Bedford high school NASA-bound with Cygnus the robot

A robotics team from Charles P. Allen High School in Bedford, N.S., has earned a spot among North America's top young engineers. They're heading to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Charles P. Allen High School students earn spot with North America's top young engineers

The team's robot, named Cygnus, won them a spot at a competition at NASA. (CBC)

A high school robotics team from Nova Scotia is NASA-bound.

A team of Grade 10, 11 and 12 students from Charles P. Allen High School in Bedford will be competing in a major robotics competition at NASA's Johnson Space Center's buoyancy lab in Houston later this month.

Teacher Jonah Scott says it's a dream come true for the team.

"It's an experience of a lifetime," he said.

'I learned everything'

The team has built Cygnus, an underwater robot that can dive and pick things up with its underwater claws. 

"I came in not knowing anything about robots at all — and I learned everything," said Morgan Higginson as she drilled a screw into the robot.

Team member Morgan Higginson says she's learned a lot since joining the robotics team. (CBC)

Designed by students

Student Matt Glencross used the school's 3D printer to make the components.

"I just love this technology," he said. "It was cool to design something on the computer and have it in your hand at the end of the day."

Their robot goes under water. (CBC)

'Houston, for crying out loud'

The team advanced to the international Marine Advanced Technology Education competition in Houston, thanks to winning a regional competition last month.

"I've learned so much, and now we are going to Houston, for crying out loud," student Noah Mason said. "It's awesome."

The robot can dive and pick things up in the water. (CBC)

3D printers and coding

The students have developed a love for engineering and robotics, the teacher and team leader said. Students write their own code to drive the robot, and engineer and 3D print the components, he said. 

They've put hundreds of hours into their robot already, but now are spending extra time after school fine tuning things.  

The last thing they want to hear once they get to the space centre is, "Houston, we have a problem."

About the Author

Colleen Jones


World champion curler Colleen Jones has been reporting with CBC News for nearly three decades. Follow her on Twitter @cbccolleenjones.