The 2nd Kibo Robot Programming Challenge

Calling all student robotics enthusiasts – the International Space Station (ISS) needs your help!

Kibo robot challenge banner

In 2020 an air leak was discovered and patched aboard the ISS. (See last year’s competition page(external link).) Unfortunately the leak has reopened and an emergency alert has been activated.

Your team challenge now is to permanently repair the leak using ISS robots Astrobee and Int-Ball and report successful completion of the mission to the astronauts!

Kibo RPC button

Are you up for the challenge?

The event described above is not a real event but an exciting simulated challenge for students of all ages who are interested in the amazing world of robotics. It’s a self-learning exercise where you will be sent all the materials you need plus access to a Q and A channel to help guide you through your learning.

It has been created by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to inspire students to develop their educational and professional goals to a higher level.

You will have the opportunity to learn cutting-edge methodologies and hone your skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

You’ll also get to interact with other like-minded students from around the world.

What countries are taking part?

New Zealand is participating along with other countries in the Asian Beneficial Collaboration through Kibo Utilization (Kibo-ABC) membership. Teams can include students from the other member countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Rep. of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.

The challenge takes place over three rounds – Preliminary, Qualifying and Final.

Deadline for Preliminary Round Sunday May 16, 2021.

Key dates

Preliminary Round

Early June 2021

In the Preliminary Round, New Zealand teams will compete against each other to complete the mission with the best speed and accuracy in the JAXA simulation environment. The winning team will go through to the Qualifying Round.

Qualifying Round

Mid-June 2021

The Qualifying Round will feature the top team from every participating country. The top-performing teams at the Qualifying Round will proceed to the Final Round.

Final Round

September 2021

This will be hosted by JAXA at Tsukuba Space Center in Japan with real-time connections with the ISS and broadcast globally online. Each team that reaches the Final Round will have their program uplinked to Astrobee on the ISS and run in real-time!

How to enter

Fill out the application form on the Kibo-RPC website(external link) and email it to:

While you are waiting for notification of acceptance, read the guidebook and last year’s programming guide to start preparing your program:

2nd Kibo Robot Programming Challenge Guidebook (PDF, 1.21MB)(external link)

1st Kibo Robot Programming Challenge Programming Manual (PDF, 1.34MB)(external link)

You’ll be sent an automatic email from JAXA containing a login ID and Password and instructions on how to access JAXA’s simulation environment.

Good luck, programmers – the ISS is counting on you!

Last updated: 29 March 2021