AFA Announces Finalists for 2023-2024 StellarXplorers National Space Design Competition 

February 21, 2024

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Air & Space Force Association’s StellarXplorers Space STEM program announced the 10 teams that will compete at the StellarXplorers National Finals Competition April 18-20, 2024.  

From an initial field of 300 teams, these top performers advanced through four highly competitive online rounds to earn an all-expenses-paid trip to Denver, Colo., to complete their final mission of the season. They represent high schools from across the country. While some teams are returning for another chance at the trophy, others are first-time qualifiers looking to claim the title of National Champions.   

The National Finalists include:  

  • Edmond Memorial High School #1 (Edmond, Okla.) 
  • Edmond North High School #3 (Edmond, Okla.) 
  • Great Mills High School (Great Mills, Md.) 
  • Irvine High School #1 (Irvine, Calif.) 
  • Irvine High School #2 (Irvine, Calif.) 
  • Irvine High School #3 (Irvine, Calif.) 
  • North Allegheny High School AFJROTC #1 (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 
  • North Quincy High School AFJROTC (North Quincy, Mass.) 
  • Palos Verdes Peninsula High School #1 (Rolling Hills Estate, Calif.) 
  • Red Mountain High School #6 (Mesa, Ariz.) 

“This is always such an exciting time of year for the program,” StellarXplorers Director Rebecca Dalton said. “This season was exceptionally challenging, and we’ve been blown away by how well the teams performed. We’re proud of our participants, and we look forward to crowning a national champion in April.” 

The 10 finalist teams will be tasked with finding an optimal solution for a mission that puts their orbit planning, satellite design, and launch vehicle selection skills to the test. Teams will present their solutions to a panel of industry experts who will determine the winners. 

The winners will be announced at an awards banquet on April 20. Members of the top three teams are awarded scholarships to pursue their STEM education and career goals.   

StellarXplorers is generously supported by the Air & Space STEM Outreach, L3Harris Technologies, Lockheed Martin, Nova Space, United Launch Alliance, the Bahethi Family Foundation, and General Atomics Sciences Education Foundation. Educational support is provided by Ansys.  

To learn more about StellarXplorers, please visit or contact

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.