Aerospace Education Competitions is a completely volunteer-run organization, with no paid employees.
Space Settlement Design Competition events in the U.S. and Canada rely on a large “family” of volunteers who travel to in-person Semi-Finals in five different Regions, and Finals at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Many have also traveled to Semi-Finals and even national events in other Regions, most notably Asia. When in-person events have not been possible, volunteers dedicate weekends to participate virtually. Volunteers serve as Design Competition “Company” CEOs, Technical Experts doing presentations for and providing advice to student participants, and Judges of student presentations.
Preparations for each Competition event involve volunteers who arrange for facilities and food, collect registrations, assign students to “Companies”, distribute background information to participants, arrange for on-site copying and other support, and perform a myriad of other duties mostly invisible to the student participants. Co-Founder Anita Gale still prepares most of the “future history” information in each Program Book, and writes RFPs that define what students will design at each event.
Most of our volunteers are engineers and managers (some retired) in real companies and government agencies, including aerospace companies and NASA. Astronauts, authors, visionaries, and National Space Society officers have occasionally volunteered. Some of our volunteers are past student participants coming back to enjoy the Competition experience from a different perspective—and some of these are now engineers and managers in the aerospace industry.