Zero Robotics Middle School Space Coders Camp

Sponsored By:

Program Overview


The Zero Robotics Space Coders Camp 2021 is an innovative and inspiring program for middle school students that is truly out of this world! The three-week STEM curriculum introduces students to computer programming, robotics, and space engineering, and provides hands-on experience programming SPHERES (Synchronized, Position, Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites). Participants that complete this year’s virtual summer program will be guaranteed a spot in a 2022/2023 competition, when student developed code will run live on the International Space Station!.

Zero Robotics Space Coders Camp 2021 is provided through a partnership between the Aerospace Corporation, MIT Space Enabled Research Group and the Innovation Learning Center.

Zero Robotics seeks to inspire our next generation of great minds by allowing them unprecedented access to space at the middle school level. By making the benefits and resources of the International Space Station tangible to students, Zero Robotics hopes to cultivate an appreciation of science, technology, engineering and math through healthy, immersive, collaborative competition.


Student participants compete to win a technically challenging game by programming their strategies into the SPHERES. Students’ programs control the satellites' speed, rotation, and direction of travel. The students program their satellites to complete competition objectives, for example navigating obstacles, while conserving resources such as fuel. The programs are autonomous - that is, the students are not able to directly control the satellites while they are running.

Each year’s game is motivated by a problem of interest to NASA and MIT.

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.

Space Coders Camp Schedule

July 12  - July 30, 2021 - Key Dates

July 12  (Mon)

Start of Camp

Jul 20   (Tues)

Career Day (Virtual)

July 28 (TBR) (Wed)  

Final Code Deadline

July 30 (Fri)

Last Day of Camp


How To Participate


The Zero Robotics Space Coders Camp 2021 is recommended for middle school students who are rising 5th graders through rising 9th graders.  Teams are typically 10-20 students. 

2021 is a virtual program. While priority will be given to schools and community-based organizations in the Aerospace Corporation service area - other states, US Territories and US military bases abroad can apply. ,

Teams from non-ISS partner countries are encouraged to monitor the ZR website for future opportunities.

Priority Program Areas can be found here: here

Please contact Katie Magrane ( for more information

Participating Program Information

Participating organizations are by invitation only. If interested in being part of the 2021 Space Coders Camp complete THIS APPLICATION by June 14, 2021 5:00pm EST

Educator Training

Zero Robotics provides educators with the necessary training and ongoing technical support needed to provide middle school students with an experiential learning opportunity in computer programming. Zero Robotics builds critical engineering skills, including problem-solving, and teamwork. It connects students with prominent scientists and encourages them to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and/or math.

The middle school curriculum can be viewed at the following link:

Mandatory Educator Training Sessions

Training for the Zero Robotics Middle School Summer Program is provided in a two-part sequence. Both sessions are currently scheduled to be held online.

Session Dates/Times

- Part 1: Tuesday, June 22 (9:00-12:00 PT; 12:00-3:00 ET)

- Part 2: Thursday, June 24th (9:00-12:00 PT; 12:00-3:00 ET)

Contact to receive a link for training and pre-training assignments.


By participating in the 2021 Space Coders Camp, each participant agrees that under no circumstances, including, but not limited to, negligence, shall MIT, its partners, or the Sponsors, or their respective officers, directors, employees, shareholders, agents, successors, and assigns (the "Released Parties") be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, or consequential damages arising out participation in the Zero Robotics Program, even if any or all of the Released Parties have been advised of the possibility of such damages.

Participation by creating accounts and/or submitting an application and/or submitting code constitutes Contestant's full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of the Zero Robotics Program Rules. All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply.