The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) invites Filipino students from all levels to #JoinTheMission and participate in the 5th Kibo Robot Programming Challenge (Kibo-RPC)!  

Hosted by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Kibo-RPC is an international challenge where teams of 3-8 students will code a program that will move Astrobee to designated locations within the Japanese “Kibo” module aboard the International Space Station (ISS).  

Astrobee is a free-flying robotic system by NASA that helps astronauts reduce the time they spend on routine duties. Working autonomously or via remote control, Astrobee robots can perform tasks such as taking inventory, documenting experiments, and moving small items throughout the ISS. 

As a member of the Kibo-ABC, PhilSA will lead and organize the local call for proposals to the 5th Kibo-RPC. 

Challenge Scenario 

An astronaut aboard the ISS is busy preparing for the 2024 Asian Try Zero-G (ATZG) event. However, when the astronaut checked where the necessary experiment tools and manuals were, they found that some of these were missing. With the large number of materials in the ISS, searching for things can be very time-consuming. 

The ATZG event is about to start and the other astronauts on the station are unable to help. NASA’s free-flying robot Astrobee, however, is available to help in the search! 

The search procedure is as follows:  

  1. Command Astrobee to go around the Kibo module and remember everything it has seen. 
  2. Once done, it will report what it saw and ask the astronaut what item/s they are looking for. 
  3. If Astrobee matches the description of the missing item with what it has previously memorized, Astrobee will inform the astronaut of the item location. 

Can you teach Astrobee to find the missing items? 

Full guidebook, Guidance session video, Astrobee programming tutorials 

  1. Guidebook, Rulebook, and Programming Manual  
  2. Challenge Guidance Session Video link 
  3. NASA repository for programming Astrobee – GitHub-1 
  4. NASA repository for programming Astrobee – GitHub-2 
  5. NASA Astrobee website 

For more information, check out JAXA’s information page and watch the 5th Kibo-RPC guidance session here:  

Create your team and register through this link on or before 27 May 2024, 22:59 PhST.  

Applicants will be able to access the program simulator after registration. 

Eligibility requirements 

Team composition 

Each team must be composed of three (3) to eight (8) members. Filipino students of all levels who live in one of the Kibo-ABC member countries/regions, such as the Philippines, are qualified to apply. 

Exceptions may be made in cases such as below:  

  1. Student guardians, teachers, and other non-students may be eligible to compete as long as they are not professional programmers. 
  2. Students studying outside their country may be allowed to form a team representing their country in the place in which they are studying. 

Should any of these apply to your team, please contact PhilSA through the email written at the bottom of the page. 

Please note that applicants under 18 years old must first obtain parental consent. 

Team Leader 

Each team shall have a representative to manage the team as its leader. A student or guardian (or teacher) on the team may be the team representative. The team representative is responsible for: 

  1. Managing the team’s programming progress 
  2. Submitting the application forms 
  3. Submitting the programs 
  4. Correspondence with the POC in your country/region and secretariat. 

Other Conditions 

The following skills and knowledge are preferred but not required: 

  1. Android programming and image processing with Java 
  2. Knowledge of college-level physics and mathematics 

These skills may be required in delivering the results in the competition. During application, please review the attached Kibo-RPC Entry Agreement and tick the consent confirmation box on the Application Form. 


About the Kibo-ABC program 

The Kibo-ABC program or Asian Beneficial Collaboration through Kibo Utilization was established by the Space Frontier Working Group (SFWG) of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF) to promote the utilization and share the value of the Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo,” enhance the capacity of participating organizations, and foster collaborative projects between Japan and Kibo-ABC member countries. 

Kibo-RPC is one of the activities of the Kibo-ABC program where students solve various problems through their programming skills to move the free-flying robots (Astrobee and Int-Ball) in Kibo aboard the ISS. 

Through its Kibo-ABC member organizations, JAXA invites the youth to participate in the challenge. 

For questions and clarifications, please contact