AFA’s StellarXplorers Program Announces National Champions

April 20, 2016 – The Air Force Association today announced the National Champions of StellarXplorers II, the National High School Space Competition, held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, April 12-15, 2016. Ten National Finalist teams representing schools and other organizations from California, Colorado, Utah, Alabama, and Kaiserslautern (Germany) competed in the Space Foundation’s Discovery Center on a challenging space engineering design problem.

The National Champion was the ‘Sirius Potatoes’ team from Palos Verdes Peninsula High School of Rolling Hills Estates, California. “Star Fleet,” also of Peninsula High team, finished in second place followed by last year’s champion, Rangeview High School from Aurora, Colorado.

“StellarXplorers has broadened our vision on aerospace engineering with real life situations. Our team performed exceptionally well and the competition allowed us to learn so much more about space, satellites, and engineering,” said Regina Kim, Sirius Potatoes team captain.

Students were required to define an optimal satellite orbit, choose spacecraft components, and select rocket boosters to meet a stringent set of mission requirements in an intense eight-hour period. The next day, teams were required to brief their solution to a panel of experts.

Team Director Elizabeth Grenier remarked, “From all of us here at Peninsula High School, we’re thankful for this awesome opportunity. StellarXplorers has positively impacted the students tremendously this year as well as in their future!”

“These students are the future of our nation and its space community, and we couldn’t be prouder of the way they have met every challenge we’ve set before them,” said Stephen K. Gourley of StellarXplorers. “We’re thrilled to be offering a program that has generated excitement amongst students and their educators.

StellarXplorers, an education initiative established by AFA, is a one-of-a-kind space system competition designed to inspire students toward futures in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Program sponsors include the US Air Force STEM Program, Orbital ATK, Kratos Defense Company, Analytic Graphics, Inc, and the Space Foundation.

The Air Force Association is a non-profit, independent, professional military and aerospace education association. Its mission is to promote a dominant United States Air Force and a strong national defense, and to honor Airmen and our Air Force Heritage.