Space Enabled Hosts ISS Zero Robotics Event with UAE Astronaut Sultan AlNayedi




Team Space Enabled hosted on Friday, June 23 from 8:15am to 12:30pm a special Zero Robotics space robotics competition in collaboration with the United Arab Emirates! 

Team Space Enabled co-leads the Zero Robotics programming competition with the Innovation Learning Center, a nonprofit focused on educational outreach in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Zero Robotics program teaches students and educators how to create code to program robots on the International Space Station to perform tasks and engage in friendly competition. Professor Danielle Wood and Space Enabled have been leading the technical aspects of Zero Robotics since 2020. Doctoral student Yiyun Zhang plays a key role to perform much of the technical development and mentoring for Zero Robotics. 

The current Zero Robotics program uses the NASA Astrobee platform, a set of three robots that NASA operations on the International Space Station. Research teams can apply to NASA to access the Astrobee robots and use them for experiments and education. NASA also invited Space Enabled and the Zero Robotics team to host a special version of Zero Robotics for a group of students in the United Arab Emirates during 2023. This UAE Zero Robotics program is celebrating the first long duration mission for a UAE Astronaut by Sultan AlNeyadi. Students and professors from five universities in the UAE are participating in the UAE Zero Robotics program. With training from Yiyun, they learned to program the Astrobee robot. 

The UAE Zero Robotics challenge for 2023 asks students to create code that allows Astrobee to spell letters from the Arabic alphabet. Students submit their code to MIT and Yiyn leads a process with NASA to test that the code is ready run on Astrobee. On Friday, June 23, Space Enabled will host a live hybrid event with the final competition for the UAE universities. They will seek to earn points by following the rules of the challenge called the "UAE Astrobee Spelling Bee." Six teams will compete and three will be selected as winners of the challenge. 

From 8:15am to 10am ET, the program from both MIT and the UAE will share background on the project and students from the UAE will present on their work. From approximately 10:30am to 12:30pm, we will have a live stream from the ISS as UAE Astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi hosts the live operation of Astrobee with student code from his country. Sultan will also announce the winners of the UAE Astrobee Spelling Bee.

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