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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 23 October 2020!

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, Latvia, or Malta. Teams must be supervised by a teacher or mentor, who will submit their programs. Check our eligibility criteria for more information.

Entries for Mission Space Lab 2020/2021 are open from 14 September to 23 October 2020.

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

Successful teams receive a free Astro Pi kit!

Teams whose experiment ideas are accepted into Phase 2 of the challenge will receive an Astro Pi kit to help design and test their experiments on Earth, containing:

  • Raspberry Pi 3B Model B
  • Raspberry Pi Sense HAT
  • Raspberry Pi Camera Module V2
  • Raspberry Pi NoIR Camera (with blue filter included)
  • Two 16 GB micro-SD cards (and full SD adapter)
  • Power supply (for EU/UK power sockets)
  • HDMI cable
  • HDMI-to-VGA adapter

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 2020/2021

  1. Phase 1: Design

    14 September 2020

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

  2. Phase 2: Create

    November 2020

    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 2021

    The best experiments will be deployed to the ISS.

  4. Phase 4: Analyse

    May - June 2021

    Teams receive their experiment data from the ISS to analyse and write their final reports on 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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