When ?

SpaceSet competitions are set fifty years in the future, in a fictional futuristic society where humanity has expanded into the solar system. Each competition cycle involves the design and development of the next iterative expansion from Earth – from the very first settlement in earth orbit through to the colonization of the asteroid belt.

Participants enter the SpaceSet environment, and discover a rich, immersive world – ‘futuristic’ technology extrapolated from today’s cutting edge, sub-contractors that specialise in off-world equipment, and existing inter-system infrastructure they can leverage in their designs. This canon is annually incremental, meaning that each settlement is available for use in the next competition scenario; the overall canon refreshes on a roughly five-year cadence.

What ?

Each new settlement is sponsored by the Foundation Society, a philanthropic entity that, in fifty years, has found itself as the intra-solar body responsible for delivering humanity to the far reaches of space. Each year, the Society releases a Request For Proposal (RFP) – a series of requirements that outline the next space settlement they wish to develop.

Private companies and contractors are then invited to respond to this RFP – researching the problem, designing a solution, and delivering their vision for the next human settlement in a forty-page business proposal. The Society is then able to review competing proposals and designs and select the winning design for construction!

SpaceSet competitions are all about students preparing one of these proposals: a response to a request to build a space settlement.


Read more about the Foundation Society here.

Look at previous RFP examples here.

Who ?

SpaceSet participants are no longer students – when they compete in SpaceSet, they become engineers, scientists, and executives in NorthDonning Heedwell, one of the most successful aerospace engineering consortiums in history.

Participants adopt roles within the company – from CEO, through Department Heads, and to technical staff within each Department. They are encouraged to extrapolate from today’s cutting edge – defining what may be plausibly feasible in this futuristic environment.

Look at the standard organisation structure within SpaceSet

Teams can range in size from a pair, through to a maximum of twelve; otherwise, there are no restrictions on composition. Different skills, ages, genders, experiences, and even geographies can all be beneficial!

Proposal Evaluation ?

In their dealings with aerospace organisations, the Society look for the following:

    1. Innovation
    2. Balance
    3. Credibility
    4. Thoroughness

All participants must be aware of the overwhelming focus the Society places on these criteria – and are recommended to calibrate their designs and proposals accordingly!

For the purposes of ISSDC, proposals are independently judged by engineers from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Houston (Texas) Section – all of whom work in and near NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC).


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