Thousands of spirited high school students will engage in a battle of wits
and robots as they descend on Kennedy Space Center March 1-3 for the FIRST
(For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Southeast
Regional Robotics Competition. About 40 teams of students will come to test
the limits of their imagination using robots they have designed and built to
compete in a technological battle against other school’s robots.

This three-day competition closely resembles a high-energy sporting
competition complete with a live disc jockey, yelling cheerleaders and
encouraging fans. Students arrive at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor
Complex for a day of practice, inspection and final machine work, with the
next two days featuring the fierce, action-packed robotics competition.

“We could not be happier that KSC is hosting the FIRST Robotics
Competition,” said Roy Bridges, center director at Kennedy Space Center.
“All of the students that participate in this outstanding educational
competition are the best and brightest future engineers. Their energy and
enthusiasm about science and technology inspires us all.”

The student teams are scheduled to compete in the Southeast Regional, with
nine of the 27 Florida teams co-sponsored by KSC. Local competing teams
include students from Astronaut, Bayside, Cocoa Beach, Eau Gallie,
Melbourne, Melbourne Central Catholic, Palm Bay, Rockledge, Satellite and
Titusville high schools.

The preparation for the competition is a six-week, intense program bringing
together students and engineers to collectively brainstorm, design,
construct and test their “Champion robot.” FIRST supplies each team with a
kit of assorted parts to create a robot to compete in two-minute contests.

Teams from the various regional competitions around the country will meet at
the finals competition to be held at EPCOT Center in Orlando, Fla., April

The goal of FIRST is to introduce professional mentors from schools,
businesses and universities to the students in the hopes of providing an
exchange of resources and talent while exposing students to new career

Information is also available at the FIRST Web site: