Engineering apprentices at the MTC’s Lloyds Bank Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre (AMTC) near Coventry are celebrating after reaching the final of a national competition to design a habitation module suitable for manufacturing on the Moon.
As British astronaut, Tim Peake, orbits the Earth while carrying out vital scientific research that could advance space exploration to new planets, the team of six Year 2 apprentices – who are all working towards a Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Engineering – are themselves busy completing their own research and designs for the next stage of their lunar project to present to a panel of national judges.
The Cranfield University competition is an exciting opportunity for Rishi Chohan; Kerry Smith; Harpeet Singh; John Hubbard; Christopher James, and Matthew Pierson to put their engineering skills to the test and stretch their imagination.
Managing director of the Coventry-based training centre, Paul Rowlett commented: “With space exploration in the news, this is a particularly exciting time to be involved in this project.
“Lunar resources are essential for advancing the prospects for colonisation of the Moon and this competition could produce some exciting concepts to inspire progress.”
The team’s design must take into careful consideration the challenging environment on the Moon, such as air pressure differences inside and outside the module and the effects of the Moon’s atmosphere on the stresses and strains on the structure.
The requirements of its occupants, such as the amount of oxygen; food; water, and equipment required for the 21 days away from the Lunar Dome base, must also be taken into account, together with the cost, sustainability and mass of the materials used.
Rishi Chohan explained: “Our apprenticeship gives us great experience in all the right disciplines which we can use to ensure our habitation module project is successful.
Recruitment is currently underway for the next intake of apprentices at the MTC’s Lloyds Bank Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre. To find out more about the apprenticeships, please email [email protected] or visit www.the-mtc.org.
“We’re using tooling fixturing; electronics manufacturing; intelligent automation; net shape, and additive layer manufacturing, metrology and manufacturing simulation, to name a few.
“The facilities at the centre enable us to work with the latest technology and equipment, so we can learn the best process to manufacture and design in the most cost efficient and productive way.”
Kerry Smith added: “We’ve been getting great support and expert advice from the many specialist engineers and industry professionals based here.
“This helps us expand our own knowledge and confidence in our final design. We will then produce a prototype to ensure it’s capable of being manufactured and assembled on the Moon easily.”
The apprentices will join other finalists to showcase their innovative ideas to a panel of national judges, with awards presented at Cranfield University in May.