Astro Pi Mission Space Lab: 381 teams selected for Phase 2!

16 November 2018

ESA Education and the Raspberry Pi Foundation are delighted to announce that Phase 2 of the European Astro Pi Challenge: Mission Space Lab has begun. During Phase 1, we received a record-breaking 471 entries from 24 countries! Now, the 381 selected teams will have the chance to write computer programs for the scientific experiments they want to send to the Astro Pi computers aboard the International Space Station (ISS)!

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst [Image credit: ESA]

This year, ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst asked students and young people to investigate ‘Life in space’ or ‘Life on Earth’ using the sensors, cameras, and LED screens of the Astro Pis Ed and Izzy. We’ve been very impressed by the creativity and wide variety of proposals from participating teams, and we’re looking forward to the exciting science that you will perform with Ed and Izzy.

We’re informing the teams we’ve selected for Phase 2 individually by email, and their Astro Pi kits are being sent out directly to the teams’ schools and coding clubs. The teams will then have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the Astro Pi, the cameras, and all the sensors before they write and and test their code.


Keep an eye out for your Astro Pi kit

If your team has been selected, you will soon receive an Astro Pi kit. To use the kit, you’ll need to provide a monitor, USB keyboard, and USB mouse.
Inside the Astro Pi kit, you’ll find:

  • A Raspberry Pi computer.
  • A Sense HAT and two cameras (one for visible light like Astro Pi Ed’s, and one for near-infrared light like Astro Pi Izzy’s one).
  • All the components you need to assemble your flight case. Assembling the flight case is optional, and you will need access to a 3D printer if you want to do this.

Paxi with an Astro Pi kit. [Image credit: ESA]

Using your Astro Pi

You can watch our tutorial videos to help you explore the Astro Pi kit, to learn how to assemble it, and for help with building the optional 3D-printed flight case.

We will also send the selected teams an invitation to a webinar, where we will show you how to use the Astro Pi, its sensors, and the cameras. You will have the chance to ask our experts your own questions!


Get coding

The Mission Space Lab guidelines will help you throughout the Challenge. You should also pay particular attention to our Phase 2 guide, in which we have collected essential information about writing your program and what is and isn’t possible with the Astro Pi hardware and software. So that your team has a chance of moving on to Phase 3, your program must comply with the requirements stated in the Phase 2 guide.

You can find more supporting resources on the Astro Pi website.



ESA and the Raspberry Pi Foundation wish you the best of luck in conducting your own scientific investigations to collect data from space!

An Astro Pi in its flight case [Image credit: Alasdair Allan/@aallan — Babilim Light Industries]

The Phase 2 Guide should have all the information you need. If there is anything you are unsure about, then ask us in the webinar.

If you have questions regarding the European Astro Pi Challenge, send them to


About the European Astro Pi Challenge

The European Astro Pi Challenge is an ESA Education project run in collaboration with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. It offers students and young people the amazing opportunity to conduct scientific investigations in space by writing computer programs that run on Raspberry Pi computers on board the International Space Station (ISS). The Astro Pi Challenge is divided into two separate missions with different levels of complexity: Mission Zero (the basic mission), and Mission Space Lab (one step further). Mission Zero is now open to teams of students and young people who are aged 14 years or younger and are from ESA Member and Associate Member States[1]. You can find more information about Mission Zero here.


ESA Member States in 2018:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.
ESA Associate States in 2018: Canada, Slovenia
In the framework of the current collaboration agreement between ESA and the Republic of Malta, teams from Malta can also participate in the European Astro Pi Challenge. ESA will also accept entries from primary or secondary schools located outside an ESA Member or Associate State only if such schools are officially authorised and/or certified by the official Education authorities of an ESA Member or Associate State (for instance, French school outside Europe officially recognised by the French Ministry of Education or delegated authority).

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