The Durango Aerospace Design Team shot the moon in its trip to the World Finals of the International Space Settlement Design Competition at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The Durango youths were part of the team championship effort and swept all the individual awards during competition Saturday through Monday.
The project involved designing a settlement on the moon.
The 14-member Durango team, which has been competing annually, worked this year with students from schools from India, Wales, Australia and Iowa/Texas. The DHS team has now won this competition six times (2001, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2014).
Team member Bella Bussian, contacted by cellphone Tuesday as the team drove back to Durango from Albuquerque, said they had about 40 hours to complete the project. They began midday Saturday, and the deadline was 7:30 a.m. Monday.
“A lot of people didn’t get any sleep,” Bussian said. She estimated she slept for about five hours combined on Saturday and Sunday nights.
“We’re pretty tired, but we’re pretty happy with how we did,” she said.
Durango was part of a team that basically functioned as an aerospace and engineering firm, Bussian explained.
Three individual honors are awarded, and all went to Durango students:
Jocelyn Zemach won the Jingle Lutz Award for best female presenter.
Ben Wilbur won the Best Male Presenter award.
Haakon Sigurslid won the Dick Edwards Award, given to the best student leader from each company.
Dan Garner, team coach and Durango High School English teacher, said in an email that the students first received technical briefings from industry experts with experience in automation engineering, human factors, structural engineering, operations and infrastructure and management. Students then got the request for proposal setting their mission: to design a settlement on the moon that specializes in the manufacture, operations and maintenance of a city with the primary purpose of outfitting assaying, surveying and mining operations in search of titanium, thorium and helium 3.
Garner wrote that Sigurslid, a graduating senior, was elected as president of the combined team known as “Dougledyne and Flechtel Astrosystems.” The team also elected graduating senior Mariah Dorsey as systems engineer and junior-to-be Charlie Greenberg as chief financial officer. Durango also opted to take managerial positions in these areas: Mallory Byrd as vice president of structural engineering, Elle Rathbun as VP of operations and infrastructure, Bussian as VP of human factors and Jesse Rubenstein as VP of automations engineering.
Garner wrote that about 300 students traveled to NASA from around the world “in one of the most rigorous and truly immersive industry simulations available to high school students today.”
The Durango Education Foundation gathered contributions from science education supporter Bill Mensch (Bill and Dianne Mensch Foundation) and StoneAge Tools founders John Wolgamott and Jerry Zink, then added money from the DEF Student Competition Travel Fund to meet the travel expenses. The extra money collected will help the team with 2014-15 school-year programs and travel, as well.