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Mission Space Lab

Teams of young people design and program a scientific experiment to run on board the International Space Station.

  • Age 19 and under
  • Supervised by a teacher or mentor

How to take part

  • Mentors sign up and register teams of 2-6 eligible young people.
  • Young people design an experiment idea.
  • Mentors submit the experiment idea by 29 October 2021!

Can I take part?

Mission Space Lab is open to teams of 2-6 young people aged 19 or younger from ESA Member States, or Slovenia, Canada, Lithuania, Latvia, or Malta. Teams must be supervised by a teacher or mentor, who will submit their programs. Check our eligibility criteria for more information.

Registration for Mission Space Lab 2021/2022 are open from 13 September to 29 October 2021.

The European Union (EU) and European Space Agency (ESA) flags flying

Successful teams receive a free Astro Pi kit!

Mentors of all teams whose experiment idea is accepted into Phase 2 of the challenge will receive an Astro Pi kit to help their team(s) design and test their experiments on Earth, containing:

  • Raspberry Pi 4 computer with 4GB RAM
  • Raspberry Pi Sense HAT
  • Raspberry Pi HQ Camera
  • PIR sensor
  • 6mm camera lens
  • 16GB microSD card
  • HDMI cable
  • Power supply (for EU/UK power sockets)

In addition, teams conducting experiments involving machine learning will receive a Coral machine learning accelerator.

Teams conducting experiments involving IR photography will also receive a red optical filter.

Planning the experiment

Watch this video to learn what you can and cannot do during your experiment, including the hardware limitations of the Astro Pi computers. This will help you to choose an experiment idea that will work in space.

Project timeline 2021/2022

  1. Phase 1: Design

    13 September - 29 October 2021

    Design an experiment to be run on an Astro Pi computer on the International Space Station.

  2. Phase 2: Create

    18 November 2021 - 24 February 2022

    Teams that pass Phase 1 of the challenge write their programs. Teachers/mentors submit their team’s completed program. Astro Pi HQ will test the programs on Earth to determine the viability of the experiments.

  3. Phase 3: Deploy

    April - May 2022

    The best experiments will be deployed to the ISS.

  4. Phase 4: Analyse

    May - June 2022

    Teams receive their experimental data from the ISS for analysis and write their final reports. Teachers/mentors submit their team’s report. The ten best reports are selected as the Astro Pi Mission Space Lab winners!

Why participate in Mission Space Lab?

We asked some mentors and participants of Mission Space Lab how they feel about the challenge, and why it is important to them.

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