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The Space Developer Challenge: A Spiro•nod to Experiencing the Future of STEAM

Redwire Corporation, Microsoft & Marvel have joined powers to form a superhero team, creating unique learning experiences inspired by “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.”

The goal: To engage Gen Z & Gen Alpha audiences in science, technology, engineering, the arts & mathematics (STEAM) topics and empower them to become future astronauts, engineers, and scientists.

We’re giving a Spiro•nod to this ­­­smart partnership that is creating ARL™ (All Real Life) experiences that meet the next generation of explorers where they are—at home, at the cinema, in the classroom—inspiring & empowering them with skills to drive aerospace innovation beyond.


Microsoft launched a space developer challenge active from May 1 until June 30 on the newly redesigned website Audiences can discover cutting-edge technology in aerospace & space industry and develop marketable skills to advance their careers. A competitive spirit has already gripped over 1,500 participants—making them eligible for a digital “Space Developer” badge.

The website also provides a wealth of interactive educational content designed in partnership with NASA to engage students & teachers in STEAM subjects. Resources include a free virtual classroom, comprehensive teacher’s guide & gamified modules to learn prototyping and coding skills (students can even code their own music player!)


Sponsored by International Space Station National Laboratory, Redwire & Microsoft intend to 3D print a Zune—the iconic (throwback) music player of Microsoft’s that Star-Lord carries with him throughout his adventures. They’ll print it on the ISS using Redwire’s Additive Manufacturing Facility, which pumps out spare pieces for the space station. The students can go behind-the-scenes with Redwire engineers and experts to learn more about how 3D printing works in space—the design process & the nuances of 3D printing in zero-gravity environments.

3D printing is expected to take space exploration to the next level with the ability to manufacture parts and tools right up in the orbit—and the Space Developer Challenge, along with related games, is meant to entice the next-Gen into exploring careers that will help guide aerospace & space exploration into the future.

So, what can you take away from this Spiro•nod?

1. Know your audience. Redwire & Microsoft have illustrated the power of creating ARL™ (All Real Life) experiences that resonate with their target audience’s interests & needs. They’ve woven the nostalgic Zune into their narrative, but also made sure that Gen Z & Gen Alpha knew what a Zune was (the last version was released in 2011!)

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes to understand their challenges & cultivate a deep emotional connection to find what appeals to them.

2. Use the power of partnerships. Redwire & Microsoft collaborated with the popular Marvel franchise through a real-world application of science & technology to reach a vast & diverse array of young minds.

Collaborating with other industry leaders or even brands outside of your industry can open up new opportunities, so think outside the box.

3. Make it appealing through gamification. Learners only recall 10% of what they read & only 20% from what they hear. They can remember up to 90% of an interactive gamified task. 

Games aren’t just for kids, either—49% of businesses say that clients interact the most with engagement elements, such as gamification, live polls & feedback. Think of ways that you can make your experiences fun & competitive to encourage participation.

Use these takeaways to create transformative experiences that add value both for your brand & your audiences. The galaxy is the limit!