EIGHT teams of students from Cotswolds schools competed in the ‘RIAT on the Road 2022’ finals at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford on Saturday.

The Lockheed Martin Schools Engineering Challenge asked the engineers of the future to design and build a Mars fetch rover that would gather rock samples and also construct a launch system to fire Lockheed Martin’s Mars Ascent Vehicle into orbit.

The challenge involved programming, electrical and mechanical systems and construction skills.

The students - from Farmor’s, Archway, Cirencester Deer Park, Cirencester Kingshill, Highworth Warneford, The Cotswold School and Carterton Community College were supported by a Lockheed Martin mentor.

At 8:30 am teams were presented with the design brief and had 6 hours to complete the challenge.

Each student assigned themselves a role; structural engineers, software engineer, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer and team leader.

Marks were awarded for team work, robot coding, the launch system solution and launch distance achieved.

The Stroud team of Georgia Kay, Aleena Binu, Delara Badii, Harriet Apps and Molly Milbank, paired with Mark Whiteside, UK Spectrum Convergence Deputy Chief Engineer, created a winning robot perfectly coded to collect 3 samples.

These samples were accurately deposited in the drop zone.

A pressure pad that activated an electrical circuit then triggered a pulley system which fired the team’s well-built trebuchet structure that propelled the Mars Ascent Vehicle an exceptional 5.2 metres.

Despite the heat, the complexity of the challenge and the time pressure, this all-female team kept their heads cool, calm and collected putting their success down to good teamwork.