Champions Crowned at AFA StellarXplorers 2023-2024 National Finals 

April 25, 2024

ARLINGTON, Va. — “The Crewmates” from Irvine High School in Irvine, Calif., are the champions of AFA’s 2023-2024 StellarXplorers National Space Design Competition. 

The 10th StellarXplorers season began with more than 300 teams from across the country, competing in four rounds of online competition. Ten teams qualified for the National Finals, a challenging, two-day competition held April 18-20 at the Denver Sheraton Tech Center Hotel in Greenwood Village, Colo.  

Teams had the opportunity to explore the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum. They also learned about a variety of career opportunities and pathways in the space sector, hearing firsthand from U.S. Space Force personnel and a group of industry representatives from United Launch Alliance, Lockheed Martin, Ansys Government Initiatives, True Anomaly, and Sierra Space. 

“Denver and its surrounding area is a hub for the aerospace industry, making it an ideal location to host the StellarXplorers National Finals,” said Rebecca Dalton, Director of StellarXplorers. “We are so appreciative of our program sponsors not only investing in our nation’s youth, but taking the time to personally share their stories and inspire these students toward careers in space and STEM.” 

Other top finishers from this season’s StellarXplorers National Finals Competition included: 

  • The second-place “Stellar Strikers” from Edmond North High School in Edmond, Okla. 
  • The third-place “Flying Tigers” from North Allegheny High School Air Force JROTC in Pittsburgh, Pa. 

Click here for the full list of national finalist teams. Click here for a photo album from the entire National Finals Competition, awards ceremony, and more. 

Through its annual competition and summer camps nationwide, the StellarXplorers Space STEM Program, created by the Air & Space Forces Association (AFA), inspires high school and middle school students toward careers in space, aviation, and other science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation’s future.  

The StellarXplorers National Space Design Competition challenges teams of students from organizations across the country to solve orbit planning, satellite design, and launch operation scenarios in a series of online rounds, culminating with an in-person national finals competition. 

Supporters of StellarXplorers include Air and Space STEM Outreach, L3Harris Technologies, Nova Space, Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance (ULA), SSAI and the Bahethi Family Foundation, General Atomics Sciences Education Foundation, and Ansys Government Initiatives (AGI).  

“AFA is honored to host nationally prominent STEM programs like StellarXplorers, and we are grateful to our industry and government partners who help underwrite them,” said AFA Chair Bernie Skoch. “Watching the brilliant performance of these young competitors this week reaffirms that our future is in great hands and that AFA’s commitment to strengthening America’s technical workforce is producing the exact results we had hoped for.” 

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 

The Air & Space Forces Association is an independent, non-profit 501(c)3 association dedicated to advocating for investment and support for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force, and for supporting Airmen, Guardians, and their Families. Founded in 1946, AFA is the single largest entity of its kind focused on air and space power. With more than 113,000 members and 200 chapters spread around the world, our mission is to promote dominant U.S. Air and Space Forces as the foundation of a strong National Defense; to honor and support Airmen, Guardians, and their Families; and to remember and respect the enduring heritage of the Air and Space Forces.