A space robot of British students performed among the best in the Volare Space Robotics challenge

UK team wins space robotics challenge

A team from Manchester has won in the 11 to 13 years category of the space robotics competition creating the most efficient design for unloading cargo from a mock-up spacecraft

Calling themselves the Space Raiders, the Manchester students took part in the finals of the two-day Volare Space Robotics Challenge taking place in the technical centre of the European Space Agency (ESA) in the Netherlands.

After developing their robots for more than six months, 50 students from ESA member states gathered in ESTEC (the European Space Research and Technology Centre) to let their robots embark on a fierce battle with their competitors.

The remotely controlled robots were transporting supplies from a mock-up cargo vehicle onto a mock-up International Space Station.

The students were steering their creations, coming in various shapes and designs, from a control centre in a neighbouring room.

The challenge required the participants to master skills from many areas, reflecting the process ESA engineers follow when developing a spacecraft. The teams had to work together and divide tasks to tackle robot design, communications and control as well as making sure all the paperwork was in place for the competition and delivering progress reports and videos to ESA on time.

Apart from visiting the facilities where ESA is designing and testing its spacecraft, the participating students were awarded by connecting live with the International Space Station, talking to the current European astronaut Luca Parmitano.

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