REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (RFP) - for qualifying competition teams

What is an RFP?

A Request For Proposal (aka RFP) is a detailed specification of what a customer requires a contractor to complete. This Space Settlement Design Competition RFP typically contains the following sections:

Basic Requirements – A brief description of the general purpose and location of the space settlement.

Structural Design – Requirements regarding the design, layout and construction of the space settlement.

Operations and Infrastructure – Requirements regarding the facilities  and infrastructure required for the construction and operation of the space settlement.

Human Factors and Safety – Requirements to maintain safety, minimize the psychological and physiological degradation of humans inhabiting the space settlement.

Automation Design and Services – Requirements regarding the use of robots, computer networks and security for the construction and operation of the space settlement.

Schedule and Cost – Requirements regarding the scheduling and cost of the development and occupation of the space settlement.

Business Development – Requirements regarding business ventures pertaining to the purpose of the space settlement.

Within each section there are multiple RFP points which consist of a detailed description of the requirement and a minimum requirement. At any Space Settlement Design Competition, it is a good idea to ensure that students have met the minimum requirements before tackling some of the more challenging details of the requirements. An example of an RFP point can be seen below (taken from ISSDC 2020 RFP, Human Factors and Safety, Argonom)

Argonom will provide facilities for services that residents could expect in a comfortable modern community environment (e.g., medical, parks and recreation, access to fine food and entertainment), variety and quantity of consumables and other supplies, and public areas designed with open space and long lines of sight. Show how the community changes as new residents arrive. Minimum requirement: map(s) and/or illustrations depicting overall community design at several population phases, including locations of amenities/services, with a distance scale.

RFP tips and tricks

Read the RFP! – The RFP is a very detailed document which states exactly what the customer wants but because of the way the RFP is written, some requirements may be open to interpretation. The RFP defines what the customer wants; your proposal will describe how your company provides what the customer wants. It is very common that students come up with creative solutions and they spend hours developing them. However, when they review the solutions or present them to the Foundation Society, they have instead designed something that does not answer the RFP! A good practice is to read and re-read the RFP to understand what the customer is asking you to do. The better you can understand what your customer wants, the better your proposal will be

Communication is key – When you first read the RFP, it is instinctive to assign sections to their corresponding departments (e.g. Structural Design work on the Structural Design requirements). The more you read the RFP, the more you will see that so many of the requirements require collaboration between the departments. To do this successfully requires effective communication between the departments which is much easier said than done!