By: Myriam-Fernanda Alcala Delgado & Andrea Reyna, Review Staff
3, 2, 1… the Raiders are blasting off to finals! Stellar Xplorers, a STEM program that focuses on issues of outer space, was developed and created by the Air Force Association in 2014. The Rangeview team won first place in the first StellarXplorers competition, and has been to the finals every year since; this year, two teams from Rangeview — the Space Raiders and the Cosmo Raiders — have made it to National Finals.
Stellar Xplorers is a national competition held in Colorado Springs, with around 180 teams from across the country, including some from outside of the U.S., such as Germany, South Korea, and Guam. This number has grown from the initial five groups from Colorado that competed, and is expected to continue growing, according to the Air Force Association.
The competition relies on STEM students who must solve real world satellite and surveillance problems.
According to Mr. Petry, “[Students] have to know about orbiting and building satellites, about rockets, and launch vehicles that gets them into space.”
Along with that, the students must also have some idea of communication systems, propulsion systems, transmitters, and even cameras that might have required placement on the satellites. The team of two to six students receives help from their team director, Brown, along with a team mentor from the Buckley Air Force base, who send practice problems for the team to solve.
The students at Rangeview in the StellarXplorers club have been exceptional, according to Brown, who said, “Out of all those students and high schools, Rangeview is the only one that has been there for four straight years to the finals.”
On top of being recognized as a great achievement by many, finalists also spend a day or two visiting space-related facilities: a tour of the Astronautics Laboratory in the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, visiting the Space Symposium and speaking to leaders of the space industry, and the Space Foundation Discovery Center. Along with this, first, second, and third place will receive small scholarships.
The national finals will be held in Colorado Springs from April 16-21, 2018. However, unlike previous finals in which groups must work as a team on many aspects of space project, this year, the nationals will come down to an individual book quiz that covers most of the curriculum the students have learned and used.
“I didn’t have the high expectation to make it to finals,” member of the club, senior Dreightyn Godfrey, expressed. “I’m really excited.”