articles | 19 May 2015

Cypriot team wins global NASA prize for ‘spiderbee’ drone

A Cypriot project called ‘Arachnobeea’ has won the NASA International Space Apps Challenge.

NASA announced the winners of the International Space Apps Challenge and ‘Arachnobeea’, the runner-up team of the Space Apps Challenge Limassol 2015, was the global winner in the ‘Best Mission Concept’ category.

Arachnobeea, a ‘quadcopter drone’ resembling a spider and a bee, was selected by a NASA judging committee, among over 950 other projects from 135 locations worldwide, as one of the six global winners. The device is designed to ‘fetch’ items for astronauts.

In statements to the press, team leader of the Cypriot team, Aleksandar Bozic said that NASA informed the Cypriot team that it had won, and added that they were very proud to be among the top six in the world, and first in their category.

The team, which will be invited by NASA to watch the launch of a resupply ship to the International Space Station in September, comprises people from Cyprus, the Ukraine, Serbia and Romania. Creators of Arachnobeea are Mihailo Kitanovic, Christos Antoniou, Charalambos Leventis, Adrian Carlan, Aleksandar Bozic, Iurii Fomenco, Visnja Durovic, Dragan Colovic, Ljubodrag Bozic and Nikola Gacic.

In his statements to the press, Bozic did not rule out the possibility that NASA might use some parts of the Cypriot project for the International Space Station.

The Cypriot team designed the most innovative quadcopter drone destined for usage in space vehicles, and they managed to excite everyone with their presentation at the local competition in Limassol in early April.

NASA, in conjunction with other space agencies around the world, held the fourth annual code-a-thon April 10-12 at more than 135 locations worldwide. Winning apps were selected in six categories, including a People’s Choice Award.

Participants were asked to develop mobile applications, software, hardware, data visualisation and platform solutions that could contribute to space exploration missions and help improve life on Earth. This year, 35 challenges represented NASA mission priorities in four areas: Earth studies, space exploration, human health research and robotics.

According to NASA, in the category of the ‘Best Mission Concept’ the Cypriot team won the international competition. “Arachnobeea from (Limassol, Cyprus) designed a spider-bee drone for small cargo transport with a grab and capture capability and the ability to dock and release”, NASA said in a statement.

Arachnobeea’s video can be found  at

The Cypriot project MarsSense, which was the winner of the Space Apps Limassol 2013, was given the second international award in the category People’s Choice Award of the NASA International Space Apps Challenge.

The Cypriot team was invited in 2014 to the biggest space conference, called Space Ops, which is organised by NASA. There, they presented their work and was hailed as one of the four leading academic projects related to Space Exploration for the biennium 2013-2014.

In addition, Greek project Popeye on Mars, which won the Space Apps Challenge Athens 2013, ranked first in the International Space Apps Challenge in the category Best Mission Concept. The project concerned the creation of a greenhouse for growing vegetables on Mars.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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