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Starts Thursday, Jan 11th 7:15 am (EST)


Welcome to Zero Robotics
Live Webcast

        The world's first robotics competition in space!
        Read more: What is Zero Robotics?

The 2017 High School Tournament season is from September to December 2017; registration is open until the two days prior to the end of the 2D Practice Round at the end of September 2017 (see details below). The tournament is open to groups of high-school (or equivalent) students in the USA, Russia, the listed participating ESA member states, and Australia.

"Zero Robotics" tournaments open the world-class research facilities on the International Space Station (ISS) to high school students. Students write programs at their high schools that may control a satellite in space! The goal is to build critical engineering skills for students, such as problem solving, design thought process, operations training, and team work.

The participants compete to win a technically challenging game by programming their strategies into the SPHERES satellites. The game is motivated by a challenging problem of interest to NASA and MIT. The programs are "autonomous" - that is, the students cannot control the satellites during the test itself.

The tournament begins with simulations in phases from 2D to 3D, gradually increasing in difficulty. After elimination rounds, the finalists will see their code run in the SPHERES satellites aboard the International Space Station with live transmission from space. The finals take place simultaneously at MIT, at an ESA site in Europe, at the University of Sydney in Australia and are also webcast live to all participants so that remote viewing is possible.

Student teams can create, edit, save and simulate projects online. They may use a graphical block diagram editor or a C editor to write code, then simulate their program immediately and see the results in a flash animation. MIT provides the simulation and C programming interfaces via the Zero Robotics website--no special software is required. The simulation also enables teams to compete against themselves or pre-coded standard players and challenge other teams informally; students have ample opportunities to test different strategies before submitting their code for a formal competition. All submissions to challenge others and to the competition are via the website. Students also have access to online tutorials and an MIT technical support system.

Tournament Objectives

The participants compete to win a technically challenging game by programming their strategies into the SPHERES satellites. The game is motivated by a current problem of interest to DARPA, NASA and MIT.  Student software controls satellite speed, rotation, direction of travel, etc.  Depending on the game premise, the students must program their satellites to complete game objectives (navigate obstacles, pick up virtual objects, etc.) while conserving resources (fuel, charge, etc.) and staying within specified time and code-size limits.  The programs are "autonomous" - that is, the students cannot control the satellites during the test itself.