Space Foundation Competition Uses NOAA & NASA Data to Solve Hard Problems

At the start of the StellarXplorers competition,
hosted by the U.S. Air Force Academy at the Space Foundation. 

Thanks to the United States Air Force Academy for the invitation to the National High School Space Competition called the StellarXplorers.

Both a great honor and of course just plain geek fun being a mentor for the Space Symposium competition sponsored by the U.S. Air Force Association and held at the Space Foundation that brought together top students in STEM from around the United States.

The intense competition included using both NASA and NOAA data as well as advanced satellite tracking tools.

The real-world situations were a welcome challenge for the students, and the Space Symposium and Space Foundation provided a fun, inspirational setting with NASA astronauts, U.S. Air Force officials from many different divisions as well as SpaceX, Boeing and other top executives on hand to speak to the students.

:Thanks to Gwynne Shotwell from SpaceX for going out of her way to meet these AP Physics students.

The StellarXplorers program is designed to inspire and attract high school students to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and careers through hands-on learning about technology, emphasizing teamwork and leadership, and exercising critical-thinking skills.

StellarXplorers is sponsored by the US Air Force STEM Program, DoD STEM Program, United Launch Alliance, Orbital ATK, Kratos Defense, and SpaceX, as well as additional educational support of AGI, CEI, and the Space Foundation.

A big benefit of the StellarXplorers was getting to explore the Space Symposium and meet experts from Boeing to - of course! - NASA. Here with my cousin and AP Physics student and national finalist Sareta Gladson. Her grandfather founded the Los Angeles Maritime Institute, so building vessels to explore the unknown is in our blood.
The biggest lesson here? When you turn things over to the students, you get really great uniforms like this; a print of Buzz Aldrin with your name printed across the chest as your formal uniform. Just beyond awesome:

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