YouTube Space Lab

Mobile, Website
The brief

WEIR+WONG were challenged with creating a global competition for kids aged between 14 and 18, who were to design an experiment to be carried out on the International Space Station.


What we created

Working for Google Creative Lab EMEA and YouTube, and in partnership with Psycle Interactive and Toaster, WEIR+WONG led the production of this once in a lifetime project. We cooperated with various organisations such as Space Adventures and space agencies including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). YouTube Space Lab was a worldwide initiative that challenged 14-18 year-old students to design a science experiment that could be performed in space. The two winning experiments were conducted aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and live streamed on YouTube. Space Lab is part of YouTube’s larger commitment to highlighting and providing access to the wealth of educational content available on YouTube as well as Lenovo’s focus on equipping students with 21st century skills via information technology.

A prestigious panel of scientists, astronauts, and educators, including renowned professor Stephen Hawking, NASA’s Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s Associate Administrator of Education and former Astronaut Leland Melvin, ESA Astronaut Frank De Winne, JAXA Astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and Cirque du Soleil’s founder Guy Laliberté, judged the entries alongside input from the YouTube community.

Students in two age categories, 14-16 years old and 17-18 years old submitted YouTube videos describing their experiment to YouTube.com/SpaceLab.


The cool stuff

We had an amazing time managing this project! It’s not often that you get the chance in life to:

– speak to astronauts, then get them to film videos for you on the space station
– work with NASA, organising how stuff gets into space (including spiders)
– have your campaign go live with a massive PR fanfare including a Google home page promo, a Yoodle, a Youtube Masthead, PR press reports in everything ranging from the BBC to New York Times.
– have a judging panel including the likes of Stephen Hawking, as well as loads of space legends

Aside from the sheer scale of this campaign, and the incredible opportunity and prizes that were on offer for the kids (zero-g flights, astronaut training, your experiment in space, beamed live on youtube), we’re especially proud of the WebGL work that went into the Chrome Blast Off sequence.

The results

Over around 9 months, as the judging process played out, the competition received 10s of 1000s of entries and the website received millions of hits. The culmination of this was in May 2012, with a live audience in the millions watching as astronauts performed the experiments live from the ISS, hundreds of miles above us in space.


The Webby Awards – Interactive Advertising

D&AD – Wood Pencil

Shortlisted Cannes Lions