Space Foundation Press Releases

AFA StellarXplorers High School Competition Participating with Space Foundation's 32nd Space Symposium

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 28, 2016) – The Air Force Association (AFA) and the Space Foundation are combining forces at the 32nd Space Symposium to inspire students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).  

On the morning of Wednesday, April 13, nine teams of high school students from across the U.S., and one from an American school in Germany, will gather at the Space Foundation Discovery Center in Colorado Springs to tackle a problem of space system design using AGI’s Systems Tool Kit (STK).

The students will spend the day at the Discovery Center working on their team design challenge before briefing program judges on their solutions. On Thursday afternoon, the students will tour the Space Symposium’s Lockheed Martin Exhibit Center. Later that afternoon, trophies will be awarded to the winning teams in a presentation at the nearby DoubleTree by Hilton. Following the awards presentations, all the teams will attend the Space Technology Hall of Fame Dinner at The Broadmoor.

“AFA is thrilled to be offering a program that has generated such excitement among students and their educators. What is most impressive is these students, who are the future of our nation and its space community, have met every challenge we’ve set before them,” said Larry Spencer, President of the Air Force Association.

This second season of StellarXplorers, which constitutes its Pilot National Deployment, has taken another step in AFA’s goal to expand the competition geographically and with increasing complexity to include all aspects of the space system process. Twenty-seven teams started the season; after three qualification rounds, the top ten teams, hailing from Calif., Utah, Colo., Ala., and the American School in Kaiserslautern, Germany, have converged on Colorado Springs for this National Championship. AFA’s objective is to continue to grow this into a broader national program with a well-grounded educational component and with the objectives of:

  • Stimulating in students an appreciation for the criticality of an enduring U.S. space presence;
  • Educating students on fundamental aspects of space systems engineering, space support systems, and space operations;
  • Exposing students to space industry career opportunities; and
  • Facilitating space industry internship and scholarship opportunities for participants.

AFA is a non-profit, independent, professional military and aerospace education association. Learn more by visiting

Learn more about Space Foundation STEM education outreach and programs at See details about the 32nd Space Symposium at

About AGI
Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI) provides commercial software for designing, developing and operating missions within the space and national defense communities. For more information, visit

About the Space Foundation
Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is the foremost advocate for all sectors of space, and is a global, nonprofit leader in space awareness activities, educational programs and major industry events, including the annual Space Symposium, in support of its mission “to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity.” Space Foundation World Headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA, has a public Discovery Center, including El Pomar Space Gallery, Northrop Grumman Science Center featuring Science On a Sphere® and the Lockheed Martin Space Education Center. The Space Foundation has a field office in Houston and conducts government affairs from its Washington, D.C., office. It publishes The Space Report: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity, and through its Space CertificationTM and Space Technology Hall of Fame® programs, the Space Foundation recognizes space-based innovations that have been adapted to improve life on Earth.  Visit, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, Flickr and YouTube, and read our e-newsletter Space Watch.