DreamCoder TM 2.0

  • ACTIVITYDemonstration Project
  • STATUSOngoing
  • THEMATIC AREAEducation & Training

Objectives of the service

Image credit: Nanoracks Space Outpost Europe srl

DreamCoder 2.0 aims to train tomorrow’s future space explorers (e. g. schools and individuals)  by a capacity building tool of a browser-based platform with a Phyton Code Editor interacting with a ground-based Sagan board mirrored on the ISS.

Users and their needs

The key customer segments targeted by the DreamCoder 2.0 as product / service are related to Education (coding and curriculums about space sciences and technologies), entertainment (tech enthusiasts) and corporations (team building). 

The primary marketplace is Italy where the pilot phase is performed.

Service/ system concept

A high-level description of the system and its key building block is below displayed.

The DreamCoder 2.0 System encompasses the key-features, such as:

  • Multi-user platform enabling the performance of users with different roles and capabilities:
    • The teacher can manage the Virtual Classroom, manage classes, and pair new boards;
    • The student can participate to the Virtual Classroom, interact with the teacher and other students and can write code experiment, execute the experiment and the retrieve the results;
    • The administrator can manage the schools and the users, it receives the code to be executed on the ISS-based board.
    • The single user can pair his/her board, write code experiment, execute them and retrieve results. He/she cannot use collaborative editing and virtual classroom.
  • The collaborative environment which enables teachers and students to share their code experiments with other students or teachers so that both can work together by using a collaborative editor.
  • The platform comprehends three sub-elements: 
    • Learning Contents, 
    • Virtual Classroom and 
    • Code Editor (for the interaction with the board).
  • Th remote terminal, ground-based board (Sagan board) and/or ISS-based board with 12 sensors where the experiments are executed. The access to the boards is through the Code Editor.
  • The central repository enables the storing of the experiment results.

The main elements of the development phase of the project are:

  • Moodle that provides methods for e-learning contents fruition. Students can take courses and evaluate their competences.
  • Jitsi enables a virtual class environment to facilitate team working experience and to reduce the sense of isolation caused by the outbreak. They provide classical tele-conferencing items, such as chat, forum, video.
  • Code Editor enables the interaction/communication with the sagan board. It contains at least the following elements:
    • a method for remote access to the sagan board;
    • an editor to write code and send it to the Ground Board for execution;
    • a method to visualize the experiment results and retrieve them;
    • a method enables teachers and students sharing the code blocks with others (students or teachers), and 
    • a functionality to share project and work in a collaborative environment.
  • The Management tool with a set of functionalities, for administrators and teachers, to manages schools, classes, users, and permission. It has in charge the synchronization of School/Class hierarchy in the different modules.

The code to be executed to the ISS is sent automatically by the system, with access guaranteed even outside the physical classroom. Comparison between the results obtained with the Ground Board and the ISS Board guarantees enhanced knowledge of space environment.  The results can be stored in a proper repository.

The system comprehends HW and SW components, such as:

  • The hardware components are:
    • Sagan Board with 12 Sensors (Ground element)
    • Sagan Board with 12 Sensors (ISS element)
    • Wifi Connection for internet access to the Ground element
    • Azure Server Virtual Machine (website)
  • The key-software components are:
    • Firmware installed on the electronic board that read the experiment from the queue and send back the results; this also includes the tools to send and receive data to/from the different boards: this component manages the queue of the experiments for each board;
    • Code Editor environment to develop code, analyze results and screen sharing for collaborative possibility. This provides the functionalities to program the experiment and launch it on the board.
    • Virtual classroom with
      • E-learning functionalities
      • Tel-conference functionalities
    • Central Authentication system is secured by a central authentication system. With this component all the others software components will use the same username and password.
    • Api:
      • Board api to interact with the board, run the code and retrieve the results
      • Virtual classroom api to manages users, schools, classes.
    • User interface requires to be uniformed for the provision of a unique experience for the users. A colour palette will be shared between each software components.

Space Added Value

Space technologies/space assets are on board the ISS. Specifically, a NanoLab installed in a Nanoracks’ frame contains a Space Lab mirroring the Space Lab Hardware kit used in the virtual classroom. This enables the advanced version of DreamCoder 2.0 to be run on the ISS. The link to ground is assured by the ISS communication system through TDRS satellite operated by NASA And operationally Nanoracks uploads code and downloads data during their time on console at the Nanoracks BRIDGE (proprietary ground segment).

Current Status

Tests have been completed and DreamCoder 2.0 is currently being piloted by various schools in Italy. The full service to market is planned in September 2021.

Status Date

Updated: 31 March 2021 - Created: 31 March 2021