February 15, 2021

Minnesota High School Students Qualify for National Semi-Finals of National Space Challenge

A team of cadets from Anoka Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol based Blaine, MN, is among a select group of teams to qualify for the semi-final round of StellarXplorers, the National High School Space Challenge. Led by Mary Albright, the Anoka Composite Squadron team – nicknamed S.I.A. –  is the only team in Minnesota and the North Central Region to earn a place in the Semi-Finals. Early competition activities take place locally including: education and training to prepare the team, three practice rounds, and four online, competition qualification rounds to identify the top ten teams to go to the National Finals.

“When the team was notified they qualified – to use a space analogy – they were over the moon excited. We are all-in for this competition. You see a lot of teams from the typically space-centric states, but we work hard to represent the Midwest each year in this competition.” – Mary Albright, Team Director

Cadets are members of the Anoka County Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol:

C/Capt Samantha Barton – Blaine,MN
C/2dLt Michael Belair – Elk River, MN
C/2dLt Sydney Norwood – Forest Lake, MN
C/Capt Elizabeth Ostenson – Circle Pines, MN
C/TSgt Anna Stambaugh – Hugo, MN
C/SMSgt Hannah Tepley – Champlin, MN

Created by the Air Force Association (AFA), StellarXplorers is designed to inspire and motivate high school students and their educators to pursue studies and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through a challenging, space system design competition.  Building on AFA’s experience providing relevant STEM programs, StellarXplorers will make an additional and significant positive contribution to STEM education across the nation. The program is made possible through the support of the Air Force STEM Program, United Launch Alliance, Orbital ATK, SpaceX, Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Analytical Graphics, Inc., and the Space Foundation.

For more information about StellarXplorers, go to

For more information about the Anoka County Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol Cadet Programs, go to


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