Press Release

2019 FIRST Robotics Competition Returns to Rocket City

By SpaceRef Editor
March 13, 2019
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FIRST Robotics Competition returns for the fourth consecutive year on Friday and Saturday, March 15 to 16 at the South Hall of the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama. More than 2,000 high school students on 55 teams from 12 states and Brazil will compete against one another in a new robotics game, “DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE.” The FIRST Robotics Competition “Rocket City Regional” is supported by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

Opening ceremonies for the FIRST Robotics Competition begin at 9:30 a.m. EDT on March 15, with qualification matches starting at 10 a.m. on both March 15 and March 16. The Friday awards ceremony will begin at 6:45 p.m., while the Saturday awards ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, with hands-on educational activities provided by sponsors and exhibitors. A livestream of the event will be available at

As NASA goes forward to the Moon to stay, then on to Mars, FIRST Robotics Competition teams will face off on a fictional planet to test their technologies. In “DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE”, which finds teams collecting samples on Planet Primus, two competing alliances will combat unpredictable terrain and weather patterns, making remote robot operation essential to their mission on the planet. With only 2 minutes and 30 seconds until liftoff, the alliances must gather as many cargo pods as possible and prepare their spaceships for departure before the next sandstorm arrives.

In January, each FIRST Robotics Competition team received an identical kit of parts and was given a six-week deadline to design, build and test a robot, with the help of adult mentors. Further details on the game’s rules are available on the FIRST website.

News media interested in covering this event should contact the Marshall newsroom at 256-544-0034 no later than 4 p.m. Thursday, March 14.


The FIRST — “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology” — Robotics Competition is a worldwide program for students in grades 9-12 that inspires the next generation of explorers to pursue careers in the fields of STEM. FIRST also offers the LEGO League, LEGO League Jr. and Tech Challenge science, technology, engineering and math programs for younger age groups. FIRST Robotics district and regional competitions are held across the country during March and April, providing teams a chance to qualify for the 2019 FIRST Robotics Competition Championship events at Houston and Detroit.

NASA and its Robotics Alliance Project provide grants for high school teams and support for FIRST Robotics Competition in an effort to address the critical national shortage of students pursuing STEM careers.

For Rocket City Regional event information, visit:

For more information about Marshall Space Flight Center’s support for education programs, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.