Space Settlement Competition Confusion

Editor's note: If you look at the website for the International Space Settlement Design Competition it says "Eight Finalist teams are selected to compete in a live Competition at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, with real engineers sharing knowledge and experience."

However, this comment online at NASA JSC seems to paint a different picture: "Johnson Space Center is not sponsoring the Annual Space Settlement Design Competition in 2006. Questions about future competitions can be directed to Norman Chaffee at 281-483-3777 or via e-mail at"

So, does JSC support this event or not support it?

Editor's update: I received a note from one of the competition's organizers:

"There is absolutely no confusion between the two statements; they involve two different (but not separate) events and two different situations: the International Space Settlement Design Competition conducts a Finalist Competition at the Gilruth Center, an employee recreation center located "outside the gate" but on JSC property, operated by an independent contractor. The 2007 International Finalist Competition is scheduled for July 20 through 23 and will include high school students from the U.S., India, Australia, the UK, and perhaps other nations. Competition organizers have reserved the Gilruth Center and will arrange a JSC tour for participants, but receive no financial support or sponsorship from NASA.

The second comment refers to a local Competition at JSC involving only U.S. students, including events conducted both in the Gilruth Center and "inside the gate" in JSC buildings. In 2007, this Competition occurred March 9 through 11. Through 2005, this local event received generous NASA sponsorship; after NASA funding priorities changed in 2006, this event is primarily funded through corporate donations, although JSC provides in-kind support through use of facilities and some on-site services. For the first time in 2007, this local JSC Competition is considered a Semi-Final for the International event; 12 students from the 40-student team announced as the winner on March 11 will return to JSC in July to compete in the Finals."

The website at is clearly misleading. Reading this sentence clearly makes me think that NASA is involved: "Eight Finalist teams are selected to compete in a live Competition at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, with real engineers sharing knowledge and experience." As for the written explanation, it makes me more confused than I was to begin with - the event is onsite - but its also offsite - JSC does not support it anymore but it still supports it via in-kind contributions. In kind contributions "cost" something. This is a cool idea for students - but someone needs to enlist an English teacher to explain things a little better.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on March 14, 2007 9:23 AM.

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