Mission Control Academy

Mission Control Academy is a simulated rover mission that challenges participants to design and operate a planetary exploration mission, culminating in an opportunity to remotely drive a real rover prototype in a Mars-like environment.

The mission scenario asks participants to assume realistic roles in a mission to Mars. Working together on a high-stakes space mission highlights important interdisciplinary communication and teamwork skills in an incomparable learning environment. Furthermore, teams have the opportunity to learn from professionals in the space industry who have worked on robotic space missions.

From elementary school students all the way to professionals in the space industry, Mission Control Academy has refined curriculum versions that can cater to any participant group. Like the Robotic Planetary Exploration Analogue Mission (RPEAM) program, previously deployed with the Canadian Space Agency and other partners at the International Space University Space Studies Program, MCA is a unique learning experience and showcases Canadian expertise in space exploration.

For more information about MCA, watch the video below, download our program flyer, and please contact us to see how the program can be deployed for your group.

Mission Control Academy

Latest News

07
Apr
2021

Reach for the Moon – Video Contest

Are you a Grade 8-12 student in Canada or India? We have an exciting opportunity for you! If you have ever wanted to learn to drive a rover on the Moon, this might be your chance.

We’re thrilled to announce our #ReachForTheMoon video contest with our partner in India, Axiom Research Labs (ARL) a.k.a. Team Indus, and with support from SEDS-Canada and SEDS-India.

To enter the contest, all you have to do is submit a 1-minute video and tell us about an experiment that you would run on the Moon if you had the chance. Be creative, be passionate, and tell us what makes you excited about space exploration!

Your submissions will be reviewed by our panel of expert judges in space exploration, science and robotics:

  • Natalie Panek: Senior Engineer, Systems Design at MDA
  • Dr. Andrew Rader: Mission Manager at SpaceX
  • Dr. Tanya Harrison: Director of Science Strategy at Planet Labs

The top 3 students from each country will get to remotely drive a real rover at our Moonscape in Ottawa, Canada, using our Mission Control Software platform for real-time rover teleoperations. As part of this experience, you will also get a chance to learn about planetary science and robotics in a virtual hangout led by our Chief Science Officer Dr. Melissa Battler.

For details on rules and how to apply, refer to our contest document.

The deadline to submit is May 30, 11:59 pm EDT. We’re excited to see where your imagination takes you!

Our Story

This summer (2021), we will run a series of lunar exploration mission tests at our facility in Ottawa, as part of a project called Mission Control Intelligence in partnership with ARL. Together with ARL, we will test next-generation technologies in robotics and artificial intelligence designed to help support scientists and engineers that will one day be a part of operating a rover on the Moon. Visit our Mission Control Intelligence project page to learn more!

To share our excitement for space exploration and help the next generation of students get a unique experience in the exciting world of space technology and planetary science, we have designed the Reach for the Moon contest for grade 8-12 school students in Canada and India.

This contest builds on the success of our immersive & educational program called Mission Control Academy, where students from all backgrounds can get the opportunity of conducting a mock planetary rover mission with a real rover using our web-based operations interface that we offer as a part of our Mission Control Software.

As we send more and more missions to the Moon and beyond, we strongly believe in leveraging our technologies to help inspire the next generation of students to get excited about space exploration and follow their dreams.

Our Mission Control Software can not only help make future planetary exploration missions more productive for operations teams, but it can also help them bring students and the general public along for the ride.

Mission Control Academy - students operating a rover
Students operating our rover using our Mission Control Software, as part of a interactive and immersive educational Mission Control Academy session.

15
Oct
2019

Mission Control Academy – EPO


Part of the Mission Control Academy experience is letting our participants act out real roles in a planetary rover mission, including acting as our PAO (Public Affairs Officer) to do EPO: Education & Public Outreach!
Education & Public Outreach in a mission is incredibly important to help involve the public and encourage support and understanding of the exciting exploration work happening in space. EPO is a critical part of any science mission, keeping people and especially students engaged, and strengthening their understanding and connection to space missions.
Starting this Friday, Oct 18th, our new Mission Control Academy Twitter Account will be showcasing the experience of students at Waltrip High (Houston) & Woodroffe High (Ottawa) as they drive our Rover prototype all the way in Montreal at the CSA Mars Yard.

These 2 Mission Control Academies are delivered as part of our SANDE project.

Follow along on our social media accounts!


01
Oct
2019

SAND-E & Mission Control Academy

Mission Control is excited to announce a deployment of Mission Control Academy, our immersive, technology-based education and outreach program for students this fall at Waltrip High School in Houston, Texas, and Woodroffe High School in Ottawa, Ontario.
The program will take place over 2 weeks, during which time Mission Control scientists and engineers will deliver lessons to educate the students on planetary science, engineering and mission operations. The program will culminate on October 18th, 2019, when students in both Ottawa and Houston, will remotely operate a rover prototype deployed at the Canadian Space Agency Mars Analogue Terrain in Saint-Hubert, Canada, replicating the experience of executing a real mission to Mars. Media are welcome to attend the missions on October 18th either at the two schools.

Topics for the lecture/workshops include: ‘An introduction to the solar system and our galactic back yard’, ‘Why we explore space, and the careers available’, ‘Planetary science and the search for life’, ‘Rover systems and design’, and ‘Planning a Mars exploration mission’
Follow along with our social media channels and the hashtags #MissionControlAcademy and #SANDE!


09
Mar
2018

Remotely driving – from Ottawa to New Mexico


This week, our team was so excited to showcase some of our very own proprietary rover control software that we have been developing over the past few years.

At an event at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, we were able to demonstrate to students and industry partners what our company has been working towards on the education and outreach side. Not only were we able to talk with Woodroffe high school students about what we are working on and passionate about, we were also able to share the podium with inspiring STEM role model, Canadian Astronaut Robert Thirsk.

After presentations, students were able to drive our rover in New Mexico all the way from Ottawa. This was a small demo of what we offer in our Mission Control Academy program each year, and tied our work in New Mexico back to our partners and community back in Ottawa!


07
Mar
2018

Mission Control at White Sands

Over the greater part of March, the Mission Control team is here in White Sands National Monument, doing a final demonstration of our ASAS technology with support from Canadian Space Agency!
ASAS is a technology we’ve been working on since 2015. We are using this opportunity at White Sands National Monument to test our software in a natural sand environment, which doesn’t exist at the facilities we have access to in Ottawa.

Over the next three weeks or so, we will test core system functionality, localization performance, ASAS functionality (terramechanics model), new wheels and characterize slip-slope… among other things!

Follow us on twitter for daily updates: #MissionControlWSNM


01
Aug
2017

Mission Control Academy at ISU

Once again, Mission Control Academy was able to successfully run missions at International Space University’s Summer Space Program. This year, participants from around the world gathered in Cork, Ireland to learn about space and join the brilliant ISU network. Ewan, Michaela, and Melissa were all able to attend and deliver exciting expert lectures, one of the key parts of the MCA program.
Once again, the Canadian Space Agency allowed us the use of their Mars Yard, so participants had a realistic and exciting view of a simulated Mars terrain during their missions.


30
Jul
2017

MCA at Ashbury

Mission Control Academy is not just for older students – STEM education is fun at all ages! Engagement of students beginning at a young age is one of the important aspects of the Mission Control Academy vision.
This year, we were able to partner up with Ashbury College, right in our hometown of Ottawa, ON. Not only were we able to deliver in-person lectures, elementary school students were able to travel to the Canadian Space Agency to operate their rover mission and tour the facilities. Thank you to the CSA for their help in execution of this mission!


13
Jul
2017

Mission Control Academy at UCT

The reaches of our program go far beyond the Northern Hemisphere!
University of Cape Town Space Lab, all the way in South Africa, is our second Mission Control site this summer! University level students have had the opportunity to learn directly from our team of experts on all of our MCA topics. Team Alpha and Bravo are blasting off this week, so follow our friends UCT on Twitter and keep up to date with our hashtag, #MissionControlAcademy and on Facebook!


07
Jun
2017

Davidson Institute Mission Control Academy

Davidson Institute was the first run of Mission Control Academy this summer, all the way in Rehovot, Israel. Teams of students were able to remotely meet our team and learn about our MCA topics: Rover Systems, Planetary Science, and Space Mission Design. Finally, in their mission simulation they controlled a rover thousands of miles away in Montreal Canada on the Canadian Space Agency Mars Yard. Follow us on Twitter to see what’s happening with our MCA missions around the world this summer!


22
May
2017

MCA at Ashbury – Press Release

http://www.prweb.com/releases/missioncontrolacademy/ashburycollege/prweb14323300.htm

Check out our press release linked above, announcing the exciting opportunity for those in the Ottawa area to take part in Mission Control Academy this summer! Registration has yet to close, so if you know of students ages 11-16 (some exceptions can be made) please contact anne@missioncontrolspaceservices.com or visit Ashbury’s registration page: https://summer.ashbury.ca/products/mission-control-academy