A team from Huntsville, Ala., captured victory in the high school division of NASA’s 12th annual “Great Moonbuggy Race” in Huntsville, Ala., Friday. In a close fought race, Madison County Career Academy team number one, came away with victory by a margin of a mere 34 seconds. They were tied with the second place team for the majority of the day, but in the second heat showed they deserved to win by posting one of the fastest times ever recorded by a high school team.

The Huntsville team topped 44 other teams representing high schools from 14 states with a winning time of 4 minutes, 8 seconds. Vehicles powered by two-team members — one male and one female — raced one at a time over a half-mile obstacle course of simulated moonscape terrain.

In addition to the first-place honor, the Madison County Career Academy team earned a weekend trip to Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville and a trophy-replica of the original lunar roving vehicle.

Two teams from Lafayette County C-1 High School of Higginsville, Mo. placed second and third with a second place time of 4 minutes 42 seconds, and third place time of 5 minutes 25 seconds. Both teams received plaques, and all three winning teams received medallions and duffel bags bearing the Great Moonbuggy Race logo.

The Lafayette County C-1 High School team two, Higginsville, Mo., was awarded “Most Unique Buggy” for its lunar dust abatement system and the award for best moonbuggy design. A special “pits award” for ingenuity and persistence in overcoming problems was won by the team from IPS Career & Technology Center, Indianapolis, Ind.

The event is inspired by the actual lunar roving vehicle project, which was successfully completed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville during the 1960s and 1970s. At the time, NASA engineers had the challenge to design and build a compact, light, flexible and durable vehicle that would carry astronauts on the Moon’s surface during the Apollo missions.

The Moonbuggy Race is the culmination of a competition that challenges students to design and build a human-powered vehicle. The competition also teaches students how to deal with real-world engineering problems.

Building a racing buggy gives students hands-on experience that could pay off in fulfilling the Vision for Space Exploration as they become the next generation of engineers, scientists and astronauts. The Vision calls for Space Shuttles to return to safe flight, to complete the International Space Station, and human and robotic exploration of the Solar System.

Sponsors of the event include the Marshall Center, U.S. Space & Rocket Center, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Alabama-Mississippi Section, ATK Thiokol, Jacobs Sverdrup, Morgan Research, Science Application International Corporation, the Tennessee Valley Chapter of the System Safety Society), United Space Alliance and television station WHNT, all of Huntsville.

The college division competition will be held Saturday, with 28 teams from across the United States and Puerto Rico, competing.

Other high school teams competing in Friday’s event, listed alphabetically by state were: Huntsville Center for Technology in Huntsville, Ala.; New Century Technology High School in Huntsville, Ala.; S.S. Simon and Jude High School in Phoenix, Ariz.; Pana Senior High School in Pana, Ill.; Indianapolis Public Schools Career & Technology Center in Indianapolis, Ind.; DeSoto High School in Desoto, Kan.; Erie High School in Erie, Kan.; Independence High School in Independence, Kan.; Labette County High School in Altamont, Kan.; Pittsburg High School in Pittsburg, Kan.; Calloway County High School in Murray, Ky.; Carlisle County High School in Bardwell, Ky.; Graves High School in Mayfield, Ky.; Marshall County High School in Benton, Ky.; Murray High School in Murray, Ky.; New Orleans Area Schools in New Orleans, La.; South Central Career Center West Plains, Mo.; Central Hinds Academy in Raymond, Miss.; Morris Knolls High School in Rockaway, N.J.; W.T. Clarke High School in Westbury, N.Y.; Pinewood Preparatory School in Summerville, S.C.; Franklin County High School in Winchester, Tenn.; Obion County Central High School in Troy, Tenn.; and C.E. King High School in Houston, Texas.

For photos of the top-finishing high school teams, visit the Marshall Newsroom at:


For more information about the “Great Moonbuggy Race” visit: