Astro Pi

Astro Pi

Thomas Pesquet is heading to the International Space Station in November and you have the chance to get your code into space with him.

Ages:

  • 4-7
  • 7-11
  • 11-14
  • 14-16

Tim Peake may have returned to Earth, but he left behind two very special computers called Ed and Izzy on the International Space Station. You have the opportunity to write programmes that French ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will run on Ed and Izzy during his mission that launched in November 2016.

If you’re a teacher or a student from an ESA member country, this is how you can take part:

  1. Assemble your mission team, which must include at least one support teacher as well as students under the age of 16. Home educated students are welcome.
  2. Use the Mission Plan Template to design a sample mission that showcases your approach to running a space mission, and demonstrates that you can break down your big idea into specific steps. Note that you don’t need to address the challenge at this stage. Submit your mission plan and register your participation.
  3. If you’re picked to continue to the next phase, you will receive an Astro Pi kit and a mission challenge designed by Thomas Pesquet to test your team’s ingenuity and skills.
  4. If your solutions are picked, then your code will be beamed up to the ISS, installed on the Astro Pi units, and run by Thomas Pesquet.

To help you learn all about the Astro Pi units and gain the skills to use a Raspberry Pi equipped with a Sense HAT, we have a variety of resources that you can begin to work your way through. Just go to our resources section and have a look through the Astro Pi and Sense HAT resources. Even if you don’t have a Sense HAT yourself, you can still learn how to use one with either the stand-alone, desktop Sense HAT emulator or Trinket’s web-based emulator.

For further information, including important dates, please see the Teacher’s Corner page on the ESA website.

Find out more about the Astro Pi coding competition


Do strange, unexplained things happen on the International Space Station? With this resource you can help us find out.

The Astro Pis have spent several weeks in a flight recorder mode where they both saved sensor readings to a database every 10 seconds. If anything strange happened, the Astro Pis would have recorded it.

Because the sensor readings were taken so often there’s masses of data to search through, so we need your help to look through the data to find out what has been going on. There could be strange, unexplained things, or just the normal day-to-day activities of the astronauts. The Astro Pis have created  several large CSV files, which you can now analyse and download here.

To help you get started with this we have obtained some example sensor readings from the ISS life support system. These show what certain activities look like when plotted on a graph, so that you can look for something similar in the Astro Pi data.

Learn how to analyse the Flight Data