project payload and ZR participants

Project Payload
Zero Robotics

This middle school program is offered in 2 pathways: Project Payload and Zero Robotics. Both programs focus on aerospace engineering, emphasizing satellites, coding and programming.

The K-12 STEM Center develops strategies and builds initiatives to meet the needs of a diverse population, specifically in efforts to increase the representation of female students and African American/Black, Hispanic/LatinX/Latine, Native/Indigenous students in its STEM programs, such as Project payload and ZR. Some of those efforts include outreach, mentorship, and scholarships. However, all STEM Center programs are open to all students in compliance with Federal and State law, as well as University policy.

Programs Offered

project payload logo


Project Payload is a two-week summer camp at USC. Students will design, build, and launch a rocket and high-altitude weather balloon at STARBASE Los Alamitos. Students will use the scientific method and engineering design process to experiment and gather data on their payload.

zero robotics logo


Zero Robotics is a 6-week summer camp at USC.
Students participate in a robotics programming competition with ASTROBEE satellites inside the International Space Station (ISS). Students will learn how to code ASTROBEE and program the satellites' speed, rotation, and direction of travel to complete competition objectives.

Project Payload

What we offer

Project Payload aims to reinforce STEM identity in adolescents ages 11-14. Students have the opportunity to interact with aerospace graduate and undergraduate student instructors and explore labs and research at USC with Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering (AME) faculty. To address barriers to access preventing middle-school students of underserved populations from pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM), Project Payload provides content and experiences that consider students' exposure to STEM and provide exposure to satellites in culturally relevant ways.


Part 1: Student Application 

Part 2: Teacher Recommendation 

Cost: Free

Date: July 15 to July 26, 2024 (Mon to Fri)

Time: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Location: Week-1: USC Main Campus Week-2: STARBASE Los Alamitos (transportation is provided)

Who: Middle school (rising 6th, 7th, and 8th graders)

Deadline extended to Sunday, May 12 at 11:59pm PT.
Nueva fecha de entrega - El domingo, 12 de mayo a las 23:59 PT.

project payload logo

Project Payload alumni, serving as high-school camp counselors, share their experiences and guide participants in activities, leveraging their program expertise. Additionally, campers receive mentorship from two SHINE (Summer High School Intensive in Next Engineering) students, who discuss their ongoing commitment to STEM and their current research within the SHINE program.

Includes coding with micro-controllers, designing and 3-D printing parts, programming Arduino sensors to collect data, and launching a high-altitude weather balloon.

Engaging with current USC student instructors and professors, career day, and conversations with Aerospace companies such as (Embedded Ventures, KittyCAD, and STARBASE- Los Alamitos, Ca).
Project Payload  Quote
student working with beaker and liquids

Social Media

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Our Partners

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Starbase logo

Zero Robotics

What we offer

Zero Robotics hopes to provide a unique, challenging learning environment that inspires young minds to apply and sharpen their science, technology, engineering, and math skills. Through a series of competitions starting virtually online and aboard the International Space Station, students exercise their creative problem-solving skills and take on real-world design problems. With a zero cost, zero setup, web-based environment that uses the latest web technologies, Zero Robotics provides students worldwide with a testbed to carry out space experiments

Our mentorship program is designed for returning Project Payload and Zero Robotics alumni as camp counselors. The goal of this program is to build confidence, cultivate a welcoming environment, and build stronger relationships among the campers and staff. Mentors and mentees will be able to engage in enriching activities and grow together through their experience in the program.

Zero Robotics Logo

Our mentorship program offers tailored pairings, skill enhancement through regular meetings and workshops, and unwavering support to ensure mentees thrive and reach their objectives.

Includes interactive projects such as coding projects, mechanical engineering projects (VEX GO), and field trips. Students collaborate and create innovative solutions that incorporate modern technologies such as AI, computer design, and VR reality.

Includes current USC student instructors and professors, career day, and conversations with Aerospace companies such as (STARBASE- Los Alamitos, The Aerospace Corporation, NASA, and The ISS).

Cost: Free

Date: June 24 to August 2, 2024 (Mon, Wed, Fri)

Time: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Location: Week-1 -3,6: USC Main Campus Week-5: STARBASE Los Alamitos (transportation is provided)

Deadline extended to Sunday, May 12 at 11:59pm PT.
Nueva fecha de entrega - El domingo, 12 de mayo a las 23:59 PT.

ZR Quote
Zero Robotics Kids

Social Media

Our Partners

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Aurora logo
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STEM 365 logo
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ESA logo
NASA logo

Published on March 12th, 2024

Last updated on June 25th, 2024