In 1957 Soviet Union made the first launch in the Sputnik program - the very first satellite designed and created by humankind. It was a 58 cm diameter polished metal sphere, with four external radio antennae to broadcast radio pulses. The era of space exploration has begun. Since that time hundreds of satellites continue to fill the space surrounding our planet and help people in solving every day routine. One satellite usually serves the needs of people for several years and then it goes down into the ocean or goes up to outer orbits and cannot return to the Earth. However a lot of crashes happen as a result of satellite collisions with other objects in the Space. Such kind of crashes leads to a large amount of debris polluting the near-Earth space. According to scientists there is more than 100 thousand of debris 1x1 cm in size weighing more than 5000 tons on the orbits 2000 km above the Earth. Considering all the tiny objects the amount of debris reaches 300 million. Meanwhile even the collision with 1 mm size element speeding up to 10-15 km/s is able to destroy the whole space station.

In order to resolve the space debris problem the area around the Earth should contain factories-satellites for collecting and recycling any kind of space debris. The factories could be completely automated and special robots will explore the Outer Space to discover artificial objects and distinguish satellites in service from real debris.

Challenge Overview

The mission of the robot is to collect all the Space Debris and Failed Satellites and to load them into the Factory Satellite. Valid Satellites must remain in the orbit. The robot must return in the Base zone (Earth) after compleeting the task.

Space Debris

Red ball placed on a LEGO plate represents a Failed Satellite Blue ball placed on a LEGO plate represents a Valid Satellite


Rules & Regulations

  1. The number of the challange objects is determined in the competition day before assembly time. In order to do this 10 cards with possible combination of the challange objects are put in a non-transparent box (download cards). The number of the objects on the cards is from 6 to 8 and 2 or more objects of the same type can be used. One of the card is taken for the box and it will determine the combination of the challange objects which will be used in all rounds during this competition day.

  1. Before the round starts (post-quarantine) the location of every challange object is determined. The following rule is used: every arc of the Satellite Orbit (the arcs between intersections of the Sattelite Orbit and Factory Satellite orbit) can contain from 0 to 2 challange objects, two objects on the same type cannot be located on the same arc and two adjacent positions (see markers on the Satellite Orbit) cannot be occupied by the challange objects. The location of the challange objects will be fixed for all participants in the round. This method to determine the challange object postions will be made for every round during the competition day.

  2. Multiple programs in the robot are allowed. For scoring rounds, the participants are only allowed to choose a program and press the enter button to run it. Participants are not allowed to make any additional input or setting to the chosen program.

  3. The robot begins in the Base area (Earth) and finishes in the same area. 

  4. The Factory Satellite moves counterclockwise along the Factory Satellite Orbit on the playing field with a speed from 5 cm/s to 10 cm/s.
  5. The robot must start within the Base area (Earth). The robot must be placed completely in the Base area. The participants arrange the physical position of the robot to their liking before the attempt starts.
  6. As soon as the robot has been arranged and the Factory Satellite has arrived to the starting position at the playing field the judge gives the signal to start.

  1. The mission of the robot is to collect all the Space Debris and Failed Satellites and to load them into the Factory Satellite.
  2. Valid Satellites must not be moved from their initial position. A Valid Satellite is considered as moved if it is shifted from its plate or both the satellite and plate are completly outside of the green line representing the Satellites Orbit. Penalty will be given for every Valid Satellite moved from their initial position. 
  3. An object is loaded into the Factory Satellite only when the object is completely loaded into the container of the Factory Satellite (the white cylinder).
  4. The robot is allowed to touch the Factory Satellite, to handicap its movements or to stop it. If the Factory Satellite got off its orbit as a result of the robot’s actions the attempt will be stopped. Scroing will be made for all the challenge objects handled by the robot till this moment. 
  5. When the robot enters completely to the Base area and has stopped moving, attempt will be stopped. The robot is allowed to pass through the Base area (even completely) without movements ceasing. If the robot completely enters to the Base area and stops (for example to perform a turn), this action will be considered as the finish and the attempt will be stopped.
  6. The attempt and time will stop if: 
  • The robot completely enters to the Base area and has stopped moving.
  • Any team member touches the robot after it starts or touches any object on the field.
  • The Factory Satellite got off its orbit as a result of the robot’s actions.
  • Challenge time (2 minutes) has ended.
  • Participant call for "Stop" of the match. 
  • Violation of the rules and regulations herein.


  1. Score will only be calculated at the end of the challenge or when time stops.
  2. A space Debris item or a Failed Satellite is completely outside of the green line representing the satellites orbit = 5 pts per item.
  3. Placing a Space Debris item completely into the container of the Factory Satellite = 40 points per item.
  4. Placing a Failed Satellite completely into the container of the Factory Satellite = 50 points per item.
  5. Moving of a Valid Satellite completely from its initial position, a penalty will be subtracted =  15 points per item.
  6. The robot finishes completely in the Base area (at least one Space Debris item or Failed Satellite is moved completely outside of the green line representing satellites orbit) = 20 points. 
  7. Maximum score = 330 points.

ASpace Debris item or 
a Failed Satellite is outside of 
the Satellite Orbit

Loading of Space Debris

Loading of Failed Satellite

Finish in Base 

5 points per item

40 points

50 points

20 points
  • 15 points penalties will be subtracted for every Valid Satellite moved from its initial position on the Satellite Orbit


Table Specification

  1. Horizontal Dimensions: 2370 mm × 1150 mm.
    (download the mat in .ai)
  2. A wall that is 16 mm in width surrounds the table. The height of the wall is 50 mm.. 
  3. The playing field consists of the Base area, Black and Light Green Lines representing the orbits
  4. The table base color is white, except for cyan Base area, Black and Light Green orbits. 
  5. The Base area a cyan circle 360 mm in diameter as a symbol of the Earth.
  6. The width of the lines in the playing field area is 30 mm ± 1 mm. 
  7. The error tolerance of the field is ± 10 mm.. 
  8. The playing field contains:  
  • Valid and Bad Satellites are represented by red and blue balls 
  • Space Debris is a LEGO construction built from red LEGO Technic beams.
  • The Factory Satellite introduced by a robotics vehicle with a cylindrical container 250 mm in diameter and 160 mm in height (with empty section about 100 mm height)
  1.  Red balls represent Failed Satellites. Blue balls represent Valid Satellites. Red and blue balls 52 mm in diameter are placed on 2x2 LEGO plates.
  2. Five LEGO bricks in height, 6x6 studs in size represent Space Debris: 10 red LEGO Technic Brick 1x6 and 10 LEGO Technic Brick 1x4.
  3. The robot in the Factory Satellite may be made of Lego Mindstorms Set and programmed with any software. 

 NXT-based version

The model of the robot in LDD v.1

The model of the robot in LDD v.2

Build instructions for NXT  v.1 (pdf)

Build instructions for NXT  v.2 (pdf)

Program for the robot in Robolab 2.9

Program for the robot inв NXT-G

Program for the robot in EV3-G

EV3-based version

The model of the robot in LDD v.1

The model of the robot in LDD v.2

Build instructions for EV3 v.1(pdf) 

Build instructions for EV3 v.2 (pdf) 

Program for robot in EV3-G 


  1. All materials 
  2. Example of the challange task solving: