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The 4th Kibo Robot Programming Challenge: Workshop and Tsukuba Space Center Tour Report

  • Experiment at Kibo
  • Kibo Utilization Office for Asia (KUOA)

On October 21, 2023, JAXA held the 4th Kibo Robot Programming Challenge (Kibo-RPC) Final Round Event. In conjunction with this, we held a hybrid online and on-site workshop for the participants of this competition after the finals. A facility tour was also conducted at the JAXA Tsukuba Space Center for the students of the teams participating in the on-site event.


At the workshop, Mr. Wataru Yamakawa of SEC Co., LTD., the event's sponsor, first gave feedback on the finalists' programs. Some teams found that Astrobee, which worked well in the simulation, did not work well in the real environment. The discussions helped students improve their skills by explaining why such things happened and how they should have written their programming. In addition, Professor NAKASUKA Shinichi of the University of Tokyo, who was the advisor for this event, gave a lecture on the difference between a real environment and a simulation, JAXA Research and Development Director YAMAGUCHI Seiko Piotr gave a lecture on how robots are used in space, and JAXA Astronaut WAKATA Koichi gave a lecture on his long stay in space last year. The workshop included a student session in which the top teams presented their team strategies and best ideas. There was also active discussion among the students (Table 1) (Figure 1).

Table 1: Networking Event Program

Program Participants
1 Opening Ceremony Moderator: MIYAGAWA Yayoi, Associate Senior Administrator, JEM Utilization Center, JAXA
2 Mini Special Lecture: Kibo-RPC 4th Final Round Source Code Review Feedback YAMAKAWA Wataru, Software Engineering Department, SEC Co., LTD.
3 Student Session:
・Comment from Winning Team
・Questions for Other Teams
All Participants
4 Mini Special Lecture:
Difference between real and simulated environments
NAKASUKA Shinichi, Professor, the University of Tokyo
5 Mini Special Lecture:
How to use Robots in Space
YAMAGUCHI Seiko Piotr, Engineer, Human Spaceflight Technology Center, JAXA
6 Mini Special Lecture:
The Life and Work in Space+Q&A
JAXA Astronaut WAKATA Koichi
7 Closing Ceremony Moderator Ms. MIYAGAWA
Comments from the Thailand Team
Discussions with Other Teams
Lecture by Professor Nakasuka

Figure 1: A view of the Workshop

Tour of Tsukuba Space Center

This was the first time since Kibo-RPC began that participants were able to be on-site for this final round event. A total of 20 students from Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia, which successfully made it to the finals of the UNOOSA International Slot as a UNOOSA, visited the Tsukuba Space Center.

The students and their guardians who visited the Tsukuba Space Center first visited the exhibition hall (Space Dome) where models of rockets, satellites, and Kibo are on display. After that, they toured the Astronaut Training Facility and took a lunch break. During the lunch break, they signed colored paper celebrating the success of this mission for display on the sign board in the User Operation Area (UOA).

The Final Round Event was held after the lunch break, and the participants were both delighted and sad as they watched Astrobee in action with their own programs. After the Final Round Event, participants enjoyed a commemorative photo with Astronaut Wakata before the workshop.

After the workshop, participants visited a VIP room overlooking Kibo's Mission Control Room (MCR) and listened to explanations of experiments and missions currently being conducted using Kibo. Finally, the event ended with a visit to the exhibition room of robots developed by JAXA, including Int-Ball2 (Figure 2).

Commemorative photo at the Tsukuba Space Center's Rocket Plaza
A tour of the Astronaut Training Building
Participants receiving an explanation in a special room overlooking Kibo's Mission Control Room (MCR).
Participants listening to explanations in the robot exhibit room

Figure 2: Tour of Tsukuba Space Center

As JAXA is planning to hold the 5th Kibo-RPC, we look forward to seeing you all at the JAXA Tsukuba Space Center.

Unless specified otherwise, rights to all images belong to ©JAXA