Sally Harrington
NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland

December 30, 2008
RELEASE : 08-065
High School Robotics Competition Kicks Off on Jan. 3
CLEVELAND -- More than 280 students from 25 high schools will get their first glimpse at the challenge that awaits them in the 2009 FIRST Robotics Competition at a kickoff event on Jan. 3, 2009.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Cuyahoga Community College's Unified Technology Center at 2415 Woodland Avenue.

The event will feature a live satellite broadcast by NASA Television from the FIRST Headquarters in Manchester, N.H. Dean Kamen, inventor and founder of FIRST, will reveal the game, playing field and rules for the 2009 competition. FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.

In addition to being broadcast live on NASA TV, the kickoff program will be streamed live on the NASA website: NASA TV's public, education and media channels are available on an MPEG-2 digital C-band signal accessed via satellite AMC-6, at 72 degrees west longitude, transponder 17C, 4040 MHz, vertical polarization.

Following the event, the teams will receive parts kits to help them start building their robots. The teams will have six weeks to design, build and practice maneuvering their robots before shipping them off in mid-February to the Cleveland State University Wolstein Center for the eighth annual Buckeye Regional competition on Feb. 26-28.

Media representatives are invited to the kickoff event and to follow along with a team as they work side-by-side with professional engineers and technicians, parents and teachers. Through their mentoring, the students learn about the field of engineering and gain knowledge and experience in teamwork, time management, task sequencing and computers.

The Buckeye Regional competition is sponsored by NASA's Glenn Research Center, local corporations and academic and nonprofit organizations. More than 60 teams will be competing in the regional competition. The teams will represent high schools in urban, suburban and rural communities in Ohio, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Canada.

NASA, through its Robotics Alliance Project, provides sponsorships to assist teams in developing self-sustaining FIRST programs in their local areas. The $6,000 sponsorships cover the cost of entry to one regional event as well as the kit of parts. The sponsorships are targeted at new FIRST teams that need assistance in getting the program started in their local communities.

FIRST is a nonprofit organization founded to interest and inspire students in math, science and technology. FIRST represents a cooperative effort among students, teachers, communities, corporations, educational institutions and government agencies. For additional information about FIRST, go to

For more information on NASA and agency programs on the web, visit:


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