Space, robots, books, and art: A recap of Noosphere’s 2023

28 Dec 2023
Noosphere 2023

The past year has been full of challenges, interesting events, achievements and even records for Association Noosphere. We have a lot to remember and a lot to be proud of in 2023. So let’s share its highlights.

Space events

In October, Noosphere organized a series of online and offline events to celebrate World Space Week. The first was called Space Shots, and was held at the A. M. Makarov National Youth Aerospace Education Center. Attendees watched excerpts of popular fantasy films, and experienced experts helped them distinguish cinematic myth from scientific reality. More than 40 people joined the presentation in person, with a similar number joining online.

Nearly 300 space enthusiasts attended a lecture by Conor Nixon, a planetary scientist and director of the Planetary Systems Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. 70 listeners gathered at the Noosphere Planetarium, while another 200 tuned in online to hear about the James Webb Telescope and its images of the Solar System.

Association Noosphere also partnered with the Dnipro History Museum to build their exhibition on the city’s space history. The hall is currently at the design stage, and soon visitors to the museum will be able to learn about the history of the space industry in Dnipro and Ukraine’s modern achievements in the study and research of space.

In autumn, Noosphere held the 2023 edition of the NASA Space Apps Challenge Dnipro. The event is the local stage of the world’s largest space hackathon, which Noosphere was proud to have organized for the seventh time. This year, it gathered a record 245 participants from across Ukraine, as well as Greece, Lithuania and Norway. Over the course of 48 hours, students, scientists, programmers, engineers and even schoolchildren came together in teams, solved practical tasks from NASA, and prepared to pitch them to the jury. Experienced mentors helped them prepare projects and presentations.

In December, as part of the project Beyond the Sky: The Big Space Cleanup, Association Noosphere organized a lecture by the head of ESA’s Space Debris Office Tim Flohrer. He talked about the congestion of the Earth’s orbit, debris monitoring, and ways to solve the problem. More than 300 people from all over Ukraine registered for the online lecture. More than 700 people watched the lecture on Universe Space Tech magazine’s social media pages.

Virtual space missions

In the spring, the third Noosphere Space Games virtual rocket modeling competition took place. The senior competition gathered 650 participants from all over Ukraine to compete for $1,500 in prizes. In addition, a special challenge was held by the Flight Control Propulsion company, with the winner earning an internship at the company. 19-year-old Bohdan Borovyk from Lviv received the opportunity.

In the summer, space enthusiasts competed in the fourth Noosphere Space Games. The competition gathered more than 200 participants under the age of 18. The winners of the two categories split the $1,200 prize fund and won additional prizes.

Noosphere stories in print

In March, as part of National Children’s Reading Week, we presented the book Ukraine Space Hotel by the Australian writer Jade Metre to children in Dnipro. The illustrations for book were created by participants of the Noosphere Space Art Challenge. The presentation at the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Children’s Library also featured entertainment, quizzes, and games for attendees.

For Dnipro City Day, Association Noosphere created the book  I Love Dnipro. It is one of the few English-language books about the city, which includes sections on both its history and modern life. I Love Dnipro contains 68 pages with 138 short articles grouped into 7 sections about history, culture, traditions, places of interest, and people important to Dnipro.

At the end of the year, Noosphere translated and published Jan and Joachim Checherski’s book Behind the Sky: The Great Space Cleanup. Students of the Noosphere Engineering School created a mobile application with augmented reality for it and Planetarium Noosphere created a film based on the story.

The book was presented during an educational event for children at the Dnipro Central City Library dedicated to the problem of junk in outer space. The event featured both the book’s authors, Jan and Joachim Checherski, as well as ESA astronaut Karthik Kumar and students of the Junior Academy of Sciences who travelled to NASA’s Kennedy Center.

Cleaning robots, rescue robots and adventures on the International Space Station

At the beginning of the year, Association Noosphere held the VEXcode VR Cleanup Challenge. It was the first official competition in Ukraine using the American VEX robotics platform. Children aged 8 to 14 were tasked with programming a virtual robot that would clean the bottom of the ocean in a special simulator. 783 schoolchildren from 23 regions of Ukraine, as well as Ukrainian children living in Poland, Lithuania, Germany, Slovakia, and even Japan, registered to participate in the competition. These competitions put Ukraine on the international map of VEX robotics competitions.

In the spring, Dnipro hosted a STEM course and the VEX Maze Challenge robotics competition. Over the course of two days, 32 children learned to assemble and program robots, and also competed using their own hand-made humanoids. The children had to guide their robots through a special maze and carry the balloons with their help. The participants worked not only on the technical nuances of operating robots, but also their teamwork skills.

Autumn marked the conclusion of  the VEX Marathon project. Over three months, the American VEX Go and VEX 123 constructors visited Dnipro, Poltava, Kyiv, Odesa, and Lviv. Noosphere’s robotics experts introduced teachers and their pupils to the constructors, as well as conducting workshops and laboratory work. In total, 563 children and 35 teachers from different parts of Ukraine participated in the marathon.

On October 24 and 26, the STEM robotics course VEX RoboWeek 2023 was held in Dnipro. Participants from Dnipro and other cities learned to design and program a hero robot and use it to compete in a series of tasks. The theme of the event was Technological Reconstruction of a City. Participants created and programmed a hero robot that transported medicine to a hospital, rescued people and animals, lifted fallen trees, and cleared stones from roads.

In November, 270 children and teenagers from all over Ukraine took part in the VEXcode VR Space Maze Challenge robotic space adventure. In the VEXcode VR virtual programming environment, participants traveled to the International Space Station, where they performed a set of tasks and missions with the help of a self-programmed virtual robot.

A victorious year for Ukrainian rocket modelers

2023 was a triumphant year for the Ukrainian Spacemodelling Sports Federation. Despite their inability to train at home, Team Ukraine’s competitors earned excellent results at international competitions.

The first competition was the Kaspichan Cup 2023 in Bulgaria. Ukraine was represented by nine competitors from Chernihiv and Dnipropetrovsk Oblasts. They won four awards.

Next was a sage of the FAI World Cup in Dubnica, Slovakia in May, where Ukrainian Sofia Fisun took 3rd place among 80 participants in the class of S9A models (long-range rocket models with a rotor).

In July, the Ukrainian model rocketry team took part in the World Championship in the United States. Team Ukraine brought home 6 gold, 3 silver, and 5 bronze medals from individual and team competitions.

Ukrainian competitors were among the best throughout the five stages of the World Cup of Space Model Sports. Team Ukraine competitors won 1st and 3rd places in two disciplines, while three more won spots in tthe top five, and another eight  in the top ten.

Lectures, workshops, and open-air activities

In June, we opened the NooScene creative space in Dnipro’s Gagarin Park. The summer season started with an event dedicated to the history of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.

On June 28, Association Noosphere held the unveiling of the Marching to Victory art mosaic in Gagarin Park during the Noosphere STEAM Day educational and entertainment event. The mosaic is a combination of the work of the famous French artist Julien Malland (who works under the name Seth Globepainter) and talented Ukrainian children. In April 2022, in Paris, he created the mural L’Ukraine en marche (Ukraine In Action) – an image of a little girl proudly carrying the Ukrainian flag as she trampled enemy tanks. Noosphere assembled a mosaic of children’s drawings from the Noosphere Space Art Challenge into the form of Julien’s little girl. 2404 paintings were made part of the art mosaic.


Association Noosphere signed memoranda of cooperation with the Ukrainian State Center of Extracurricular Education, Dnipro Polytechnic National Technical University, Dnipropetrovsk Regional Center for Scientific and Technical Creativity and Information Technologies of Scholchildren, International Humanitarian University, Academy of Continuing Education, the Dnipro City History Museum, as well as with Jan Checherski, the Dutch author of the children’s book Beyond the Sky: The Great Space Cleanup. Our social projects were supported by experts and artists from around the world: the famous French muralist Julien Mallan (Seth), planetary scientist and NASA expert Conor Nixon, head of the ESA’s Space Debris Office Tim Florer, analog astronaut and ESA specialist Kumar, many more.

The year 2023 was full of events. And we hope that 2024 will be no less bright, full of pleasant events and most importantly – peaceful.