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Mission Space Lab: 23 teams from Romania achieved Flight Status

on 20 May 2022

ESA Education and Raspberry Pi Foundation announced that 299 teams participating in this year’s European Astro Pi Mission Space Lab Challenge achieved Flight Status. Among them, 23 teams are from Romania. Their programs are the first to run on the brand new Astro Pis on the International Space Station (ISS).

Mission Space Lab gives teams of young people up to 19 years of age the opportunity to conduct scientific experiments aboard the ISS. Teams choose between two themes for their experiments, investigating either ‘Life in Space’ or ‘Life on Earth’. They can also choose whether to use a Coral machine learning accelerator during their experiment time. 

ESA received 88% more applications for Mission Space Lab this year compared to last year. In total, 799 teams applied in September 2021, so achieving  flight status is a huge accomplishment for the successful teams. It isn’t possible to run every experiment submitted, as there is only limited time available for the Astro Pis to be positioned in the ISS window. However, 67 more experiments will run on the ISS this year, compared to last year. Eliminating teams was very difficult; many unsuccessful teams had code that could not be run because of very small issues with their program.

Teams can use the Astro Pi to investigate life inside the Columbus module of the ISS using at least one of the Astro Pi’s sensors. 71 'Life in space' experiments will run this year. 

Teams can investigate features on the Earth’s surface using the camera on the Astro Pi, which is positioned to view Earth from a window on the ISS. This year, for the first time, teams could decide whether to use visible light or Infrared (IR) photography. 228 'Life on Earth' experiments will run this year and teams are using sensors to determine the precise location of the ISS when images are captured, to identify whether the ISS is flying over land or sea, or which country it is passing over. 

More details here.

Image credit: ESA