For the competition, students submitted code to control flying robots aboard the International Space Station

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

March 30, 2023

1 Min Read
Astronaut Koichi Wakata in front of the space station’s Astrobee robots. Credit: NASA

A NASA crew aboard the International Space Station has concluded a virtual robotics competition, where students can remotely control and observe a flying robot as it moves around the station.

The Astrobee-Zero Robotics competition saw students submitting software to control one of the station's Astrobee autonomous flying robots using an online simulation. Finalists had their code downloaded by NASA to the Astrobee platform and were able to observe its performance around the station.

The annual competition is co-led by MIT and the Innovation Learning Center, among others. 

“By inspiring students and contributing to research, Zero Robotics advances understanding of artificial intelligence, systems engineering and methods for humans and robots to collaborate, which have spinoff benefits for Earth,” NASA wrote in a statement. “The program promotes teamwork, computer literacy, and awareness of the opportunities created by the US space program for jobs and innovation.” 

The Astrobee robots, first deployed aboard the International Space Station in 2019, are small, cube-shaped bots designed to assist the crew around the space station, helping complete everyday tasks such as crew monitoring, sampling and logistics management. 

The flying robots were also deployed to provide a flexible platform for research on zero-gravity free-flying robotics and perform several Intra-Vehicular Activities, including interior environmental surveys, inventory, and mobile camera work.

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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