The Galactic Challenge is an engineering industry simulation competition. You will become part of an aerospace ‘company’ and compete against other teams (as well as the clock!) to design a space settlement in just a few hours. The task is given by the Foundation Society, a fictional organisation working to expand humanity’s frontiers in space.

The competition is a standalone event, usually lasting from 9am to 5pm on a single day.

Companies are formed from one or more school teams*; you will get to know who your colleagues are on the morning of the competition. A briefing session will give you all the background information you need for the day, before companies split off into their separate headquarters to begin working on designs.

The task is a complex one and can only be completed with the combined efforts of all individuals in the company. Your team will divide the work between four major engineering disciplines:

  • Structural engineering– concerns the overall layouts of the settlement.
  • Operations engineering– determines the infrastructure that makes the settlement work
  • Human engineering – decide the best way to make life easier for the human occupants of the settlement
  • Automation engineering– concerns all aspects of communication, computer and robotics

These four departments are brought together by a company president, and the vice presidents of engineering and marketing. Self-nomination and elections for these posts are held within each company following the briefing.

Your company is also supported by a volunteer CEO usually an alumnus of the national and international competitions for senior students. The Galactic Challenge is a student-led project: your CEO will only guide you towards discovering the answers you need, but won’t provide them.

In the morning a copy of the all-important Request for Proposal (RFP) is delivered to your company headquarters. This is a document produced by the Foundation Society that lists all the requirements expected from your design. We’ve designed the RFP to be challenging; the best solutions come from teams with imagination, creativity and collaborative skills – to name but a few of the things that the judges will be looking for.

At the end of the day, you team will present your proposals to a panel representing the Foundation Society. Parents, guardians and siblings are welcome to also attend these presentations so that they can see what you have been working on.

Once all companies have presented their designs, the judges will evaluate them against the Request for Proposal, and then announce a winner……

The Galactic Challenge is a version of the UK Space Design Competition (UKSDC) that has been especially tailored for younger participants. Many  teams from the  Galactic Challenge will later go on to take part in the UKSDC senior competitions.

*Individuals and science clubs are also welcome to apply