JSC Space Settlement Design Competition October 15 - 17, 2013


This web site provides detailed information concerning the Space Settlement Design Competition (SSDC) to be conducted at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) over the weekend of Friday evening, March 15, to Sunday evening, March 17, 2013.

Information, instructions, forms needed to apply for participation, and contacts to request additional information are provided on this web site.

The SSDC is an industry simulation activity in which students learn about the characteristics and activities of real careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics by participating in a typical high intensity industrial assignment of great importance to the company, and requiring participation as a member of a large group of colleagues.  The SSDC is a very realistic introduction to the realities of a typical technical career.

The students participating in the SSDC are formed into four "companies" of comparable size and capability to compete for the award of a major contract for the design, development, and preparation of an operating plan for a large human base on the Moon in a detailed scenario set in the near future.  The "customer" for this contract is an imaginary private space development group called the "Foundation Society".  During the SSDC each of the four competing companies will prepare a detailed proposal to present to the Foundation Society.  The requirements of the contract are set forth in a detailed, multi-page Request for Proposal(RFP) which is provided to the four companies on Saturday morning after all orientation and training activities have been completed.  Each student company selects its own name and chooses its own student managers, as well as assigning all non-managers to one of the departments of the company.  Each company group has 21 hours to prepare a 50 page written proposal and a 35 minute oral briefing for the judges in response to the requirements of the RFP.  The Proposals and oral briefings are submitted at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, prior to the presentations to the Foundation Society judges.

The students learn the details of space science, engineering, math, technology, systems engineering, integration, safety and reliability principles, teamwork, communications techniques, presentation preparation, scheduling, cost estimating, and time management, among other disciplines.  The competition accurately emulates a real engineering company's high intensity activity with an overwhelming amount of work to be accomplished in a very short period of time, without sufficient information in many cases, while working with a group of colleagues who are strangers of unknown capabilities.  This educational format is unlike any other educational activity of which the SSDC organizers are aware.

The winning company for this SSDC will be allowed to select a limited subset of their members to return to JSC in July of 2013 to participate in the International Space Settlement Design Competition for global championship honors.

The SSDC is sponsored by the Johnson Space Center, associated aerospace companies, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the NASA Alumni League.