The Galactic Challenge (GC) 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 GC allows you to make.
In the Resources section you will find everything you need to either attend or run your own Galactic Challenge.
In the Support Pack you will find sample timetables, invitations for parents, an event checklist, and much more. If you register your interest in running a GC, we will allocate a liaison officer who will guide you through setting up your challenge.
The Galactic Challenge is set by the Foundation Society, a mythical company established in the not to distant future. Your students will be encouraged to combine current scientific knowledge with their futuristic visions, to come up with a design to fit the requests of the Foundation Society.
The Foundation Society’s requests will be set out in a formal document, exactly as they would be in industry, whether that be for building on Earth or in Space. This document is called a Request for Proposal, (RFP), and is closely guarded until the day of the competition. However, your students will receive a Press Release one week before the challenge day. This will set the scene for the day, and get imaginations working. The RFP is an industry document that is used in the real world. Although this one is set far in the future, it is the same document that companies receive to bid and compete for contracts with the space industry. The Foundation Society and the Galactic Challenge view you to be *just as smart and creative as anyone.
The RFP is not dumbed down in any way. We find wonderful ideas are generated, which are just as good as older students and adults. The Foundation Society views you as a uniquely special group and looks forward to seeing your designs.
Sign up for a Galactic Challenge and let the magic begin.
The GC 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.
Tips for Success
Carving your own path and strategy is often difficult in the Galactic Challenge 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.