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International Championship Zero Robotics High School 2018/19 (Spain)

Ready for a competition with satellites-robots in zero gravity?

One more year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) , NASA ant the Turin Polytechnic, in collaboration with the University of Alicante, propose the  International Zero Robotics Championship for the school year 2018/19.

Who can participate?

All students of second cycle of Secondary, baccalaureate or similar of the national territory. In particular, the competition will be very attractive to all those centers that include in their curricular programs competences related to the coding of programs in any programming language.

The championship includes the participation of different European nations, including Spain, in addition to the United States of America, Australia, Russia and other nations of the world with a limit of 25 teams per nation.

What is and how the competition develops?

Formally Zero Robotics is a STEM education experience (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). An experience that is also enriched by alliances between foreign teams (in the second and third phase of the tournament) and the practice of English.

The competition consists in the development of programs for the control of miniature satellites called SPHERES. These experimental satellites are used by NASA within the International Space Station (ISS) to perform different operations (autonomous coupling and coupling, ...). Currently there are three SPHERES satellites in orbit within the ISS, each with its own power, drive trains, on-board computers and navigation systems. Experimentation with SPHERES is important for tasks such as maintenance, assembly of satellites, the study of berthing maneuvers and flight training within the ISS.

Spheres can be oriented and located within the ISS, can move and rotate on several axes and many other things that we can control with a simple programming language.


The teams, composed of 5 to 15 students between 14 and 20 years old, will be coordinated and supported by a teacher from each center. In the International Championship, the collaboration between teams from different nations will be decisive to win the pass to the final (to be held in the ISS !).

Development of the competition

The competition consists of 3 phases:

The first phase consists of a team league where a mission / game / challenge is proposed (here they are synonyms ;-)) that must be solved by means of a simulation. SPHERES has a realistic web-based simulator that runs remotely on the MIT servers (no software is installed, only a browser and Internet connection are required!). In this phase small errors of programming or calculation come to light that can be very useful in the future. The best classified at the end of the phase will go to the second phase. At the end of this phase, the teams that participate in the International Championship will be able to join together to obtain a program that offers a better overall result.

The second phase consists of an elimination in which the finalist teams (with their respective alliances) are selected to participate in the third phase.

Third phase! The finalists' programs will be loaded and executed on the SPHERES satellites aboard the International Space Station, under the careful supervision of the astronauts.

The final will be broadcast live from the International Space Station to the University of Alicante, where the finalist teams can attend (on their own) live.

Important links and dates:

  • Secondary school registration: (enter Register and follow instructions)
  • Deadline for school registration: 10th, october. 2018 23:59:59 USA ET
  • Deadline for the delivery of the first problem (2D Practice (simulation): 12 de octubre de 2018 23:59:59 USA ET  -
  • Zero Robotics News