Valencia Air Force JROTC finishes third in national StellarXplorers competition

The Valencia High School Air Force Junior ROTC team composed of (from left): Mihir Vaishampayan, Audrey Sohn, Alexis Aplaon, Juliane Le, Clarice Kim and Giorgio Simoncioni. Courtesy photo.

News release  

Valencia High School Air Force Junior ROTC cadets finished third in the nation in the StellarXplorers VIII National Competition finals held in April at Space Center Houston in Texas. Each cadet will receive a $1,000 educational scholarship.  

Some 375 teams started the competition in October and competed through four rounds of competition before the top 10 teams were selected to attend the finals in Houston. The teams are given very complicated scenarios where they have to virtually design, launch and deploy satellites into space within given parameters. They also got to meet an astronaut, space-related company executives and senior Space Force military officers, and tour the Space Center. 

“This team worked extremely hard. They had a positive attitude throughout the competition and learned how to honestly debrief results and make course corrections. Most importantly, they learned the value of teamwork… and learned some really cool space stuff along the way,” said Col. Chris Bricker (ret.), the Valencia ROTC instructor 

Working in partnership with leaders in the U.S. space industry, space-focused academia, and government entities, the Air Force Association developed the AFA StellarXplorers Space STEM Program to inspire students to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and careers through a space-focused competition.  

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