International Space Settlement Design Competition
Although prior Competition proposals were generally very impressive
documents, the RFPs are always challenging and there is room for
improvement. Based on proposals produced in prior years, we offer the
following suggestions to the competing teams:
The Competition Co-Founders are familiar with space settlement designs
you can find on the Internet, especially those associated with the
1970's NASA studies. It is expected that you will develop a new and
original design in response to the RFP. Competition organizers and
judges do recognize, however, that it is inefficient design practice
to "reinvent the wheel", so judicious use of existing technologies and
ideas is expected. Per standard industry and scientific policy, it is
necessary to attribute (document the source of) any design concept not
developed specifically for this RFP. Be sure to reference websites,
books, magazines, and even your team's own prior work used as sources for
this proposal. For example, designs from a prior Competition proposal
MUST reference the prior proposal as a source of the concept. WARNING:
if the judges see the same design drawing and/or descriptive text in more
than one proposal, any proposals that include the duplicated information
will be penalized if they do not attribute the source(s) of the ideas.
Pay attention to the technologies accepted for the Competition, as
described in the materials posted on our website and provided in this
package. For example, fusion electrical power is specifically disallowed.
Space elevators are not included in the technology descriptions because
materials that could enable them to be built do not exist (note: carbon
nanotubes show promise, but a 2009 conference on Space Elevators confirmed
they are not yet the answer). The Competition Co-Founders personally know
many of the people on the cutting edge of these and other technologies,
and are familiar with their work. Do not believe everything you see on
the Internet. Innovation and creativity are, however, encouraged--within
the Laws of Physics.
Follow instructions carefully! Most proposals did not meet the
"minimum requirements" defined in the RFP to include specific tables
Follow instructions carefully! If you post illustrations in a website,
you must allocate space in your proposal page count to show copies of
those illustrations. A general expectation is that every proposal
sub-section (e.g., 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3) that references illustrations
in the website will include an illustration of the required size.
Deviations from this rule are penalized in the scoring.
Follow instructions carefully! Teams often try to squeeze more
information into the page allowance by narrowing margins, reducing font
size, or even including fold-out pages. Even tiny compression of font
size (e.g., to 95%) is readily apparent to Judges who have seen hundreds
of properly-formatted proposals. These deviations from the requirements
are penalized in the scoring.
Artwork is very important to show your designs, and not only for the
Judges. We sense that teams which include more and better illustrations
produce proposals with more internal consistency between proposal
sections; artwork enables your team members to share the vision of the
design and understand how their pieces fit into it. Be sure especially
to show orientation of floors and decks with respect to settlement
rotation--be careful not to show any representation that the judges may
interpret as showing floors or decks oriented improperly.
Generalizations do not score well; specific descriptions earn points.
Show the Judges that you understand what the RFP requests and you know
how to provide what the customer needs.
Finally, the Competition organizers and Judges recognize that it is
impossible to thoroughly address every RFP point in only 40 pages. Much
of your team's success will depend on your ability to conserve pagecount
by succinctly and cleverly compressing data into the allowed format.
All of your competitors are facing exactly the same challenge. The
successful teams will be those that persevere through the frustration
of a very difficult task.