A diverse group of middle-school
students go on the journey of a
lifetime when they compete in a nationwide tournament to code
satellites aboard the International
Space Station.

While it’s true today’s 11-year-olds will one day run the world, middle-schoolers in San Jose, CA are taking their summer break to get a head start. Immersed in their own space race, a diverse group of ambitious students enter the Zero Robotics ISS (International Space Station) Competition.

Their mission: compete with teams across the country to write the most strategic code for surveying satellites, known as SPHERES. These satellites will help map out a GPS system to successfully orbit Mars in the future, opening the door to infinite opportunities and exploration on the Red Planet.

Coached by first-time instructor Tanner Marcoida, three of his engaging young students, Adrien Engelder, Advik Gonugunta, and Carol Gonzalez, lead the charge. Each coder-in-the-making brings  their own strengths, unique perspectives, and boundless curiosity to their team, together embarking on an out-of-this-world STEM quest that celebrates space, teamwork, and the triumph of the human spirit.   

Featuring astronauts Steve Smith, Cady Coleman, and ISS resident Jack Fischer — who performs the students’ incredible achievements in orbit 250 miles above the Earth‘s surface — Thomas Verrette’s inspiring documentary highlights the importance of empowering the next generation of scientists, engineers, and innovators who will fearlessly lead us into the future — and even the unknown…

Zero Gravity has had an incredibly successful film festival run, having premiered in 70+ film festivals in 12 countries and won 18 awards to date. At the World Premiere at Cinequest, the San Jose Mercury News’ Randy Myers raved “its a winner!”, and named it one of the top 10 films of the year. And at DOC NYC, the biggest documentary festival in the country, Sloan Foundation’s Science and Film exclaimed, “Zero Gravity wins as a film because it beautifully involves us with these bright and appealing kids, their families, and their teacher, and with how reaching toward space affects them. It also wins by subtly showing the power of teamwork, and the benefits of diversity within a team.”

Zero Gravity also earned special presentations at the ISS R&D Conference, Imagine Science LIVE, and Earth X, and was selected as the Opening Night film at the Earth Focus Environmental Film Festival. The educational magazine Video Librarian celebrated Zero Gravity as “an uplifting work guaranteed to inspire young audiences with an interest in science and technology”. Recent educational screenings have engaged 10,000+ students to date across the country, many full with excitement, cheers, spirited Q&As, and remarkable student essays.

Join our mission! Take a look at our impact campaign and take action where you can. We are now partnering with like-minded corporations, companies, organizations, and institutions to inspire and empower new generations toward the world of possibilities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers, by collaborating with their workforce development and social responsibility initiatives for outreach, screenings, lesson plans, and educational distribution of Zero Gravity.

“I really would like to see this film be available for teachers to share this experience with their classes for years to come.

The diversity of all the students was incredible, and I really enjoyed how they shared their life stories and families outside of the competition, so we as the audience can really get to know each one of them on a personal level.”

– 6th Grade Teacher, San Jose, CA