Marshall Center sponsors three area high schools in annual robotics competition

October 10, 2000

Three high schools - one in Huntsville and two in neighboring cities - will participate in a national engineering competition to build robots with the help of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Lee High School in Huntsville, Arab High School in Arab, Ala., and Lincoln County High School in Fayetteville, Tenn., will vie in the annual FIRST Robotics Competition in early 2001. The Marshall Center is sponsoring the school teams by providing engineering, advisory and financial support.

This is the second year that Marshall is participating -- having sponsored Lee High School in the 2000 competition. The Lee team beat more than 260 competitors to capture two of the national awards presented. The Boeing Company will partner with Marshall to sponsor Lee High in the 2001 competition.

The FIRST Foundation (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) conducts annual regional and national design competitions for high school students teamed with industries and universities. The overall goal is to demonstrate that engineering and science can be as interesting, captivating and entertaining as a sporting event.

The competition requires an intense six-week project in which teams design, build and control a remotely operated vehicle for a sports-based task whose objective changes each year.

"Last year's objective was to design a robot to put balls in a goal, and support its own weight by hanging from a bar," said Vicki Smith of Marshall's Education Programs Department.

Competition begins in early January when the objective -- or game -- for the robot is unveiled. Each year, different size, weight and material construction limitations are imposed.

"Six weeks later, you have to have your robot completed and ready for competition. It is highly intense," Smith said. "It's also a lot of fun for the engineers since they don't usually see a project go from the drawing board to construction and operation so quickly."
-end-
Contact
Jerry Berg
Media Relations Department
(256) 544-0034
jerry.berg@msfc.nasa.gov
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The Web

News release
http://www1.msfc.nasa.gov/NEWSROOM/news/releases/2000/00-292.html

First robotics competition
http://www.usfirst.org/

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Marshall Space Flight Center
Media Relations Department
(256) 544-0034
(256) 544-2552 (fax)
http://www.msfc.nasa.gov/news
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NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center News Center

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