The UKSDC is a multi-faceted competition with lots of content and history that can be intimidating when you’re first starting out. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know everything from the beginning – you can learn as you take part!
This page is intended to provide resources to explain the fictional elements of the competition and help you to get acquainted with some of the more complex engineering and business decisions that the UKSDC allows you to make.
The UKSDC sets its challenges in a fictional version of the solar system where significant infrastructure has been built and living in space is not uncommon. To facilitate this, many companies exist to design new settlements and to provide services, both for construction and operation.
Prime contractors are large companies who will dedicate time and money to responding to a request for proposal. You will take the role of an employee in a design team working on one of these proposals.
The reason for this setting to help give a sense of how large projects often work: with many ‘subcontractors’ being employed to offer expertise and services: despite being in space, no project exists in a vacuum! Prime contractors often employ hundreds of subcontractors on terrestrial projects. A selection of these services are made available to help you, as a prime contractor, design a settlement that will fulfil the needs of its client.
That client is The Foundation Society, an international governmental collaboration to ensure the shared, peaceful, and safe development of outer space. They have commissioned a large number of expensive space settlements with significant industrial capacity that future developments can draw upon.
Tips for Success
Carving your own path and strategy is often difficult in the UKSDC and even interpreting the task might be a daunting challenge. See our tips on understanding the Request for Proposal (RFP), managing the task, and creating an impactful presentation in order to best set yourself up for success within the competition!
The authors are alumni of the competition and offer their advice on managing difficulties or service/software choices. These are not the only, or even the best, ways to approach problems you may face but come from the experience of the authors throughout their time with the competition. This is designed to be about as in depth as can be throughout and so do not feel obliged to read everything, only what you believe will assist in your role at the competition.
You can find a sample RFP on the About page of our website, along with an overview of the competition structure.