The Air Force Association’s StellarXplorers Space STEM Program welcomed the 2021-2022 StellarXplorers VIII National Space Design Competition with a 70-percent growth rate in registration. Newly established Space Force JROTC teams joined the nearly 2,000 high school students across the country participating in the aerospace education initiative established by AFA. StellarXplorers is a space system engineering competition designed to inspire students toward futures in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Students successfully completed the STLX VIII Round 1’s Orbital Planning and will be embarking on Round 2’s Satellite Design this month. StellarXplorers VIII season concludes at Space Center Houston in April 2022 where the top 10 teams will receive an all-expenses paid trip to compete in the championship.

“It’s exciting to see StellarXplorers students through real world system design competition activities explore growing space industry opportunities,” said AFA President Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Bruce “Orville” Wright. “Additionally, the successful response to our pilot summer camps this year has prompted a 2022 StellarCamp summer season, providing paths of opportunity for future aerospace engineering and STEM careers with our nation’s youth as they look to the frontiers of space.”

StellarXplorers Space STEM Program is an education initiative established by AFA consisting of the National Space Design Competition and summer StellarCamps. The StellarXplorers National Space Design Competition involves all aspects of system development and operation with a spacecraft and payload focus. The engineering competition is designed to inspire students toward futures in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The StellarXplorers Competition invites teams of students across the country to use space systems engineering principles to solve a problem remotely in four rounds. Students involved in any youth organization – including high schools, Boys & Girls Clubs, scouting units, and home-school students – may participate. Winners receive an all-expense-paid trip to the National Finals hosted at Space Center Houston.

StellarXplorers sponsors include Lockheed Martin, L3Harris, and U.S. Air Force STEM Program, with additional support from the Educational Alliance of Analytical Graphics, Inc, and Coyote Enterprises.

About AFA: An independent non-profit association, AFA 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 this year celebrates 75 years 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.