PHS Robotics

NASA Picks PHS Robotics Club For Mission
Posted on 04/14/2021
PHS Robotics Club members practice driving.The Robotics Club at Perkins High School is standing among technology giants this week. The club’s proposal to build a game “that will inspire, engage, and educate the public” has been selected to be included on an upcoming NASA mission to space.

The Perkins Robotics Club’s proposal is the only project from Ohio – and the only proposal accepted from a high school across the United States. (Read the NASA press release here.) 

And, for perspective, the 13 other proposals selected came from the likes of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, NASA Goddard Space Center, the University of Colorado, and California Polytechnic State University.

The Robotics Club, quite literally, put Perkins Schools on NASA’s map (see below).

NASA map of accepted project proposals

The selected projects are expected to fly as auxiliary payloads aboard rockets launching between 2022 and 2025. Perkins High School STEM teacher John Stout serves as advisor to the Robotics Club.

“This is such an honor for Perkins High School,” said Jeff Harbal, PHS principal. “Our students are working on a project that is being considered alongside projects by renowned research institutions like MIT, Cal Polytech and Goddard Space Center. This is incredible company to hold.”

The Perkins Robotics’ proposal is titled “Foras Promineo,” which is Latin for “outreach” or pushing oneself beyond the previous limits.

It’s an education mission where the payload is a dynamic game in the style of a robotics competition game with a robotic arm that must capture and place balls into targets as quickly and accurately as possible. The robotic arm acts autonomously based on programs that can be submitted by the public for upload to the payload computer.

The club’s proposal has roots in projects that it has built for past competitions that have entailed a robot that moved around a course, picking up balls and placing – or throwing – them into a chute.

Students not only built the robot from scratch with belts, pulleys, levers, gears, and wheels, they also programmed a myriad of on-board electronics to control it.
PHS Robotic Club members plan their mission
Working alongside club members are a dozen mentors. The mentors include parents, PHS grads, and experts from local tech companies, including Ventra in Sandusky.