Preliminary Request for Proposal

Date: January 2, 2077
Re: "Aynah" Space Settlement Contract

This is a request by the Foundation Society for contractors to propose the design, development, construction, and operations planning of the first large space settlement community in orbit around the planet Mercury.

Format and Schedule
Only entries from registered teams are eligible to advance in the Competition.

Submit proposals in the English language, single-sided on paper, with a 40-page limit. Submit a PDF of your work. Copies of each proposal must be received no later than October 30, 2016.

This is a preliminary Request for Proposal (RFP). Your proposal is expected to include all of the items identified in the Statement of Work. Proposals must meet more detailed requirements described in the Final RFP, which will be sent to each team that submits a completed Registration Form. You must register to receive the complete and final RFP.

Statement of Work

    The contractor will describe the design, development, construction, and operations/maintenance planning for the Aynah space settlement in orbit around Mercury.
  1. Structural Design -- Aynah must provide a safe and pleasant living and working environment for 14,000 long-term residents, and up to 200 short-term visitors. Specify allocation of interior "down surfaces", with drawings labeled to show residential, industrial, commercial, agricultural, and other uses.
  2. Operations and Infrastructure -- The settlement will operate in a sun-facing Mercury polar orbit; recommend an orbital altitude (i.e., distance from Mercury) for Aynah. Aynah design will show elements of basic infrastructure required for the activities of the settlement's residents, including atmosphere/climate/weather control, food production, electrical power generation, water management, household and industrial solid waste management, internal and external communication systems, internal transportation system(s), and day/night cycle provisions.
  3. Human Factors -- Aynah will provide services that residents could expect in comfortable modern communities, variety and quantity of consumer goods, and public areas designed with long lines of sight. Provide designs of typical residential homes, clearly showing room sizes. Show spacesuit designs and airlock designs.
  4. Automation Design and Services -- Specify numbers and types of computing and information processing devices, multi-function personal electronic tools, servers, network devices, and robots required for Aynah's facility, community, and business operations. Show robot designs, clearly indicating their dimensions. Specify automation systems for maintenance, repair, and safety functions, including backup systems and contingency plans. Describe functionalities of automation devices to enhance livability in the community, productivity in work environments, and convenience in residences.
  5. Schedule and Cost -- The proposal will include a schedule for completion and occupation of Aynah, and costs for design through construction phases of the schedule.
  6. Business Development -- Aynah will host a variety of commercial and industrial ventures. More will be updated soon.



After fusion propulsion technology enabled relatively rapid and cost-effective interplanetary transportation, the Foundation Society embarked on more aggressive investigations of possible commercial opportunities throughout the solar system. An inexpensive “experiment of curiosity” by a geologist and an engineer--leaving samples of various alloys on the surface for an entire 175 Earthday-long day on Mercury--led to the discovery that long exposure to solar heat and radiation, followed by a long “cold soak”, changes material properties in unexpected ways. Further experimentation with varying exposure times and numbers of hot/cold soak cycles led to development of a true miracle metal: lightweight, strong, amenable to producing complex shapes, self-lubricating, and providing protection from heat, cold, and radiation. So similar was it to the miracle metal called “Reardon Metal” in Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged--including the blue- green color--its inventors named it “reardonium”.