Zero Robotics Competition: See which Team’s Algorithms run the Robotic Satellite, SPHERES in ISS

Zero Robotics Competition: See which Team’s Algorithms run the Robotic Satellite, SPHERES in ISS

13 August 2015 – Zero Robotics is an opportunity for students to design research that is flown aboard the International Space Station. As part of a competition, students write algorithms for the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, and Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) to accomplish tasks relevant to future space missions. This summer’s teams wrote code to simulate robotic satellites collecting and uploading as many pictures as possible of points of interest on an asteroid while avoiding effects of solar flares.

Students create, edit, save, and simulate projects online. They use a graphical editor to write code, then simulate their programs immediately and see the results using a simulation. The programming interface and simulation are entirely web-based, so ZR does not require any software downloads or computer configuration. The system even allows teams to compete against themselves so that they can test different strategies before finalizing their competition submissions.

12 states team are participating in this competition, involving more than 650 middle school students from across the US. Current Expedition 44 crew members Scott Kelly of NASA, Oleg Kononenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will conduct the competition aboard the station.

Teams Regions

Zero Robotics
SPHERES: An autonomous, self-propelled robot satellite aboard the International Space Station (Image: Zero Robotics)
  1. Alabama
  2. California
  3. Colorado
  4. D.C. Metro/ Maryland
  5. Florida
  6. Georgia
  7. Idaho
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Oregon
  10. Texas
  11. UROPs
  12. West Virginia

The program culminates in a tournament where winning teams’ SPHERES compete aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Middle school participants will get to see the SPHERES operate in space via a live feed from the ISS while NASA astronauts provide real-time commentary.

The national Zero Robotics competition organized at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) on Friday, Aug. 14. Events start at 7:40 a.m. CDT.



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