In order to make the RFP more manageable, it is broken down into sections that encapsulate linked concepts. The traditional company structure has a department to manage the requirements and deliverables of each of these sections.
It is important to recognise that the requirements of one department may imply a restriction on the settlement design that applies to everyone! Likewise, a design concept to fulfil one design requirement might be able to solve problems elsewhere. Therefore, it is advisable to understand the RFP as a complete entity, rather than a collection of sections!
RFPs in the current style are broken up into five named sections, of which the ‘Statement of Work’ is the most important. Within the statement of work, the requirements of the design and the requested deliverables are divided into five ‘core sections’.
The structural team will define the settlement design that all other departments rely on. This team will create drawings and external views of the settlement.
Join this department if you enjoy working with mechanical systems, material science, physics and problem solving.
- Design the overall structure of the settlement
- Provide other departments with dimensions for designs
- Select the core materials required to build settlement
- Assist other teams with locating and fitting their parts
- Physical intuition
- Spatial reasoning
- Drawing or CAD
- Creative problem solving
At the beginning of any space design competition, the structural engineering division have the crucial task of laying out a basic design. Many teams have had their entire proposals derailed by a structural team who didn’t lay out their vision clearly or flexibly enough.
This department must be the primary source of knowledge on the physics and geometry of the settlement (e.g. artificial gravity, available volume etc.). Furthermore, ensure that a subteam of this department is working on materials early on. Knowing what you’re making your settlement out of early on assists in defining the construction process and supply logistics.
Operations and Infrastructure
The Operations Engineering group have the daunting task of working out how the base will function on a day-to-day basis. Join this department if you enjoy managing multifaceted workflows and coordinating and optimising the operation of multiple, inter-linked systems.
- Provide life support systems for residents
- Produce power to run the settlement
- Ensure the settlement is able to fulfil its purpose
- Put procedures in place to manage the settlement
- Attention to detail
Operations Engineering has got its own section in the RFP, however members of this department will often find themselves working to facilitate other departments’ RFP points. This department will see the most benefit from a Systems Engineer role.
If you’re working in this department, make sure you account for all the latest changes across all other departments. Operations has to integrate the design as a whole, making sure that everyone’s hard work meshes into an operable settlement. Developing mathematical models to calculate operations requirements will save time when changes to other departments force changes to Operations.
The most important part of any settlement, is the people on it. Their safety comes before any stated commercial goals. The Human Engineering group has to ensure that each and every person who will live on this base is in a comfortable environment.
- Ensure that residents are comfortable
- Protect residents’ health
- Provide for the socials needs of individuals
- Ensure the protection of residents from industrial functions
- Visual communication
- 2D design and planning
The Human Engineering team will likely start working on their sections in parallel with Structural Design. This can cause conflicts later on when human requirements are not possible due to to the structure chosen; for example Human might require 24 million cubic feet of air, which might not fit in the structure designed.
It is therefore imperative that the Human group communicate with other departments to ensure that their requirements aren’t impeded by work others are doing. This is especially important with respect to internal layout. Furthermore, the Human engineering slides should be the most visually engaging of the presentation in order to sell your design. These will be time-consuming, so ensure that they do not have to be scrapped due to design changes.
Automation and Control Systems
In a world dominated by technology and automation, the role of this department cannot be understated.
The automation group to work on applying technology and robotics to give greater capabilities to and accelerate processes for your space settlement.
- Design and describe the robotic systems in the settlement
- Define and explain the computing architecture for the base
- Innovate to create a communications architecture
- Provide contingencies for emergency situations including hacking
- Computer science
- Logical thinking
The Automation department will play a huge role in any successful proposal. The speed, efficiency and accuracy that computers provide are essential to space exploration. Abstract planning allows Automation to get ahead during the day, as they are typically more able to adapt their ideas to changing designs.
Automation engineers must work with other departments to ensure that their needs are met by the automation department’s designs. The automation department should consider how to reduce the number of robots that they require; winning designs often substitute robots for alternative control systems.
Business and Marketing / Schedule and Cost
When it comes to big projects, clients must be convinced that you can actually manage your claims. The Business and Marketing group (renamed to Schedule and Cost if there are no specific business goals) are responsible for showing your professional competence to the Foundation Society.
- Compilation and orchestration of the final presentation
- Explain the costs for the design
- Show how the design will be realised on time
- Ensure that the settlement fufils business goals
- Attention to detail
- Business acumen
Workers in this department should be integrated into the other departments to keep track of costs and develop plans for bringing designs to fruition. Ensuring that costs are tracked as systems are included in the design ensures better accuracy in the final total. Considering cost reduction at the design stage is critical to realistically reducing costs.
Business plans should be considered as early as possible, so that any derived requirements can be passed to the appropriate department.