Xploring a stellar future


Samir Mohamed, Review Staff

Feature Photo By: Samir Mohamed – STEM teacher and Stellar Xplorer sponsor Tom Brown aids students as they begin class work. As finals week approaches, students work vigorously to maintain high grades and finish off the semester strong.  

The Cosmo Raiders placed third nationally and await the finals in the Stellar Xplorers Aerospace competition in Colorado Springs for the first time in Rangeview STEM history. Throughout three rounds of qualifications competing against 130 other teams, and fighting to stay alive, Vince Morgan, Ryan Luong, Archan Kafley, Brady Kunn, and Charles Hulongbayan flourished in the Stellar Xplorers aerospace competition. With finals approaching, the Rangeview Cosmos qualified as finalists, while another Rangeview team fell short in the semifinals.

Rangeview High School STEM students began preparing for a national competition that could shed some light on Rangeview academics rather than athletics. These dedicated members meet every Thursday and prepare to take on real life missions and tasks the U.S. Air Force undergo. With assistance from professionals at the Buckley Air Force Base, each team must accomplish their own surveillance mission.

“I believe our Rangeview teams are prepared to compete because our mentors are professionals who apply this kind of technology and science into their everyday lives,” claims STEM teacher and Stellar Xplorers sponsor Mr.Brown.

The mentors from Buckley looked at radar and tracked satellites in the sky with highly advanced technology. Not only do they track satellites, but they can track any type of object in space worldwide. System Toolkit is an innovative software that performs an in depth analysis of the air, sea, and ground. These students undergo intense training as they learn to use the same equipment as the professionals at Buckley.

Whether or not these students have to do remote sensing, picture taking, ocean level check, atmospheric monitoring, or any number of satellite data taking, the competition is very intense.

With worldwide competition, many of the competing schools are from California, the East Coast, and even a few of the Department of Defense (DOD) schools from Japan and Germany. Those DOD schools house American students of servicemen and women across the sea or in other countries.

“It was really intimidating for me because this was our team’s first year and we didn’t have as much experience. We weren’t necessarily one of the big names that came to people’s minds because there were a lot of bigger schools with even more practice and experience,” stated Ryan Luong.

These schools primarily focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Although Rangeview is just another public school, many say that’s not a reason for them to be overlooked.  

Choosing the right launch vehicle and setting up orbit correctly is one of the most important tasks when it comes to these mission simulations. Selecting a variety of components that the satellite needs to accomplish its mission is also vital to the mission’s success. Each team is awarded points for how much coverage they have, the amount of data they accumulate, and the amount of data they download to a particular station somewhere here on earth.  

Rocket science as a whole is said to be very difficult and vigorous. With finals in April, the Cosmo Raiders don’t have time to kick back and celebrate because the intensity has just begun.

The finals will be hosted in Colorado Springs for three days and four nights. Ten teams have the opportunity to emerge themselves in excellence and shed some light on the future of science and technology.