Nanoracks Space Outpost Europe (Nanoracks-Europe), based in Torino, Italy and Rina Consulting SpA – two innovative European space companies, are teaming with DreamUp, PBC to provide space-based educational opportunities to students in Italy impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with fast-tracked funding support from the European Space Agency. The onset of COVID-19 has forced countless students worldwide to learn from home, bringing unprecedented change to the educational landscape, providing major challenges, yet also unique opportunities.
The team is launching the development of DreamCoder 2.0, an innovative computer engineering education program providing students the opportunity to develop and execute code on a platform installed on the International Space Station. Utilizing this platform, installed in a Nanoracks Nanolab, students can gather data on various conditions such as humidity, temperature, and acceleration, to answer original research questions about human spaceflight and the conditions of the Space Station. Rina Consulting, will provide technological expertise for the updated DreamCoder 2.0 infrastructure and cloud computing element, which will open DreamCoder to the home-learning environment.
To meet this challenge, the European Space Agency (ESA), through their ESA Space Solutions program, announced the funding opportunity “Space in Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak” in collaboration with the Italian Minister for Technological Innovation and Digitalization, the Italian Space Agency and other European countries.
Through utilization of both current DreamCoder hardware installed on the Space Station via Nanoracks (US), and the development and improvement of the ground-based classroom hardware known as the “Sagan Spacelab,” via ESA, DreamCoder 2.0 will allow a unique global public-private partnership in the name of space and STEM education.
“Space applications can play an important role in creating innovative services for education, says Liz Barrow, Technical Officer for ESA Space Solutions. “We look forward to the development of DreamCoder 2.0 and motivating students through space!”
In order to implement DreamCoder 2.0, Nanoracks-Europe will engage with a user community of Italian supporters and stakeholders, including high schools in cities such as Torino, Rome, Lecce, and Ronciglione; schools in rural municipalities such as Teggiano; and in universities located in research and development centers such as Napoli and Rome.
“With kids learning from home around the world due to COVID-19, we’re looking for new and innovative way to keep students engaged with space education,” says DreamUp Manager of Partnerships and Outreach, Lauren Milord. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be collaborating with our friends at Nanoracks in Europe, as well as with new partners, to ensure that Italian students will have access to cutting-edge, and groundbreaking space education, regardless of where they learn”
“This is an absolutely exciting opportunity for Nanoracks-Europe to make a difference in the lives of our local students during this unique time,” says Nanoracks-Europe’s Director of Global Engagement, Veronica La Regina. “Space exploration inspires our younger generation to dream big, and it’s important that those dreams remain achievable from home even when the classroom is not available to Italian students. Thank you to our partners at ESA, the Italian Space Agency, Rina Consulting SpA, and the Italian Minister for Technological Innovation and Digitalization for making this advancement possible!”