The SSDC for 2021 will be VIRTUAL!!  

More information coming soon! 

March 27-29, 2020 

This contest puts high school students in the shoes of aerospace 

Space Settlement Design Competition

industry professionals. The students are organized into four competing teams, or "companies", to design a facility in space that will accommodate several thousand people in a realistic scenario set in the later years of this century.

Each year the Competition organizers develop a new design challenge and scenario with its own unique requirements.  The four participating student  "companies" work to create a design and operating plan for the facility which meets the project requirements. Each team prepares a  written summary of 50 pages or less of their proposal and provides a 35-minute oral briefing to the competition judges that fully address the project requirements and communicates their ideas, designs, budgets and schedules.

As students conquer the problems inherent in designing a Space Settlement, the student participants learn and demonstrate:
  • creativity  
  • technical competence
  • management skills
  • space environment knowledge
  • teamwork and presentation techniques

Up to 200 students* in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades from: 

  • Colorado
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota 
  • Texas
* Only U.S. Citizens are permitted to participate. 

Each participating school sends a group of 4-5 along with 1 teacher chaperon. (Under special circumstances, more or less students can be accepted as long as a ratio of approximately 1 teacher chaperon to every 5 students is maintained).

SSDC is designed to appeal to students with interest in science, technology, engineering and math.  

Students interested in marketing, communications, or other business-related fields will find this experience of value also as it emulates most of the functions of a large aerospace company.

Space Settlement Design Competition allows students to experience what it is really like to work in industry.

Students have to work with the other members of their "company" to create a proposal for a large human facility somewhere in space.

This competition is intense! Each "company" has only 21 hours to prepare  a 50 page summary of their proposal of how they think the settlement should be designed,  built and operated, and also provide a 35 minute presentation of their design and plans to the judges.

The students are not on their own.  They are mentored by professionals from the space industry who volunteer to act as company CEO's and mentors during the competition.

Select members of the winning company will represent the JSC SSDC in the International Space Settlement Design Competition held at Kennedy Space Center, FL in late July, 2020.
When & Where

This year, the SSDC will take place March 27-29, 2020 at the Gilruth Center at Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas.

Student and chaperone registration must be completed by Thursday, February 20, 2020.