One of the missions of the Air Force Association (AFA) is to promote a dominant US Air Force. The AFA accomplishes this by educating the public on the need for aerospace power and advocating for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education.
Today’s students carry the future of tomorrow’s Air Force. To equip them with the skills they need to pursue STEM career paths and innovate for the future, AFA established StellarXplorers. This is a program that challenges high school students to competitively solve space system challenges involving aspects of spacecraft system development and operations. Students compete in teams of two to six supervised by a team director (teacher).
Teams are drawn from high schools, School Clubs, JROTC, Boy/Girl Scouts, and organized youth organizations. Participation is free up until the first qualifying round where a $200 registration fee is required. Teams receive an academic online curriculum and specific training kit for system simulation software. They also must solve a space design problem. Participants go through three qualification rounds before the semifinal and final rounds. To learn more, please visit http://www.stellarxplorers.org/.
The author, Virginia resident Carl Buhler is the CEO of Buhler Consulting, LLC (https://buhlerconsulting.com) and is a retired Brigadier General from the US Air Force. Carl Buhler is also a member of the AFA.