Da Vinci Robotics is Heading to Space!

A view of the International Space Station with a red arrow pointing at the Columbus External Payload Facility
The winning projects will be placed in an enclosure and mounted outside the Columbus Module of the International Space Station.
Following the high expectations of excellence set by our superintendent, Dr. G, for all students across the district, the Da Vinci Robotics Program has reached even greater heights. Students enrolled in Da Vinci’s Robotics classes under the direction of engineering teacher and district robotics coordinator, Alfredo Muñoz, have been identified as one of only two teams in the nation that will be sending a self-created experiment into space. Leading up to the final decision on the two winning teams, Da Vinci Robotics represented two of the four final teams competing to send their self-created research project to the International Space Station.

Logo of the DETECTS program, depicting a stylized magnifying glass pointing at a red dot with a yellow glow. Along the left side of the magnifying glass is part of a gear in yellow with a bit of red on the right side.The DETECTS Initiative invited high school teams from all over the U.S. to submit their proposed research designs. Sponsors, The University of Alabama at Huntsville, and SPARC Laboratory then evaluated the proposed projects for their effectiveness in meeting all challenge criteria.

The DETECTS challenge presented to students a year ago involves:

  • Two-semester, hands-on, space payload programming and testing challenge
  • Students designed a small Raspberry Pi experiment to be performed in Low-Earth orbit
  • Students will learn:
    • Basic Python programming
    • Basic circuit design
    • Experiment design and testing
    • Communication skills
    • Teamwork

Da Vinci’s Space Bound Winning Team and Project

Logo of the Toscani team, depicting a thermometer in front of a sun icon (representing summer), falling leaf (representing fall), snowflake (representing winter), and flower (representing spring)
  • Project Manager: Xavier Litman
  • Chief Engineer: Sebastian Banuelos
  • Design/Programming Lead: Seth Rodriguez
  • Design/Programming Member: Jessica Marquez
  • Test Engineer: Kimberly Cardona
  • ACE Lead: Alexandra Rodriguez
  • ACE Member: Jasmine Looney
The Toscani team's circuit board, showing a Raspberry Pi with a custom circuit board mounted to it. The custom circuit board has an accelerometer (a large rectangle on the left) and a thermometer (a slightly smaller rectangle just to the right of the accelerometer) visibly protruding.The Toscani project has several objectives:
  • Measure temperatures in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and identify any relationship between the on-Earth seasons and the temperature in LEO
  • Attempt to identify regions with the most greenhouse gas emissions
  • Measure the constant vibrations on the International Space Station (ISS) and any major changes in these vibrations to eventually identify how often the ISS gets re-boosted into orbit.
  • Potentially calculate the kinetic energy of their Raspberry Pi

Da Vinci Team Named to the Top 4 National Finalists

Logo of the GammaGang team, depicting a stylized box and the text "GammaGang" in various shades of green
  • Project Manager: Jonathan Herrera
  • Chief Engineer: Reagan Rubio
  • Design/Programming: Jonathan Gutierrez, Angel De Los Santos
  • Testing: Francisco Villagrana, Isaac Gomez, Ivan Iniquez
  • Marketing: Juan Santos, Alex Castro
The GammaGang's modified camera. The lens has been removed and replaced with an aluminum cover.The GammaGang project aimed to measure the amount of radiation in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and compare it to the levels on Earth using a modified digital camera, shown to the right.

The District is very proud of our Da Vinci Robotics Teams! Our appreciation goes to all those involved for the many long hours spent on these top-quality projects. These students serve as excellent representatives and ambassadors of what it means to be a student at Da Vinci School for Science and the Arts.