Sydney students solve space problem from Earth

A team of Sydney high school students has earned the right to represent Australia in this global competition. They successfully competed in the preliminary round of the Kibo Robot Programming Challenge 2022 (Kibo RPC), an international STEM coding competition hosted by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the space agencies of the Asia-Pacific region.

Representative teams selected from eleven countries came together virtually for the International Programming Skills round, where teams submit coding to instruct a NASA Astrobee robot to fix a hypothetical leak on the International Space Station (ISS).

Team Dream Rover from Sydney Robotics Academy earned the right to represent Australia in international competition by winning the national trial round earlier this month.
The other countries were represented by university-based teams. Remarkably, the Dream Rover team is made up of Sydney secondary school students – Albert from The Scots College, Annabel from Queenwood School for Girls, Joshua and Ethan from Sydney Boys High and Charlie from Cranbrook School.

“We are very enthusiastic about this competition because we are interested in deepening our understanding of space and robotics. During the process of the competition, we developed a special bond through our common interest, and learnt about teamwork and determination. With hope, skill, and some luck, we endeavour to bring the Dream Rover spirit out into space,” the team said
While the preliminary rounds of the competition occur on a simulated version of the ISS, the final round will be held live onboard the ISS Kibo research and education module, where code written by the nine top teams is uploaded directly onto the Astrobee robot.

The program is designed to develop students’ educational and professional goals to a higher level by giving them the opportunity to pick up new coding languages, learn from actual Astrobee code and develop creative ways to solve novel problems such as effective robot navigation in microgravity.

One Giant Leap Australia Foundation (OGLA) is supported by the Australian Space Agency and hosted Australia’s 2022 preliminary trial round. Teams had a month to learn JavaScript and the Android programming environment, simulate their code on JAXA’s Astrobee simulator, and attain the highest score possible by meeting certain criteria, being accurate and working under various initial conditions.

“A big congratulations to Dream Rover for their accomplishments as part of this year’s challenge. May this terrific achievement inspire many other Australian teams to participate in 2023.”
“Unique, high quality, equitable, engaging STEM education opportunities are essential to inspire the next generation of students to improve our nation’s space capabilities and create a well-rounded workforce. Kibo RPC is a terrific example of one of those programs,” said One Giant Leap Australia Foundation Director, Bob Carpenter OAM.
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For further information contact:

Bob Carpenter
One Giant Leap Australia Foundation