Eight hundred and six. The total number of applications received for the 2017 Caltech Space Challenge. Greater than the 3 previous editions... combined.
Selecting the 32 participants was a long and intense process yielding less than a 4% acceptance rate.
It took almost 2 months, during which the organizers of the Challenge read all applications consisting mainly of a letter of motivation, a CV, and a letter of recommendation. Out of those three, the organizers looked for people who demonstrated very enthusiastic interests in space and challenged themselves. They looked for people who have gone out of their way to gain experience and knowledge, particularly, for people who have made an effort to educate themselves outside of the classroom, and outside their university. Passion in the Caltech Space Challenge topic of Lunarport was also highly considered. Lastly, organizers accepted people who were very strongly recommended in their recommendation letter.
A large number of stellar applications were received and it proved difficult to narrow them down. For the first time ever, a waiting list was created.
67 students were selected for a 5-minute interview with the chairs (Ilana Gat and Thibaud Talon) during which they were asked general questions about space and details about their experience.
Finally, the 32 students were selected. The list of students can be viewed at: http://www.spacechallenge.caltech.edu/participants/
We are delighted to have a very diverse group of students. They come from 13 different countries representing 4 continents. We are pleased to announce that women make up 31% of the participants (10 total) which is well above the ratio of women in aerospace or more generally STEM fields. Similar to the previous challenges, graduate students represent roughly 70% of the participants. Fields of study span from Aerospace Engineering to Geology and Planetary Science, Space Policy, Civil Engineering, Astrophysics, Business, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Design.
Organizers would like to thank all the applicants and sponsors who are making this edition of the Caltech Space Challenge a remarkable and record-breaking event!