Image credit: Discovery Education/Lockheed Martin

The Generation Beyond challenge, organised by Lockheed Martin and Discovery Education, has been won by young scientists at schools from London and Surrey. This challenge is the first of its kind in the UK and was launched last year as part of the new STEM education programme dedicated to inspiring a new generation of astronauts. This challenge asked children to use their imagination in creating a habitation module for Orion, NASA’s spacecraft that will take the first crew to Mars in the 2030s.

Pupils entered the competition individually or as a team, having to present their ideas in a short video. The final number of participants reached over 160, and a judging panel of space scientists, teachers and academics chose these two entries as the winning duo.

The Generation Beyond Individual Prize was awarded to Jedd Fiander from Barrow Hills School in Surrey.

Nine-year-old Jedd had a convincing concept for life on Mars, which included an amazing computer-generated design. This module would enable astronauts to live and work safely on the Red Planet and would be built in Earth’s orbit. Jedd’s module had a zero-gravity rocket and a special radiation room. Judges made the point of saying that it was “very close to the real thing.”

See Jedd’s winning video here.

Jedd Fiander from Barrow Hills School was awarded the Generation Beyond Individual Prize. Image credit: Discovery Education/Lockheed Martin

The Generation Beyond Team Prize was awarded to pupils from Alpha Prep School in Harrow, North London.

A team of four pupils consisting of Helia Najafi (9), Veer Thakkar (11), Krisha Shah (11) and Adithya Raghuraman (10), presented their ideas in a unique 3D model that was given the name ‘Andromeda’ – also the name of our neighbouring galaxy. The design matched space science with astronauts’ living needs, which includes vibrant sleeping quarters, an entertainment room and an artificial gravity shower. Judges said that this module showed “fantastic teamwork and inspiration.”

See Alpha Prep’s winning video here.

Pupils from Alpha Prep School in Harrow, North London were awarded the Generation Beyond Team Prize. Image credit: Discovery Education/Lockheed Martin

The winning school held celebration assemblies for the pupils and their parents where Patrick Wood, director of International Business Development at Lockheed Martin Space, presented the prizes. Prizes included iPads and science magazine subscriptions for the pupils and £5,000 (approximately $6,500) STEM grants for the schools.

“Our children make up a generation that will change our universe forever. These young people are the generation that will walk on Mars, explore deep space and unlock mysteries that we can’t yet imagine.  And that’s why it’s so important to us to help schools to encourage children to consider careers in STEM,” says Patrick Wood. “I was so impressed by the creativity these pupils showed and the complexity of their designs, and I’m excited about what this generation will bring to future space missions.”

Mr Gonsalves, head of Science and Computing at Alpha Prep School, says, “We are absolutely over the moon with the Generation Beyond win! I hope that Team Andromeda’s success will inspire all pupils at the school to see STEM as an integral part of their future studies.”

Eva Garcia Claramonte, head of Science at Barrow Hills School says, “We are naturally thrilled to learn of Jedd’s success in this national competition, a win which is well deserved! At Barrow Hills, we actively encourage our children to consider Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects. The £5,000 prize money will be put to good use to further develop our STEM activities.”

The Generation Beyond programme will continue to inspire the next generation of astronauts by bringing space and science into primary schools across the UK. The expertise of Lockheed Martin and Discovery Education provides an extensive and informative space curriculum, which is vital in ushering in a new era of space exploration among students, as well as inspiring teachers into STEM subjects and careers.

The programme is available at no cost to schools, and teachers are encouraged to register at

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