AFA Announces 10 National Finalists for StellarXplorers IX

February 27, 2023

ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 27, 2023—The Air & Space Force Association’s StellarXplorers Space STEM program announced the 10 teams that will compete at the StellarXplorers IX National Finals Competition April 20-22, 2023. 

From an initial field of nearly 350 teams that began the competition in October, these top performers advanced through four highly competitive online rounds to earn an all-expenses-paid trip to Space Center Houston in Texas. They represent high schools, JROTC units, and Civil Air Patrol squadrons from across the country. While some teams are returning to defend their winning titles, others are first-time qualifiers looking to claim the title of National Champions.  

The National Finalists include: 

  • Edmond North High School AFJROTC #3 (Edmond, Okla.) 
  • Huntsville High School Space Force JROTC #2 (Huntsville, Ala.) 
  • North Allegheny High School AFJROTC #1 (Pittsburgh, PA) 
  • Maj Thomas B. McGuire Composite Sq CAP #3 (Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.) 
  • Palos Verdes Peninsula High School #3 (Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.) 
  • Palos Verdes Peninsula High School #4 (Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.) 
  • San Pedro High School #3 (San Pedro, Calif.)  
  • The Science Academy STEM Magnet #1 (North Hollywood, Calif.) 
  • Valencia High School AFJROTC #2 (Valencia, Calif.) 
  • West Aurora High School #4 (Aurora, Ill.) 

“The National Finals Competition is always such an exciting time for this STEM program,” StellarXplorers Director Rebecca Dalton said. “We are incredibly proud of our finalists and all the teams that participated, and we expect this year’s event to be nothing short of spectacular. These students are the future of the space industry.” 

The StellarXplorers Program Office is planning a robust final mission for the teams to complete, challenging them with orbit determination, satellite design, and launch vehicle selection challenges. Teams will present their solutions to a panel of industry experts, and winners will be announced at an awards banquet on April 22. Members of the top three teams receive scholarships to pursue their STEM education and career goals.  

StellarXplorers is generously supported by the Air and Space Forces’ STEM K-12 Office, L3Harris Technologies, Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance, and BAE Systems. Educational support is provided by Ansys, Coyote Enterprises, Inc., and Space Center Houston. 

To learn more about StellarXplorers, please visit  

About StellarXplorers

The StellarXplorers Space STEM Program, created by the Air & Space Forces Association (AFA), inspires K-12 students toward careers in aerospace, aviation, and other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation’s future. The StellarXplorers National Space Design Competition provides specific training in the use of system simulation software, Systems Tool Kit (STK), as well as an online textbook as a curriculum supplement and study resource for online “team” quizzes given during the competition.

About AFA

An independent non-profit association, the Air & Space Forces Association is the single-largest professional military association dedicated to air and space power and to the advancement of aerospace education at every level. Founded in 1946, AFA is dedicated to promoting dominant U.S. Air and Space Forces as the foundation of a strong National Defense; honoring and supporting Airmen, Guardians, and their Families; and remembering and respecting the enduring heritage of the Air and Space Forces.

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