REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS
This lesson plan by teacher Patrick Young provides a simulated
request for proposals as an aid for developing space settlement
The United Nations Space Agency (UNSA) is requesting proposals
for the design and construction of an orbital space colony
The OSC has three missions:
- To demonstrate that orbital space colonies can be
self-sufficient communities which provide residents with a high
quality of life.
- To demonstrate the economic viability of low gravity
- To perform scientific research that can not be duplicated on
The OSC shall be located in orbit around the Earth or its moon.
- RESIDENTIAL LIVING QUARTERS
The OSC shall provide comfortable living quarters for 1200
permanent residents (of all ages) as well as living quarters for up
to 200 visitors. All living areas shall maintain a constant
downward acceleration of 0.4 - 0.9 g.
- MANUFACTURING FACILITY
The OSC shall provide a single contiguous volume of 10,000 m3 to be
used for low gravity manufacturing operations. The facility shall
maintain a constant acceleration of less than 0.05 g. UNSA will
provide the manufacturing machinery which will mass 5,000 kg and
require 85 kW of electrical power.
- SCIENCE LABORATORIES
The OSC shall provide 4,000 m3of volume to be used for
science laboratories. Half of this volume shall maintain a constant
acceleration of less than 0.05 g. The remaining volume shall
maintain a constant acceleration of 0.4 - 0.9 g. UNSA will provide
the laboratory equipment which can be expected to mass 3,000 kg and
require 9 kW of electrical power.
- MEDICAL CENTER
The OSC shall provide at least 1,000 m3of volume for
medical facilities. The medical center shall contain all equipment
necessary to maintain the health of residents and visitors. The
medical center shall maintain a constant acceleration of 0.8 - 0.9
- AGRICULTURAL AREAS
The OSC shall provide at least 200,000 m2of area for
growing crops. This entire area must receive sufficient sunlight
for plant growth. Livestock pens may be used for domesticated
animals. The OSC shall be completely self-sufficient in terms of
- ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL
The OSC shall maintain the following environmental conditions:
The atmosphere shall be maintained free from pollutants. Healthy
levels of O2and CO2 must be maintained
through a regenerative ecosystem including residents, livestock (if
any) and agricultural crops.
- Internal Temperature: 15 to 22 degrees C
- Internal Pressure: Constant at 0.5 to 1.0 atm
Imports of lunar or cometary water are acceptable but must be
minimized. All water used on the OSC shall be recycled to the
maximum possible extent.
All food consumed in the OSC shall be processed locally. A healthy
diet shall be provided for all residents and visitors. No food
imports from Earth will be possible.
The OSC shall be self-sufficient in terms of energy production. If
fission reactors are used, fuel rods may be imported from Earth.
Renewable energy sources are preferred.
The OSC shall be shielded from cosmic radiation and solar flares.
Residents and agricultural crops shall not receive more than 5 rem
The OSC shall provide facilities for docking at least three
spacecraft simultaneously. At least one cargo loading bay shall be
provided with a doorway area of 30 m2.
The rotational period of the OSC shall not be less than 40 seconds.
The OSC shall provide appropriate space and equipment for the
- administrative offices
- workshops for manufacturing of locally consumed goods
- shops for retail sales of consumer goods
- warehousing for raw materials and consumer goods
- office space for retail services
- educational facilities for children and adults
- recreation facilities
- chapel for religious services
- machine and electrical shops for equipment repair
- waste disposal systems
- an Operations Center from which OSC functions are monitored and
- a communications center
- Companies bidding on the OSC contract shall provide a proposal
in the following format:
Summarizes entire proposal on one page. Gives the OSC a name and
explains why that name is appropriate for humanity's first
permanent orbital colony.
Explains where the OSC will be located and why. Describes its orbit
in quantitative terms (velocity, period, altitude).
Explains what structural materials will be used, where they will
come from, how they are assembled, and why this approach was
Explains the shape of the OSC and why this shape was selected.
Explains, in quantitative terms, the rotation of the OSC, the
central force, and the amount of artificial gravity provided.
Explains why this rotation was selected.
- Radiation Shielding
Explains, in quantitative terms, what shielding is used and why.
- Environmental Control
Explain how environmental parameters (temp, air quality, oxygen,
etc) are maintained within the OSC.
- Manufacturing Facility
Explains the layout of the Manufacturing Facility.
- Science Laboratories
Explains the layout of the science laboratories.
Explains the layout of all agricultural areas. Explains which
plants and animals have been selected to provide a healthy diet.
Addresses how crops will be provided with all elements necessary
for their cultivation (sunlight, water, fertilizer, etc). Considers
the effects of non-standard gravity and radiation.
- Residential Areas
Explain the layout of all residential areas. Explain how space is
allotted to each crew member. Explain what a typical home/apartment
- Energy Production
Explain, in quantitative terms, how much energy the OSC requires,
and how it will be produced.
Explain how all other requirements of the General Specifications
will be satisfied.
- All drawings and illustrations in the proposal shall be on
paper which folds down to standard 8.5" x 11" size. Drawings shall
include appropriate scales.
- All sources of information (including internet sources) shall
be referenced parenthetically in the text and listed in a
bibliography at the end of the proposal.
- Plans for the OSC construction shall, whenever possible, rely
on existing technology. Proposals to use "future technology" should
provide evidence that such technology will be available by 2019,
when construction is scheduled to begin.
UNSA PROVIDED RESOURCES
- The UNSA lunar mining facilities and launch complex at
Clementine Base can be leased to provide raw lunar materials
including water and regolith products (sand, bricks,
- If raw materials are mined from near-Earth asteroids, the
metals processing facility at the UNSA Space Station Freedom II may
be leased to process these materials into finished metal
- UNSA cargo shuttles may be leased to carry equipment from Earth
to the OSC construction site. Due to high launch costs, the use of
materials from Earth should be minimized.
- All personnel who participate in the design of the OSC shall be
required to spend one year on-board the OSC as technical
Mr.Young Contracts Officer
United Nations Space Agency
Astrid S. Ericson, Admistrator
United Nations Space Agency
Mungo U. Ugalavia
Secretary General of the United Nations
Author: Patrick Young
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