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Coding for International Space Station

​The aim of the CubeRider project was to send a minicomputer with some coding to the International Space Station (ISS).  Here year 10 students had the opportunity to run several experiments that would last for 15 min. This exciting new initiative was designed to increase students’ engagement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). 
The minicomputer has several sensors that could be run simultaneously and/or independently, depending on the experiment that the group wanted to run.  The experiment required coding to cycle the minicomputer on and off to allow the sensors enough time to record information for at least one orbit of Earth. As there was only 15 minutes of “run” time, the students had to maximise the recordings for one orbit.   The group calculated that the sensors would be on for one minute and sleep for 7 minutes.  Simultaneously they hoped to be able to collect data about internal pressure and temperature of the International Space Station allowing them to detect via the slightest change in pressure of the internal atmosphere where the Station is positioned in relation to the Sun and the Earth. The aim is to measure the magnetic field (in three dimensions) of earth by using the real time clock and the ISS tracker as a reference for the ISS’s position, and hope to locate discrepancies in the magnetic field lines.
The experiment was sent to an Australian company, called CubeRider to collaborate with NASA to check the students' Python Code.  Once the code was cleared, NASA sent it to the Space station in early October.  They received the experimental data back from the Space station with lots of information, in November.  Now the fun begins when trying to decode the data!!