Zero Robotics is another program in which members of FIRST Team 2130 have participated. This program allows students to see an example of real world applications for the skills they develop in robotics. Zero Robotics was, in part, inspired by FIRST robotics and has similar objectives, including building lifelong skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Zero Robotics began in 2009. Our team, Absolute Zero, was one of only two schools which participated in the pilot year of Zero Robotics.
Zero Robotics is a robotics programming competition where the students use SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold Engage and Reorient Experimental Satellites) that are inside the International Space Station (ISS). The competition starts online, where teams program the SPHERES to solve a challenge, which changes every year. There are several phases of virtual competition in a simulation that mimics the real SPHERES. Finalists who are selected then upload their code to the SPHERES aboard the ISS.
Since its beginning, hundreds of teams have joined Zero Robotics. This program provides an excellent way for programmers to practice coding and see examples of robotics in space. Zero Robotics is unique in the way it focuses on programming and mathematics and the different ways that they can be used. Since 2009, we have made it to finals twice. This means that our students’ code was uploaded to the ISS. The first time, in 2009, was the first time that any high school student had run code on the ISS. The second time was in 2012.