Three high school robotics teams sponsored or supported in part by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center scored well at the national high school robotics championships sponsored by FIRST – For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology – in Atlanta, Ga., April 17 and 18.
Image Right: Tehachapi High's robotics operations team – Zach St. John, Pilots Ryker Newman and Taylor Wood – are a study in concentration as they guide their machine during the FIRST national robotics championship in Atlanta. (submitted photo)
Although none of the alliance teams of which Dryden-sponsored teams were a part made it into the final championship round, all participated in the semi-final rounds in their respective divisions. The Dryden-supported teams included the Eagle Robotics team 399 from Lancaster High School in Lancaster, Calif., the Cyber Penguins team 585 from Tehachapi High School in Tehachapi, Calif., and the Power through Higher Innovation or PHI team 452 that participated in a separate FIRST Tech Challenge competition using the smaller VEX robot.
Image Right: Members of the Power through Higher Innovation or PHI robotics team 452 gather around their mechanical masterpiece that competed in the FIRST Tech Challenge competition using the smaller VEX robot in the national championships in Atlanta. (submitted photo)
PHI Team 452 qualified for the Atlanta championship event by winning the highest honor for a FIRST Tech Challenge team, the Inspire award, at the Las Vegas FIRST Tech Challenge robotics championships Feb. 21. The team completed its regular season with a perfect record by finishing on the winning alliance for every championship in which they competed. In the national championships in Atlanta, Team 452 was part of the second ranked team alliance that won in the quarter-finals, but then lost in their division finals.
Image Right: The Tehachapi High School "Cyber Penguins" Robotics Team's robot, Cyber Tux 3.0, shows its stuff at the FIRST national championship in Atlanta. (submitted photo)
In addition to the above three sponsored teams, NASA Dryden also provided a grant to the second-year Robolopes team from Antelope Valley High in Lancaster, Calif.
A number of current or retired NASA Dryden employees served as mentors to the Dryden-supported teams during their spring season, among them Joe Pahle for Team PHI; Tom Mullen, Mark Pestana and John Kelly for the Tehachapi High Cyber Penguins, Dave Voracek for Lancaster High's Eagle Robotics and Larry Myers for the Antelope Valley High Robolobes.