Zero Robotics High School Tournament 2014 (USA Only)
06 September 2014, 13:00:00 EDT
19 December 2014, 16:59:59 EST
Tournament Status: A total of 3 teams are competing

Zero Robotics High School Tournament 2014 (USA Only)

September 06, 2014

The 2014 High School Tournament registration takes place in the spring and summer (Jan-Sep), with the main competition season in the fall (Sep to Dec). The tournament is open to any group of high-school (or equivalent) students in the USA and its territories. Teams from the European Space Agency member countries will be participating in a joint tournament.

"Zero Robotics" tournaments open the world-class research facilities on the International Space Station (ISS) to high school students. Students write programs at their high schools that may control a satellite in space! The goal is to build critical engineering skills for students, such as problem solving, design thought process, operations training, and team work.

The participants compete to win a technically challenging game by programming their strategies into the SPHERES satellites. The game is motivated by a challenging problem of interest to DARPA, NASA and MIT. The programs are "autonomous" - that is, the students cannot control the satellites during the test itself.

The tournament begins with simulations in phases from 2D to 3D, gradually increasing in difficulty. After elimination rounds, the finalists will see their code run in the SPHERES satellites aboard the International Space Station with live transmission from space. The finals take place at MIT and are also webcast live to all participants so that remote viewing is possible.

Student teams can create, edit, save and simulate projects online. They may use a graphical block diagram editor or a C editor to write code, then simulate their program immediately and see the results in a flash animation. MIT provides the simulation and C programming interfaces via the Zero Robotics website--no special software is required. The simulation also enables teams to compete against themselves or pre-coded standard players and challenge other teams informally; students have ample opportunities to test different strategies before submitting their code for a formal competition. All submissions to challenge others and to the competition are via the website. Students also have access to online tutorials and an MIT technical support system.

Official Tournament Rules


The Zero Robotics High School Tournament consists of five main stages:

·         Application

·         2D simulation competition

·         3D simulation competition

·         Alliance formation and semi-finals simulation competition

·         ISS competition.

The contest begins with several simulation competitions held online at the Zero Robotics website that gradually increase in difficulty. Finalists from the online simulation phase will proceed to the ISS, where an astronaut conducts a live competition with the SPHERES satellites and in microgravity! This final ISS event will be hosted at MIT with special audio/video links, and all teams will be invited to attend.


The Zero Robotics High School Tournament 2014 (the “Tournament”) is run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Space Systems Laboratory, 70 Vassar St., Cambridge, MA 02139 (“MIT”) and TopCoder, Inc., 95 Glastonbury Blvd., Glastonbury, CT 06033 ("TopCoder").  The Tournament is sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and NASA ("Sponsors").  The Tournament is open to teams of U.S. High School students who meet the application criteria and submit a valid application.  The eligibility and rules for the Tournament will be posted at the start of the Tournament.  By participating in the Tournament, each participant agrees to abide by the Tournament rules and to abide by the decisions of the Tournament administrators.

By participating in the Tournament, each participant agrees that under no circumstances, including, but not limited to, negligence, shall TopCoder, MIT, or the Sponsors, or their respective officers, directors, employees, shareholders, agents, successors, and assigns (the "Released Parties") be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, or consequential damages arising out participation in the Tournament, even if any or all of the Released Parties have been advised of the possibility of such damages.


Any accredited high-school or equivalent in the U.S.A. can register a team of students; multiple high-schools can join to form a single team as a "district". All students must be in grades 9-12 registered at an accredited High School or home schooled to an equivalent level. Each team must be between 5-20 students. All schools must provide the teams with at least two computers and have internet access (including access to Flash).

Unless permissions is granted on a case-by-case basis, each high-school/organization may only have one team of 5-20 students. In the case that multiple teams are approved in a single school/organization, then (i) each team must have at least 12 students (ii) the teams must work independently of each other (iii) the teams may not be part of the same alliance (iv) teams may not exchange students at any point during the tournament.

All the students in the teams must create their own Zero Robotics account and the team mentor/leader must create the complete team roster. Only the students registered in the Zero Robotics website team roster will be considered part of the team.

The Tournament has no limit to the number of accepted applications provided they meet the application requirements.

2D "Practice Run"

In order to provide new teams (which we hope to get many!) with sufficient time to learn how to use Zero Robotics, this year the 2D Phase (throughout September) will be a practice run that does not count towards elimination. The elimination phases will start with the 3D simulation during October.


NOTE: The dates listed here are preliminary and subject to change.  We do not anticipate a change of more than a few days to the kickoff and final submission deadlines.

The Tournament begins at 13:00:00 U.S. EDT on 2014-Sep-06 (Sat) and ends at 16:59:59 U.S. EDT on 2014-Dec-19 (Fri) ("Tournament Period").  Registration for the Tournament will start 2014-Jan-18 (Sat) will remain open until to 2014-Sep-5 (Fri). To be an official competitor you must submit code to the 2D Practice competition on 2014-Sep-26(Fri). Participation constitutes Contestant's full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of these Official Rules. All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply.

Key dates:

September 6th (Sat), 13:00 EDT

Kickoff webcast live from MIT

September 26th (Fri), 16:59:59 EDT

2D Practice

October 31st (Fri), 16:59:59 EST

3D Submission Deadline

November 8th (Sat), 13:00 EDT

Alliance Draft

December 5th (Fri), 16:59:59 EST

Alliance Deadline

December 19th (Fri), 16:59:59 EST

ISS Deadline

Mid Jan, 2015

ISS Finals


Code and documentation submissions that are provided by participants to the web site (“Submissions”) will be shared publicly with all participants after the Tournament.  As a condition of participation, all participants and teams grant to TopCoder, MIT, and the Sponsors a perpetual, royalty-free, irrevocable, non-exclusive license to use, reproduce and publish any and all Submissions and to permit TopCoder, MIT, the Sponsors, and other third parties (including without limitation participants’ teammates, and other teams) to copy, modify, prepare derivative works of, make and use their Submissions.



ZRHS 2014 USA Teams

Sorted by State
Team # Team Name City State
ZRHS #272 SpaceEagles El Segundo California
ZRHS #89 Team Kuhlschrank Sparta NJ
ZRHS #292 Deviltron Presidio Texas

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