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NASA Marshall Center to Host FIRST Robotics Kick-Off at USSRC
by Staff Writers
Huntsville AL (SPX) Jan 12, 2016

FIRST, which stands for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology," is a national organization founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen in Manchester, New Hampshire, to inspire young people to pursue careers in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

The 2016 FIRST Robotics season, a national robotic competition for students grades 9-12, will kick-off Jan. 9, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The event will be held inside the Davidson Center for Space Exploration and is hosted by the USSRC, as well as NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, also in Huntsville.

Nearly 260 students from 18 teams in schools across Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi are expected to attend, including The Mad Rockers of Bob Jones and James Clemens High Schools in Madison; Morgan County Mech Tech, of A.P. Brewer, Priceville, Danville and West Morgan High Schools; and Team G.R.E.A.T. from Grissom High School in Huntsville.

This event signifies the beginning of the 2016 build and competition season for FIRST. During the event, teams will learn the object of this year's challenge, as well as pick up their "Kit of Parts."

The kit, provided by FIRST and various sponsors, including NASA, has the necessary contents to build a robot during the next six weeks, the allotted time for all teams to complete construction. Each kit is identical, consisting of donated items worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Once students have designed, built and tested their robot, they will compete in a variety of district and regional competitions held throughout the nation in February and March. Each competition allows teams to demonstrate their robots' ability to complete this year's challenge, as well as an opportunity to qualify for the national championship, held in St. Louis, April 27-30.

FIRST, which stands for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology," is a national organization founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen in Manchester, New Hampshire, to inspire young people to pursue careers in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

NASA and its Robotics Alliance Project provide grants for high school teams and support for FIRST Robotics competitions around the country to address the critical national shortage in these fields.

This educational event is a collaborative effort between Marshall, the USSRC and the National Space Club of Huntsville.

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