European Astro Pi Challenge winners
In October last year, with the European Space Agency and CNES, we launched the first ever European Astro Pi challenge. We asked students from all across Europe to write code for the flight of French ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the Proxima mission. Today, we are very excited to announce the winners! First of all, though, we have a very special message from Thomas Pesquet himself, which comes all the way from space…
Thomas also recorded a video in French: you can click here to see it and to enjoy some more of his excellent microgravity acrobatics.
A bit of background
This year’s competition expands on our previous work with British ESA astronaut Tim Peake, in which, together with the UK Space Agency and ESA, we invited UK students to design software experiments to run on board the ISS.
In 2015, we built two space-hardened Raspberry Pi units, or Astro Pis, to act as the platform on which to run the students’ code. Affectionately nicknamed Ed and Izzy, the units were launched into space on an Atlas V rocket, arriving at the ISS a few days before Tim Peake. He had a great time running all of the programs, and the data collected was transmitted back to Earth so that the winners could analyse their results and share them with the public.
The European challenge provides the opportunity to design code to be run in space to school students from every ESA member country. To support the participants, we worked with ESA and CPC to design, manufacture, and distribute several hundred free Astro Pi activity kits to the teams who registered. Further support for teachers was provided in the form of three live webinars, a demonstration video, and numerous free educational resources.
Thomas Pesquet assigned two missions to the teams:
- A primary mission, for which teams needed to write code to detect when the crew are working in the Columbus module near the Astro Pi units.
- A secondary mission, for which teams needed to come up with their own scientific investigation and write the code to execute it.
The deadline for code submissions was 28 February 2017, with the judging taking place the following week. We can now reveal which schools will have the privilege of having their code uploaded to the ISS and run in space.
The proud winners!
Everyone produced great work and the judges found it really tough to narrow the entries down. In addition to the winning submissions, there were a number of teams who had put a great deal of work into their projects, and whose entries have been awarded ‘Highly Commended’ status. These teams will also have their code run on the ISS.
We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who participated. Massive congratulations are due to the winners! We will upload your code digitally using the space-to-ground link over the next few weeks. Your code will be executed, and any files created will be downloaded from space and returned to you via email for analysis.
In no particular order, the winners are:
- @stroteam, Institut de Genech, Hauts-de-France
- Wierzbinski, École à la maison, Occitanie
- Les Marsilyens, École J. M. Marsily, PACA
- MauriacSpaceCoders, Lycée François Mauriac, Nouvelle-Aquitaine
- Ici-bas, École de Saint-André d’Embrun, PACA
- Les Astrollinaires, Lycée général et technologique Guillaume Apollinaire, PACA
- Highly Commended
- ALTAÏR, Lycée Albert Claveille, Nouvelle Aquitaine
- GalaXess Reloaded, Lycée Saint-Cricq, Nouvelle Aquitaine
- Les CM de Neffiès, École Louis Authie, Occitanie
- Équipe Sciences, Collège Léonce Bourliaguet, Nouvelle Aquitaine
- Maurois ICN, Lycée André Maurois, Normandie
- Space Project SP4, Lycée Saint-Paul IV, Île de la Réunion
- 4eme2 Gymnase Jean Sturm, Gymnase Jean Sturm, Grand Est
- Astro Pascal dans les étoiles, École Pascal, Île-de-France
- les-4mis, EREA Alexandre Vialatte, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
- Space Cavenne Oddity, École Cavenne, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
- Luanda for Space, Lycée Français de Luanda, Angola
(Note: this is a French international school and the team members have French nationality/citizenship)
- François Detrille, Lycée Langevin-Wallon, Île-de-France
- Delta, TALOS ed-UTH-robotix, Magnesia
- Weightless Mass, Intercultural Junior High School of Evosmos, Macedonia
- 49th Astro Pi Teamwork, 49th Elementary School of Patras, Achaia
- Astro Travellers, 12th Primary School of Petroupolis, Attiki
- GKGF-1, Gymnasium of Kanithos, Sterea Ellada
- Highly Commended
- AstroShot, Lixouri High School, Kefalonia
- Salamina Rockets Pi, 1st Senior High School of Salamina, Attiki
- The four Astro-fans, 6th Gymnasio of Veria, Macedonia
- Samians, 2nd Gymnasio Samou, North Eastern Aegean
- Madeley Ad Astra, Madeley Academy, Shropshire
- Team Dexterity, Dyffryn Taf School, Carmarthenshire
- The Kepler Kids, St Nicolas C of E Junior School, Berkshire
- Catterline Pi Bugs, Catterline Primary, Aberdeenshire
- smileyPi, Westminster School, London
- Highly Commended
- South London Raspberry Jam, South London Raspberry Jam, London
- Garibaldini, Istituto Comprensivo Rapisardi-Garibaldi, Sicilia
- Buzz, IIS Verona-Trento, Sicilia
- Water warmers, Liceo Scientifico Galileo Galilei, Abruzzo
- Juvara/Einaudi Siracusa, IIS L. Einaudi, Sicilia
- AstroTeam, IIS Arimondi-Eula, Piemonte
- Birnam, Zespół Szkoły i Gimnazjum im. W. Orkana w Niedźwiedziu, Malopolska
- TechnoZONE, Zespół Szkół nr 2 im. Eugeniusza Kwiatkowskiego, Podkarpacie
- DeltaV, Gimnazjum nr 49, Województwo śląskie
- The Safety Crew, MZS Gimnazjum nr 1, Województwo śląskie
- Warriors, Zespół Szkół Miejskich nr 3 w Jaśle, Podkarpackie
- Highly Commended
- The Young Cuiavian Astronomers, Gimnazjum im. Stefana Kardynała Wyszyńskiego w Piotrkowie Kujawskim, Kujawsko-pomorskie
- AstroLeszczynPi, I Liceum Ogolnokształcace w Jasle im. Krola Stanislawa Leszczynskiego, Podkarpackie
- Sampaionautas, Escola Secundária de Sampaio, Setúbal
- Labutes Pi, Escola Secundária D. João II, Setúbal
- AgroSpace Makers, EB 2/3 D. Afonso Henriques, Cávado
- Zero Gravity, EB 2/3 D. Afonso Henriques, Cávado
- Lua, Agrupamento de Escolas José Belchior Viegas, Algarve
- AstroVianu, Tudor Vianu National High School of Computer Science, Bucharest
- MiBus Researchers, Mihai Busuioc High School, Iași
- Cosmos Dreams, Nicolae Balcescu High School, Cluj
- Carmen Sylva Astro Pi, Liceul Teoretic Carmen Sylva Eforie, Constanța
- Stargazers, Tudor Vianu National High School of Computer Science, Bucharest
- Papaya, IES Sopela, Vizcaya
- Salesianos-Ubeda, Salesianos Santo Domingo Savio, Andalusia
- Valdespartans, IES Valdespartera, Aragón
- Ins Terrassa, Institut Terrassa, Cataluña
- Moonty1, Mayfield Community School, Cork
- BSC Behringersdorf Space Center, Labenwolf-Gymnasium, Bayern
- Skedsmo Kodeklubb, Kjeller Skole, Akershus
- UltimaSpace, Mihaly Tancsics Grammar School of Kaposvár, Somogy
- Lambda Voyager, Stedelijke Humaniora Dilsen, Limburg
Why aren’t all 22 ESA member states listed?
- Because some countries did not have teams participating in the challenge.
Why do some countries have fewer than five teams?
- Either because those countries had fewer than five teams qualifying for space flight, or because they had fewer than five teams participating in the challenge.
How will I get my results back from space?
- After your code has run on the ISS, we will download any files you created and they will be emailed to your teacher.
Alan Mc (Irish Framboise)
Bravo & well done everybody. Fantastic work from all the participants, students, teachers and helpers, not only the great winning teams =o) Can’t wait to see the results of the code executed aboard the ISS and data returned. Already looking forward to hopefully seeing more future challenges & missions! Lift off!
The video is also available in french: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcXGP2goIFw
So wonderful to see many different representatives from all over EU getting involved. Congratulations all around to the kids and teachers.
They should be proud of themselves and it is incredible that they are actually able to get their own payload to be activated in a real space station!
Is there any place that anyone can access to get to the detailed descriptions of all of entries from each school as well as any documentation, materials, codes, etc. that were presented.
For the secondary mission in particular, would love to read about these kids’ ideas and their imagination and the level of work.
Perhaps even cull some possible ideas as resources for educational uses or supplemental teaching tools.
If some of the experiments are still applicable to a normal planet-side environment it could be fun to involve students by having them run the same experiments on our own Pi & sense hats.
Great job to the winners!
Having seen the presentation by David Honess at the birthday, that fabulous space suit aside it was surprising to learn how far along the AstroPis have come. To hear that they have been allowed a direct ground link to them now in such short period is truly remarkable. What a testament to the hard work and dedication by David and the Raspberry Pi team. Thank you for continuing to invest in and make available such wonderful programmes to all the budding young minds out there and making a difference in the world.
As much as I commend these efforts by the various space agencies, the Raspberry Pi foundation and the participating countries, I really would like to see countries in Africa being given a chance to participate in such global projects. After all the whole idea is to transcend the geopolitical, cultural and racial boundaries through technology.
David Honess — post author
I agree completely. Currently there is a rule that you need to live in an ESA member country in order to participate. That’s a decision ESA have taken. There may be an opportunity for us to involve the International Space Education Board (ISEB) to expand participation beyond Europe in the future though, so keep an eye on Astro Pi.
You may not have noticed but, under the French winners, there is a school from Angola.