Six cadets from the New Jersey Wing’s Maj. Thomas B. McGuire Composite Squadron will complete April 20-22 in the Air & Space Force Association’s StellarXplorers IX Space STEM program national finals.
The team is one of 10 to reach the championship competition from an initial field of nearly 350 entries.
The McGuire Composite team consists of:
- Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Clayton
- Cadet Staff Sgt. Benjamin Clayton
- Cadet Senior Airmen Alexander King and William Weisgarber
- Cadet Airman 1st Class Michael Domenech
- Cadet Airman Jadon Domenech
The 10 finalists – three representing Air Force Junior ROTC programs, one from Space Force ROTC, and five from high schools, along with the Civil Air Patrol cadets – advanced through four highly competitive online rounds to earn an all-expenses-paid trip to Space Center Houston in Texas.
A cadet team from the Oregon Wing’s Aurora Composite Squadron captured the national championing in 2021, a year after placing second overall. Aurora cadets reached the finals four times in five years.
“The National Finals Competition is always such an exciting time for this STEM program,” StellarXplorers Director Rebecca Dalton said. “We are incredibly proud of our finalists and all the teams that participated, and we expect this year’s event to be nothing short of spectacular. These students are the future of the space industry.”
The StellarXplorers Program Office is planning a robust final mission for the teams to complete, challenging them with orbit determination, satellite design, and launch vehicle selection challenges.
Teams will present their solutions to a panel of industry experts, and winners will be announced at an awards banquet April 22. Members of the top three teams receive scholarships to pursue their STEM education and career goals.
StellarXplorers is supported by the Air and Space Forces’ STEM K-12 Office, L3Harris Technologies, Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance, and BAE Systems. Educational support is provided by Ansys, Coyote Enterprises Inc., and Space Center Houston.
The McGuire Composite team’s achievement gives the New Jersey Wing entries in the championship rounds this year for both Air & Space Forces Association national competitions.
The wing’s Raritan Valley Composite Squadron team will compete March 18-20 in Rockville, Maryland, for the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, along with 12 other teams in the All Service Division – including cadets from the California Wing’s Fullerton Composite Squadron 56 and the Idaho Wing’s Boise Composite.