Zero Robotics Middle School Summer Program 2022
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Program Overview

Zero Robotics 2022 is an inspiring program for middle school students that is truly out of this world! The five-week STEM curriculum introduces students to computer programming, robotics, and space engineering, and provides hands-on experience programming Astrobee Satellites. Zero Robotics 2022 is provided through a partnership between the MIT Space Enabled Research Group, the Innovation Learning Center, the Aerospace Corporation, the ISS National Laboratory, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, (NASA), National Science Foundation and Aurora Flight Science: a Boeing Company. 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 an Astrobee Satellite. Students’ programs control the satellites' speed, rotation, and direction of travel. The students program their satellites to complete competition objectives like 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. 

The 2022 Zero Robotics Summer Program will be the first "class" of Zero Robotics students chosen to write code for NASA's Astrobee satellite aboard the International Space Station.  NASA’s next-generation free-flyer, Astrobee, replaces the previously used hardware used for Zero Robotics, the SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hole Engage Reorient Experimantal Satellites).

Summer 2022 is an invite only competition as with extremely limited space available.   Students wil create, edit, save, and simulate projects online. They will 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.

Summer 2022 Schedule

The ZR program will run from June 27 – August 3, 2022. This competition will be in-person at your respective sites (with online/virtual flexibility) based on teacher and location availability. We suggest 10 to 15hrs/week to ensure students are getting the best experience.

Weekly Schedule

June 27 - July 1, 2022 (Week I)

July 4 - July 8, 2022 (Week II)

July 11 - July 15, 2022 (Week III)

July 18 - July 22, 2022 (Week IV)

July 25 - July 29, 2022 (Week V)

August 3rd (Finals live aboard the International Space Station) Subject to NASA change.

Key Dates

July 5th or 7th - Field Day at your local site

July 6th - Virtual Career Day hosted by Aerospace Corporation

July 15th (5pm) – Round One Code Deadline (submitted online)

July 18th – Alliance Formation Day (new component to ZR: Middle School)

July 18th to 24th - Alliance Code Development

July 25th (5pm) - ISS Code Deadline (submitted online)

August 3rd - LIVE International Space Station Finals (Date Subject to change by NASA)

How To Participate & Application

The Zero Robotics Summer Program 2022 is an invite-only tournament as we transition from SPHERES to Astrobee. This will be the first "class" of Zero Robotics students chosen to write code for NASA's Astrobee satellite aboard the International Space Station! Selection will be based on a team’s strong reputation for delivering high quality programming or based on their previous history with Zero Robotics and its partners. Space is limited and notifications will be made on a rolling basis beginning April 25th.

If you wish to participate, you must complete this Application/Letter of Commitment (via this Google Form): THIS FORM by May 26, 2022.  If invited teams do not accept their slot for summer 2022, we will draw additional teams from the application pool. Please contact Katie Magrane of the Innovation Learning Center at with any questions.

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.

You can begin planning and preparing questions for the training by viewing the middle school curriculum guide found here:

2022 National Training Sessions

Training for the Zero Robotics Middle School Summer Program is provided in a two-part sequence by the Innovation Learning Center and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.   Both sessions are currently scheduled to be held online.

Part 1:  Monday June 13, 2022

9am to 12pm (PST) - 10am to 1:pm (MST) - 12pm to 3pm (EST)


Part 2:  Tuesday June 14, 2022

9am to 12pm (PST) - 10am to 1:pm (MST) - 12pm to 3pm (EST)


Pre-training assignments will be mailed out and must be completed before joining the online training.

(If you would like to request an in-person training, contact the Innovation Learning Center


By participating in the 2022 Summer Program of Zero Robotics, 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.