Zero Robotics SPHERES ISS Challenge: High School Tournament 2012

REGISTRATION OPEN: Zero Robotics SPHERES ISS Challenge: High School Tournament 2012

National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s, or MIT’s, Space Systems Laboratory are proud to announce that the next Zero Robotics High School Tournament will take place this fall, offering high school students the opportunity to design experiments that will be tested in space.

Zero Robotics challenges high school student teams to write their own algorithms to fly the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES. The competition starts online where teams compete to solve an annual challenge guided by mentors. Students can create, edit, share, save, simulate and submit code, all from a web browser. After several phases of virtual competition, finalists are selected to compete in a live championship aboard the International Space Station!

Teams may register now:

  1. Go to
  2. Log In or Create an Account.
  3. Click “Tournaments” and register for the High School Tournament.
  4. Create a team and invite other users.
  5. Visit Resources to get started.

The competition starts on Sept. 9, 2012, and the registration deadline is open until the first submission deadline on Sept. 21, 2012.

By making the benefits and resources of the space program tangible to high school students, Zero Robotics is designed to inspire future scientists and engineers. Students will have the opportunity to push their limits and develop skills in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, or STEM. This program helps students build critical engineering skills, such as problem solving, design thought process, operations training, team work and presentation skills.

The SPHERES are used inside the station to test maneuvers for spacecraft performing autonomous rendezvous and docking. The three satellites that make up SPHERES fly in formation inside the station’s cabin. Each is self-contained with power, propulsion, computing and navigation equipment. MIT’s Space Systems Laboratory developed SPHERES in 2006 to provide DARPA, NASA and other researchers with a long-term test bed for validating technologies critical to the operation of future satellites, docking missions and satellite autonomous maneuvers.

The Zero Robotics High School Tournament 2012 is brought to you by NASA, DARPA, the MIT Space Systems Laboratory, TopCoder and Aurora Flight Sciences.

Please email any questions about this opportunity to [email protected]

I am so glad this was posted, ZR is amazing! I’m on ZRSC #76, y0b0tics!

Most of the programming subteam from 2068 participates on ZERO team SuperNOVA (which is actually made up of students from the several schools in our district) and we plan to compete next year as well.

Explaining to your building principal that some students are going to miss an exam because they are going to MIT to have their code run on the ISS is awesome.

Reason for field trip date change: Talk to NASA!

We did this last year and made it to the semifinals! We’d encourage as a great learning offseason activity. Hoping to be a part of it for next year

One thing to note is that the competition is free! All you need is access to the website.

I have used this as a training for freshman programmers. They can spend time during the summer playing some of the games already there on the web site. I have been amazed how their programming skills improve.

The winners get to to MIT and have their code run on the International Space Station live! That is not a bad resume builder.

Zero Robotics -Absolute Zero
FIRST FRC -Alpha + 2130

As I said in another thread, I highly recommend doing this competition. The programming skills you learn in this are deeper and more complex than anything FIRST has, since it is pure autonomous.

My team also made it to the finals, and was the first team to register for this coming season.

Go Kühlschrank!

When will it happen sir?

This is a good way to develop our youngsters potential.

I was sent some links to promotional videos highlighting this challenge: