Students for the Exploration and Development of Space

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Students for the Exploration and Development of Space
Founded October 30, 1980
Founder Peter Diamandis, Robert D. Richards, and Todd B. Hawley
Type Student Organization
Focus "to promote the exploration and development of space"
Origins Started at MIT and expanded by letter to Omni Magazine
Area served
Method Student Collaboration and Connections with Space Companies
Key people

Hannah Kerner (current SEDS-USA Chair),

Ankur Jain (current SEDS-India president), Jeremy Nickless (current UKSEDS Chair)
Endowment Currently SEDS-USA building national endowment.
Slogan Ad Astra per Ardua!
Website, [3]

Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) is an international student organization whose purpose is to promote space exploration and development through educational and engineering projects.[1]


Students for the Exploration and Development of Space was founded in 1980 at MIT, Princeton University, and Yale University,[2] and consists of an international group of high school, undergraduate, and graduate students from a diverse range of educational backgrounds who are working to promote space. SEDS is a chapter-based organization with chapters in Canada, India, Israel, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States. The permanent National Headquarters for SEDS-USA resides at MIT and that of SEDS-India at VIT University. Each chapter is fairly independent and coordinates activities and projects in its own area.


SEDS is established by on September 17, 1980 primarily by Peter Diamandis, Robert D. Richards, and Todd B. Hawley and their first meeting was held on Thursday, October 30, 1980.[3] After the initial meetings in 1980, SEDS president Peter Diamandis wrote a letter to the editor of Omni magazine deploring the status of the space program and asking students to help make a difference. The letter, published in Omni in early 1981, attracted students from around the world to SEDS. This laid the foundations for the first SEDS international conference, held at George Washington University between July 15–19, 1982.[4] As the decade progressed, SEDS continued to have more international conferences, which rotated among schools including George Washington University (again), University of Alabama in Huntsville, and Caltech. During the end of the decade, UKSEDS was founded at the Science Museum (London) and held their first conference at the University of Cambridge during 25–26 November 1989.[5]


During the 1990s SEDS continued to host a national conference each year, sometimes in conjunction with the International Space Development Conference through 1997, when the last "SEDS National Conference" was held (conferences would re-appear 7 years later as the "SEDS SpaceVision Conference"). UKSEDS continued to have national conferences at rotating locations each year. During the last years of the decade there was a major decline in SEDS leadership and a connected drop in the number of member chapters around the United States.


In 2004 the SEDS National Conferences were re-established by MITSEDS and hosted on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on November 11–14.[6] The conference was renamed the SEDS SpaceVision conference and featured many speakers who would return year after year during this decade, including Loretta Hidalgo, founder Dr. Robert Richards, Rick Tumlinson, George Whitesides, Robert Zubrin, and Pete Worden. The SpaceVision conference then visited University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2005), University of Central Florida (2006), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2007), Texas A&M University (2008), University of Arizona (2009), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2010), University of Colorado at Boulder (2011), University at Buffalo (2012), and Arizona State University (2013). SpaceVision 2014 will be hosted by UNC Chapel Hill[7][8] During this time, UKSEDS continued to have one national conference each year. SEDS India, after hosting the SEDS International conference in 2007, continued with SEDS India National Conferences every year since 2009 at VIT University, Vellore, India. SEDS also began exploring innovative national projects such as fund-raising for a joint SEDS chapter Zero-G flight and designing an innovative national Rockoon competition modeled after the Ansari X PRIZE.

Active SEDS-USA projects[edit]

SEDS-USA organizes annual and rolling projects to engage its members in space-related activities. Two such projects are:

SEDS High-Power Rocketry Competition[edit]

This is a competition between chapters designed to challenge students in high-power rocketry.[9] The goal of the competition is to launch a rocket, designed and built by the chapter members, to an altitude of 10,000 feet above sea-level. This competition has now successfully run for 2 years. The winner of the 2012 competition was Purdue-SEDS.

Student NewSpace Business Plan Competition[edit]

Started in 2011, this competition is co-organized with the Space Frontier Foundation [10] and aims to provide students with a real-world experience in entrepreneurship applied to the space industry. Students are required to develop space-scalable business models that will advance the NewSpace movement and are judged by a panel of 5 experts who have had several years of experience in space entrepreneurship. The winners of the 2011 and 2012 competitions were Illinois State University[11] and Iowa State University respectively.

Organizational structure[edit]

SEDS is organized by country, region, and chapter. There is a large contingent of SEDS chapters in the United States, which are governed regionally and nationally by SEDS-USA. SEDS India has nine SEDS chapters under it with its headquarters at VIT University. There are also other national sections of SEDS across the world and these disparate groups of students communicate and organize together via SEDS-Earth, the global governing body of SEDS. SEDS is also an organization member of the Alliance for Space Development.[12]


SEDS-USA is the governing body of all chapters in the United States. It is overseen by a national Board of Directors, Board of Advisers and a Board of Trustees. An integral aspect of SEDS-USA is the Council of Chapters (CoC). This council consists of national representatives of each chapter and is led by the Director of Chapter Affairs. The CoC meets via teleconference once every two weeks to exchange updates between individual chapters and the national board. The 2013–14 national directors of SEDS-USA are listed below.[13]

Position Description Board Member
Chair Preside over board and oversee decision-making process. Hannah Kerner (UNC Chapel Hill)
Vice-Chair Alumni and Advisers liaison. Leads fundraising efforts. Jack Lightholder (Arizona State University)
Director of Finance Keep financial records and control legal and financial matters. Audrey Horne (UNC Chapel Hill)
Director of Chapter Affairs Conduct CoC meetings and work with SEDS-USA chapters. Kristina Monakhova (University at Buffalo)
Secretary Set up meeting rooms for SEDS-USA national meetings and take minutes. Andrew Harris (University at Buffalo)
At-Large (1) Work on general tasks that require action within SEDS-USA. Michael D'Angelo (Stanford University)
At-Large (1) Work on general tasks that require action within SEDS-USA. Arjumand Alvi (Colorado School of Mines)


UK Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (UKSEDS) is the UK’s national student space society. They support students and enthusiasts across the United Kingdom by running space projects, hosting conferences and workshops, and doing outreach to inspire and educate. They build links between different parts of the space community within the UK and internationally.

UKSEDS began in 1988, when several students who had attended International Space University (ISU)'s first Space Studies Program which was held at MIT made the decision to set up the organisation in the UK. A founding conference was held in March 1989 at London’s Science Museum, with a full conference at Cambridge University in November of that year.

SEDS UAE[edit]

The SEDS UAE Chapter is based at the Our Own English High School in Abu Dhabi. This chapter was founded by a high school student, Nishith Khandwala. Members of SEDS UAE engage themselves in various activities and programs such as the International Asteroid Search Campaign.[14][15]

Space Exploration and India[edit]

India is ramping up her space capabilities in an effort to be seen as a major global space power. She is moving beyond her traditional missions of developing communications and remote sensing satellites to focus on new areas, like navigation. She is also working on her first mission to the Moon and has indicated her interest in undertaking manned missions in the future. India’s space program is branching out into new fields, including deep space exploration and space science. Its R&D facilities have been pioneers in development of indigenous capabilities in almost every sphere of satellite and launch vehicle development. Apart from being accredited with being the curators of vast amounts of astronomical know-how from pre-historic times, India has always understood the importance of Space Exploration and its incomprehensible benefits for mankind. As she sees the dawn of a new era of a developed and dynamic nation, India is ready to spread its wings far and wide and conquer this final frontier called SPACE!


SEDS-India is the governing body of SEDS in India with its headquarters at VIT University.SEDS in India was started in 2004 by Mr. Pradeep Mohandas, an undergrad engineering student and an all time space lover and by Mr. Abhishek Ray. The first chapter sprang up in Mumbai at PIIT, New Panvel and had 5 members, a humble beginning for this now vibrant community of amateur Space Explorers, hobbyists and enthusiasts.

The governing body was set up in 2005 to co-ordinate the activities, projects, events and outreach of all the affiliated member chapters of SEDS India. The Executive council of SEDS India consists of six Board Members who are selected through a rigorous voting process, all the individual members of SEDS India are eligible to Vote to select their Committee. The Committee serves for a period of one year and works towards expansion of the Chapter Base in India. SEDS India has successfully conducted four Conferences in the past and shall in the coming years regularize the concept of SEDS India National Conference or the SEDS International Conference, held across 2007-2012. SEDS India has funding secured for six projects which are carried out by its Chapter Members. There have been active collaboration with various organizations in the Space Industry that guide SEDS India in the right direction. The Permanent Trustee of SEDS India is Dr. Geetha Manivasagam, Professor, VIT University. The advisory panel has various accomplished dignitaries on its board, including the Associate Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Center.

The Outreach program of SEDS India, OneSpace, has been a great success in the affiliated chapters. The main aim of the outreach program is to spread awareness about space among the under privileged children in rural India and also an extensive set of events and activities that are designed especially for the children residing in Orphanages. Children are made to learn about the importance of Space Exploration and Research at the grass root level.

SEDS India has ten affiliated chapters in India at various universities. They are VIT University, Sri Ramakrishna Engineering College, Nehru Institute of Engineering and Technology, VEL Tech, National Institute of Technology Warangal, Saveetha Engineering College, Kumaraguru College of Engineering, Indian School of Mines Dhanbad, Gyan Ganga Institute of Technology and SASTRA UNIVERSITY. The Chapter affairs are controlled by the Local Chapter Committee which reports to the President of SEDS India.

Position Description Board Member
President Presides over board and oversee decision-making process, overall representative of SEDS in India. Ankur Jain (VIT University)
Vice-President Alumni and Advisers liaison. Koduru Vamsi Krishna(SASTRA University)
Secretary Set up meeting for SEDS-India national meetings and take minutes. Saumya Vats (VIT University)
Joint Secretary Events and Projects Oversee the Events and Projects under SEDS India. Harsha Bharadwaj(Sastra University)
Joint Secretary Public Relations and Outreach Produce public releases, educational materials about space for outreach activities and handle social media, other public interactions. Taneesha Chawla (VIT University)
Treasurer Handle financial accounts. Ankit Tripathi(VIT University).

SEDS-Chennai Chapter[edit]

SEDS Chennai
Founded November 7, 2014
Type Non Profit Student Organization
Focus "to promote the exploration and development of space"
Area served
Chennai Region
Method Student Collaboration
Key people

Karna Vignesh (current SEDS-Chennai President),

Murugan N(current SEDS-Chennai Staff Coordinator)

SEDS Chennai was formed under SEDS-India in November 2014, headquartered at Vel Tech University- Chennai, is a Chapter acknowledged by SEDS-India and has nearly 400 members. The foundation ceremony was held at Veltech University on 7 November 2014 with Mr.R Dorairaj, EX-Project Manager(ISRO), presiding over the function as the Chief Guest.

Organisation Structure[edit]

Position Description Board Member
President Presides over board and oversee decision-making process, overall representative of SEDS-Chennai. Karna Vignesh
Vice-President In-Charge for the president Rachna Harsh
Secretary Set up meeting for SEDS-Chennai council meetings and take minutes. Annapurneshwari S
Head Of Projects Oversee the Projects under SEDS Chennai. Komal Thakur
Head Of Events Oversee the Events under SEDS Chennai. Varney Courtinho Plato & Megha
Head Of Outreach and Public Relations Produce public releases, educational materials about space for outreach activities and handle social media, other public interactions. Parveer Sandhu, Sandeep Shekar, Karthick M & Guruprassath S
Treasurers Handle financial accounts. Sareddy Kullai Reddy & Deepak S

About SEDS in North-East India?[edit]

Though SEDS is a very famous Student society served world-wide, still its vision are yet to spread in Northeastern India due lack of modern views about space science among the present teenage population. Still there has been initiatives by SEDS-India to establish its chapters in the northeast. In tis initiative with the help of Angaraj Duara, alumni of Maharishi Vidyamandir Shilpukhuri, Guwahati, SEDS INDIA established seven chapters in Assam (between August and September 2013) in - Army Public School Narangi, Sharla Birla Gyan Jyoti School Guwahati, IIT-Guwahati, Handique Girls College, Royal Global Institute - RSET Guwahati, Donbosco Public School Panbazar and at last Tezpur University. SEDS-APSN was the first chapter among SEDS chapters in the northeast of India. Later it was decided to constitute a SEDS-NorthEast Chapter to govern SEDS activities in the northeast.

SEDS - APSN Chapter - A Chapter under SEDS-India[edit]

Students for the Exploration and Development of Space - APSN
SEDS-APSN logo.jpeg
Founded August 20, 2013
Type Student Organization
Focus "to promote the exploration and development of space"
Area served
Army Public School, Narangi
Method Student Collaboration and Connections with Space Companies
Key people

Bishal Baishya (current SEDS-APSN Head of Projects),

Miss Monmi Goswami(current SEDS-APSN Staff Coordinator)

It was the middle of the year 2013 (on 20 August 2013), when it was decided in Army Public School Narangi, to spread SEDS' vision in the school and established SEDS - APSN Chapter. They support student enthusiasts in the school by helding, hosting [4], and doing [5] to inspire and educate about the recent happenings in arena of space science and also about career in Space Science.

SEDS-APSN is a unique Chapter of SEDS - INDIA as being the first chapter of SEDS-INDIA in the whole of Northeast India. SEDS - APSN was set up on 20 August 2013 on initiative by SEDS-India and contribution of Angaraj Duara and support of Mrs. Prabha Dastidar, Principal of Army Public School Narangi, Guwahati to promote the interest of students in Space Science with full contribution by Miss Monmi Goswami(PGT Chemistry) and Bishal Baishya(then Head of Projects).

Notable student leaders[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "What is SEDS?". Retrieved 2008-09-05. [dead link]
  2. ^ Diamandis, P., "Space Interest Group for Students," Omni, July 1981, pp 14-15.
  3. ^ "Logbook Cover and Meeting Minutes," 1980, SEDS History Project.
  4. ^ "SEDS 1982 Program Documents", 1982, SEDS History Project.
  5. ^ "SEDS 1989 History", 1989, SEDS History Project.
  6. ^ "SpaceVision 2004 Website", 2004, MITSEDS.
  7. ^ "SpaceVision 2014 website", 2014, [1].
  8. ^ "SEDS SpaceVision Conference Notes", 2008, SEDS Wiki.
  9. ^ "SEDS High-Power Rocketry Competition"
  10. ^ "Student NewSpace Business Plan Competition"
  11. ^ "Student NewSpace Business Plan Competition - 2011 Winners"
  12. ^ ASD Members, Alliance for Space Development, retrieved March 4, 2015 
  13. ^ "SEDS-USA Board of Directors,"[2].
  14. ^ SEDSUAE website
  15. ^ IASC website
  16. ^ Whoriskey, Peter (2013-08-12). "For Jeff Bezos, a new frontier". Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-08-10. At Princeton, the high achiever seemed to continue his geeky triumphs. He was president of a club called Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. He was elected to two honor societies, Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi. He graduated summa cum laude. 

External links[edit]