At the end of the 16th century, William Shakespeare once said that âall things are ready if our minds are like this. Several centuries later, it seems the rocket scientists and satellite engineers who guide Thailand’s space programs have taken Shakespeare’s motivational words to heart.
New to Southeast Asia, the Thai Space Settlement Design Competition (Thai-SSDC) is a branch of the International Space Settlement Design Competition (ISSDC), an educational initiative inherited from NASA for teens aged 14-18. . Its goals are to enable Thailand’s most talented teens to work with rocket scientists and aerospace engineers from space agencies around the world in an exciting gaming competition that may even see them take part in the ISSDC World Finals. at the Kennedy Center, at NASA (Merritt Island, Florida, United States).
The Office of National Higher Education Scientific Research & Administration Policy Council (NXPO) is an autonomous public body that has participated in many previous aerospace education programs and currently serves Thai youth.
On March 1, 2021, a meeting was held between the leaders of the NXPO and the leaders of the Thai-SSDC which explored the possibility of mutual collaboration between the two parties. President Jason Jellison, Director of Operations Oranush Kunatirojana and Youth Ambassador Sittisak Muangkaew, Treasurer Jon Santangelo and Co-Director Imran Farzal joined by teleconference.
Phirada Techavichit, a well-known skilled astronaut and satellite engineer from Thailand, helped coordinate communication for the two organizations. The meeting formulated a general list of ideas. On April 27, 2021, the NXPO generously agreed to sponsor the top 10 high school teams that enter the competition, as well as to cooperate to raise awareness in the Thai school system.
âI am absolutely delighted that the NXPO and such a large international coalition of experts have come together to make this happen for Thai youth,â President Jellison said. “The current health crisis has made the times of today very painful for our young people, but to think that of all these closed schools, of all the pain, suffering and historical darkness of today, to think that of all this sadness, that now our young people will have a new spotlight on the stars; it is simply overwhelming, and I thank the NXPO for their generous generosity.
âMany Thai teens are frustrated with today’s school closings, not seeing their friends and the stress of learning online. Jellison continued.
âThe world has changed dramatically since COVID-19, and we are all running to catch up. In fact, there are a lot of young Thais who look at the stars and dream of what is up there. Now these special young people can express themselves in new and exciting ways, and many of them could truly live to see their dreams come true.
The ISSDC started at NASA in 1984, and the Thai chapter is hosted by Astrium Competitions. It puts 14-18-year-old high school students in the shoes of real-life engineers. A school team is made up of around 10 students, one of whom must be fluent in English. A representative team is formed and the team files a ârequest for proposalâ, which describes their own idea of ââthe new technology that would be needed in a space colony. The RFP is the same document a real engineer uses to file their designs, and it is precisely these engineers who review students’ plans.
When a plan is approved by active and / or retired aerospace engineers, the student team is directly linked to the engineers who approved their plan. They all spend several months working together on the student project. Students ultimately solve engineering problems largely on their own, with these knowledgeable engineers and scientists lighting their way.
Normally, it costs a representative team a lump sum of 5,000 baht to register, or about 500 baht per person. The participation fee is not yet settled, but the Director of Operations Oranush Kunatirojana advises the Thai-SSDC to try to keep the fees as low as possible for students, and that the staff of the Thai-SSDC is mainly made up of volunteers. who work without pay for the benefit of Thai youth. people.
The NXPO is helping the Thai-SSDC by sponsoring the 5,000 B registration fees of the top 10 school teams, and registration is now open. Thailand’s first national tour is set to be held in Bangkok in November at a location yet to be announced. The top ranked teams will have the chance to compete in the Asian Finals in India in January 2022. The top teams from the Asian Finals will have the chance to compete in the ISSDC World Finals at the Kennedy Center in July 2022.
âThis is the opportunity of a lifetime. Jellison said. “I encourage any student who has dreamed of living and working in space to form a team and get going.” He went on to say that the ISSDC is a life-changing event that has built many careers in the space industry and has contributed to many prestigious university enrollments. Young entire lives are often transformed before the eyes of their families.
The Thai-SSDC can be contacted in English or Thai, but the language for all international aerospace events is English. General inquiries in Thai and English can be emailed to [email protected], or via the Thai-SSDC Facebook site.
Principals, teachers and the media can send special requests directly to Mr. Jellison at his personal email address, [email protected], and curious readers can watch many inspiring videos from past national and world competitions around the world for free on YouTube by typing “ISSDC”.