2022 Tutorials and Educator Guide


As Zero Robotics transitions from using the SPHERES to the Astrobee Satellite, we wanted to centralize your teaching tools into one location.  If you have suggestions on how to improve these tutorials or the content within the educator guide, please email those suggestions to MIT’s ZR Partner, the Innovation Learning Center, at Katie@MassILC.com.


Zero Robotics (ZR) is a programming competition where Astrobee satellites inside the International Space Station (ISS) are controlled by programs developed by YOU! You will create, edit, share, save, simulate, and submit programming code in order to accomplish whatever your given task is. After several rounds of competition, finalists will compete in a live championship aboard the ISS. An astronaut will use your code to conduct the championship competition in microgravity with a live broadcast!

This five-week program was designed to engage middle school students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through the ZR game. We hope to help you better understand this content by connecting it to something we think is pretty exciting: space! You'll also get the chance to learn about STEM careers so that you can understand the many interesting opportunities for success that STEM fields can offer. Most of all, we hope you have fun!

Due to the transition to the new Astrobees, the following table shows the tutorials available for learning to program in the ZR IDE using the graphical editor for the Summer of 2022.


You can also go to the Game Documents tab for information specific to this year's game:  The Great Astro Spelling Bee




1. Create an Account

Set up an account on the ZR website so that you can access the


2. Invite Students to Your Team

A tutorial for the educator to set up the team

3. Getting to Know the ZR IDE

Learn the computer programming language C++ that you will use to program the Astrobee satellites

4. Intro Arrays setPositionTarget

Try your hand at using arrays in ZR

5. More Arrays setAttitudeTarget

Part 1 of two-part tutorial to learn more about how to use arrays to move the Astrobee

6. More Arrays Initialize Variables

Part 2 of two-part tutorial to learn more about how to use arrays to move the Astrobee

7. Conditionals If-Then

Use "If, Then" statements and some logic operators to program an Astrobee satellite to move to multiple locations

8. Conditionals: If-Then Logic Operators Debugging

Use an "If-Then" statement and some new logic operators to show

that the loop you created is called once per second by the Astrobee control system. Also learn to print messages to the debug console.

9. Conditionals Advanced Logic Operators

Use still more logic operators ('and' and 'or') and conditional statements to change the position and attitude of the Astrobee

10. Conditionals Else If

Introduction to "If, Then, Else" statements

11. Intro Game Mode

Learn to use the game mode (as opposed to the free mode)

12. For Loops

Learn to use a for loop to repeat an action a set number of times–in this case, to find the position of the second satellite and program your satellite to move toward the second satellite, but stop halfway

13. Applied Conditionals

Learn how to use conditional statements to program your player to do different things depending on where it is and where the other player is

14. Creating Functions

In Part 1 of this two-part tutorial learn how to organize and keep track of everything that is happening in your code

15. Functions Step Counter

In Part 2 of this two-part tutorial learn how–and why–to use a step counter model in your program and practice creating functions

16. Intramural Game Mode

Learn how to share your game code with the group

17. Submit Code

A tutorial for the educator to submit code for competitions


EDUCATOR GUIDE (5-week Curriculum Guide)

The Educator Guide (FOUND HERE)  is designed to be read electronically using a pdf application, which allows external links to be included. Teaching from a printed version of the guide is not recommended as you will not be able to follow external links to activities and programming tutorials.  

A new version of the Educator Guide is in development. We welcome the feedback and advise of ZR Coaches/Educators on newer resources and curriculum standards alignment to be included in ZR 2.0

Astrobee | NASA