Rescue on the Comet: Mission IV

Rescue on the Comet: Mission IV

The year is 2061.

HALLEY’S COMET has returned to the Solar System, and on it five brave scientists have landed.

But DISASTER has struck! Their ship has malfunctioned and cannot launch. With only four months of supplies, the crew are now stranded on a comet drifting further into space.

It is a race to the rescue! You are in charge of the world’s top SPACE RESCUE ORGANISATION, and you have heard the call for help...


See the winning entries

See the winners

COMPLETED Thank you for all the brilliant entries! You can see the final winners below.

Your Challenge

Design a rescue mission to save the crew on Halley’s comet.
Show off your ideas for these three sections:
1. Tell us about your rescue organisation!
Design a space station in Earth orbit to be the headquarters for a rescue team.
    • Choose the team's name and logo
    • Show the main parts of the space station

Tip: Try to include at least two ideas that will help the team react to emergencies. (Here are some suggestions, but feel free to use your own: a control room, vehicle launch areas, or repair bays.)

2. You need specialist vehicles to perform a rescue!
Design a spacecraft to travel to Halley's Comet and rescue the crew.
    • Show the main parts of the spacecraft
    • Include the equipment needed for rescues

Tip: Try to include at least three ideas needed for a rescue mission. (Here are some suggestions, but feel free to use your own: spacesuits, medical bays, or tools for the rescue.)

3. How will you rescue the scientists?
Combine your ideas into a complete rescue mission.
    • Show a storyboard for the main stages of the rescue

Tip: Start when the rescue team first finds out about the disaster, and finish when the crew are brought back.

Box of Extra Details

Here are some extra details about the scenario. If they are helpful, feel free to use them in your entry.

Your Mission

Halley’s Comet gets closest to Earth in June 2061.
Imagine that your ship is able to travel the 75 million kilometre journey in 2 months.
(You don’t need to worry about complicated orbit calculations!)

The Stranded Base

Here's a diagram of the stranded base. It has a similar design to a module from the International Space Station (ISS).

Key judging areas

The judging panel will look for these things in your entry:

Is your entry based on real scientific principles?


Does your entry have new, clever, or interesting ideas?


Is your entry presented clearly?

Grand Winners

Best of Key Stage 2 (Individual)

The Dragonfly Rescue Operation by Amy

The Dragonfly impressed us in a number of ways. Not only did the space station and rescue ship both include a variety of sensible features appropriate to a rescue operation, but thought was also paid to how these vehicles would need to be habitable in space, such as by including a greenhouse to recycle Carbon Dioxide. Both were styled after a dragonfly, which really added a touch of character to this entry. A mixture of methods was used to convey information here; a diary entry from the Captain logging the rescue mission, vibrant and detailed diagrams, and even a comic book strip providing a step-by-step walkthrough of the rescue. Not only did the author really engage with the scenario of this mission, they clearly had a lot of fun with it too!

Best of KS2 (Individual)

Best of Key Stage 2 (Group)

SRT (Space Rescue Team) by Humphrey, Dylan & Ryan

Space Rescue Team told us about their rescue in the form of a story, and what really set this entry apart was the number of things that went wrong! Realistically, saving people trapped on an asteroid is very complicated; the authors correctly anticipated that a rescue attempt would be plagued by error, and they demonstrated how they'd respond to this with numerous backup plans. This entry also offered clear diagrams of the space station and rescue vehicle, accompanied by a detailed breakdown of the features and systems, and wrapped up with an entertaining comic strip of the rescue. Great job, team!

Best of KS2 (Group)

Best of Key Stage 3 (Individual)

Space Rescue Organisation (SRO) by Tejaswi

This entry from Space Rescue Organisation immediately catches the eye with a detailed and well-labelled 3D model of the space station, including a number of vital features such as a gravitational ring and green hub. This was followed by an equally strong design for the rescue vehicle, which incorporated a number of innovative elements such as origami-inspired folding mechanisms and a solar sail, showing how much effort had been put into researching future space technology. Finally, the rescue mission was documented from start to finish via a cartoon story board, including fine details such as speed and distance travelled. It was especially delightful to see the drawings we made for the competition brief incorporated into a student's entry! Overall, Space Rescue Organisation combines careful consideration of science and technology with excellent visual depiction that really helps us understand the author's ideas.

Best of KS3 (Individual)

Best of Key Stage 3 (Group)

British Agency of Space Exploration (BASE) by Yathra & Shayna

This team thrilled us with their cardboard and foil models of the space station and rescue vehicle - no doubt the team had lots of fun making them too! Accompanying these models are some excellently drawn and finely detailed diagrams, showing off the team's careful consideration of what features and facilities these vehicles would need. This entry concluded with a thorough timeline of the rescue, involving sensible steps such as making use of a robot to perform dangerous work on the comet in place of human operatives - we've already got five people stuck on there, it makes sense not to risk any more!

Best of KS3 (Group)

Special Mentions

The Science Award

City Space Institution by Aryana, Meadow, Aarya & Amaris-Jane

We were really blown away by how much technical detail the team packed into this entry. The design of their space station was really well thought out, incorporating a variety of advanced features such as a gravitational ring for habitation, photovoltaic solar panels, and even an external radiator for thermal management - which is really important but often overlooked! It was great to even see explanations of how certain features worked, such as the electromagnetic docking port. The rescue vehicle achieved an equally high standard, incorporating clever considerations such as the amount of data a spacecraft of this type would need to process, and emergency contingencies. On the whole, a fantastic effort, and well deserving of the Science award!

The Science Award

The Creativity Award

Zeus by Sanjiv

With a mighty name like Zeus, this entry promised nothing it couldn't deliver. We set this scenario 40 years into the future to give students room to research and extrapolate beyond the latest technology, and this entry really exemplifies what we were looking for, offering a plethora of unique ideas and design features that really showed us how carefully the author thought about what a space station would need beyond the basics, and what can be achieved with the latest technology. Highlights included provisioning the station with futuristic defensive aids to protect against space debris and piracy (both plausible threats in 2061 when space will be more busy), and use of Synthetic Aperture Radar to expediate search efforts.

The Creativity Award

The Presentation Award

Metis Space Rescue Organisation by Arpan & Kaustubh

Among the many strong candidates for this award, Metis really impressed us with its holistic approach to presentation. The visually impressive and detailed 3D models of the space vehicles are outstanding in their own right, but what really sets this entry apart is how the labels on these diagrams are woven into the text, offering a thorough, joined up flow of information. The presentation is very well structured, dedicating a page to each part of the exam question, and no single piece of information feels disconnected from the rest. An overall sheen of professionalism really gives this entry a big boost, as if it had been sent to us from the desk of a real-world space company!

The Presentation Award

Gold Awards

by Suhitha & Navani
Sting Motors Rescue Mission
by Amogh & Srithan
SOS - Society Of Space
by Anya, Samayra & Mira
by Matilda, Dora, Antonia & Eliane
The Golden Comets
by Aoibheann, Margaret, Davinia & Amelia
by Sam & Rory
Space Saviours
by Aayush & Aryaan

Silver Awards

The Space Rescue Corps
by Tilly, Nyrie & Rhiannon
Salvage Squad
by Riya, Praanvi, Vania & Hamsha
S.O.S (savers of space)
by Isobel & Rosalind
The Sausage Saviours' of the Galaxy
by Tom, Willem, Henry & Joe
SSR (Solar System Rescue)
by Aarav & Francesco
by Tresaanth & Oliver
by Devaansh
by Flo & Emilia
Team Bumblebee
by Rishi, Thomas, Sohil & Aryian
by Ipshita, Pratyusha & Vedhika
Maximum Velocity
by Anisa & Temidola
WSR - World Space Rescue
by Ayan
Marvellous MET
by Maya, Emily & Tilly
by Isaac
Guardians of the Galaxy
by Aashi, Kaylen & Soohie
by Liv
Infinity Startups
by Declan

Bronze Awards

The Intergalactic Rescue Agency
by Vu-Lam
by Edwin
Super Space Mission
by Millie, Seraphina, Sienna & Katherine
Space Saviours
by Parth & Moses
by Zishaan
International Space Rescue Organisation
by Katherine, Charlotte & Sofia
Space Amigos
by Oscar, Charlie & Oliver
by Rose & Tabitha
by Max, Seth & Khai
Space rescue
by Akshaya
by Elianna, Kyveli & Samuel
Space, Tracking And Rescue (S.T.A.R)
by Suhaan, Thomas, Ayaan & Dev
The Inter-Space-anauts
by Honor, Linda & Annabella
Space Rescue Unit (SRU)
by Ellis, Samira, Amy & Daniella
by Robert, Finley, Thomas & Amy
Solar Savers
by Shiv
CBS Rescue Mission
by Sophie, Beatrice & Christine
Covert Intelligence Squad
by Aditi
Galaxy Gang
by Alex, Nathan & Zoe
Company Of Mechanical Engineering Technologists (C.O.M.E.T)
by Maija, Avery & Amaya
The Courageous Crew
by Earl, Edward & Felicity
Astronauts In The Ocean
by Thomas & Neal
Red Planet Space Rescue
by Penny & Russell
ROTC (Rescue to the comet)
by Akshaj
HC Retrieval Squad
by Irfan
Speed of Light
by Vibusha & Diya
The Celestial Rescue Team
by Luna
Space Pig
by Ethan, Bertie & Ewan
by Matthew, Owen, Ehaan & Maxim
The Space Racers
by Felix
Chicken Master 2000
by Ben, Freddie & Jack
Space Striders
by Tiffany, Max, Mack & Alex

With thanks to our judging panel

Galactic Challenge Team
Aadil Kara
Chair, Galactic Challenge
Jenny Lyons
Director Education & Outreach, UKSDC
Bill Richards
CEO, Galactic Challenge
Evan Meyrick
Vice Chair, UKSDC
Alison Ahearn
Principal Teaching Fellow, Imperial College London
Harikesan Baskaran
Galactic Challenge Volunteer
Neelesh Ravichandran
UKSDC Design & Publications Committee Chair
Guest Judges
Amaan Abbas
ISSDC Alumnus, MB BS Medicine
Simon Coles
Company Founder & CEO
David Dubinsky
Aeronautical Engineer
Vicky Farrant
UKSDC Board Member
Nathan Hull
Engineer, Rolls-Royce
Nadiya Ivahnenko
UKSDC Alumna
Hanan Kara
Guest Judge
Ben Laws
Consultant Engineer, Siemens Process Systems Engineering
Sophia Lee Roberts
BSc Physics & Philosophy, UKSDC Alumna
Homam Limam
Guest Judge
Keith McFarlane
Chartered Engineer
Robert Mitchell
STEM Ambassador
Sung Soo Moon
MSci Physics
Richard Ou
BSc (King's), MSE (UPenn)
Martin Robinson
Payal Wagh
BSc Physics with Astrophysics (UCLan)
Emyr Williams
MEng Aeronautical Engineering (Imperial)