Tag Archives: massachusetts institute of technology mit

FAN, MIT, NASA Launch 2013 Summer Robotics Program

17 Jun


For the last five months, the Florida Afterschool Network has been working closely with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to launch an exciting, project-based, summer science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum for middle school students.  The program began today, June 17, in four counties.

Ten teams of middle school students from Brevard, Indian River, Orange, and St. Lucie counties will work with leaders in the science and technology fields to learn and write coding to control SPHERE satellites aboard the International Space Station. At the conclusion of the summer, the teams will compete against one another, as well as against teams from California, Georgia, Idaho, and Massachusetts, to determine the most effective code.  The final competition will take place live, on the International Space Station.  Each team will serve up to 20 middle school youth.

“The programs selected to participate in the Zero Robotics Summer SPHERES Program have demonstrated a commitment to including innovative STEM curriculum in their summer programs,” said Larry Pintacuda, CEO of the Florida Afterschool Network.  “The teams will work with program staff and scientists to learn about robotics and space engineering while gaining hands-on experience.”

“Governor Rick Scott has been very focused on increasing awareness about the importance of STEM subjects and careers,” said Florida Commissioner of Education Dr. Tony Bennett.  “By providing students with the opportunity to build relationships with experts in the field, and learn in a team-oriented environment, students will discover the wonderful possibilities of working in the science and technology community.”

SPHERES are bowling-ball sized spherical satellites used inside the International Space Station to test a set of well-defined instructions for spacecraft performing autonomous formation flight and docking maneuvers. “SPHERES” is an acronym for Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites.

The Summer SPHERES Program is a continuation of the programming made available in 2010 through NASA’s Summer of Innovation Grant Program, which originated at MIT in the Boston area.

For more information on afterschool and out-of-school time, as well as summer programming, in Florida, visit www.myfan.org.