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NASA Announces Winners of 25th Annual Rover Challenge

Press Release From: Marshall Space Flight Center
Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2019

NASA has announced the winners of the 2019 Human Exploration Rover Challenge, held April 12-13 at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

The International Space Education Institute of Leipzig, Germany, won first place in the high school division with 91 points; and the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez - Team 1 won the college/university division with 101 points. Teams were awarded points based on the successful navigation of obstacles and completion of tasks.

The competition, hosted by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville and held at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, challenges high school and college teams to design, build and test human-powered roving vehicles inspired by the Apollo lunar missions and future exploration missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond. This year’s competition marked 25 years since the inaugural event, a milestone that fittingly coincided with the NASA’s Apollo 50th anniversary.

“Celebrating a quarter-century of Rover Challenge alongside the agency’s commemoration of Apollo has made this a very special year for all of us,” said Bob Musgrove, Acting Manager of the Office of STEM Engagement at Marshall.  “The creativity, skill and resourcefulness demonstrated each year on the rover course are the very traits that paved our path to the Moon in 1969, and the ones that will continue to carry NASA forward to the Moon again in 2024. We are so proud to congratulate this year’s winners, and every team that competed.”

NASA astronaut and two-time spaceflight veteran Sunita “Suni” Williams attended the second day of the event, interacting with teams and participating in the day’s activities.


Rover Challenge continues the agency’s mission of providing valuable learning opportunities to students who, someday, may be responsible for planning future space missions, including crewed missions to other worlds. After constructing their own rovers, teams attempt to traverse a nearly three-quarter-mile course with grueling obstacles that simulate terrain found on Mars, as well as other planets, moons and asteroids throughout the solar system. In addition, they have to complete tasks, such as sample collection and instrument deployment.

Teams had a six-minute window to navigate the course, gathering points and trying to complete the 14 obstacles. This year’s competition also offered a Technology Challenge Award, which tasked teams to construct their own wheels -- with the exception of the central hub – rather than purchase them commercially.

Nearly 100 teams took part in the competition, hailing from 23 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, as well as a record number of countries, including Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Mexico, Morocco and Peru.

The competition, managed by Marshall's Office of STEM Engagement, is one of many NASA initiatives to encourage students to study the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and to inspire the next generation of explorers.


Replays of the competition are available on a variety of streaming platforms, including Facebook, Periscope and Ustream.


The complete list of award winners is below.


High School Division


First Place: International Space Education Institute (Leipzig, Germany), 91 points

Second Place: Saint Thomas Academy (Mendota Heights, Minnesota), 91 points

Third Place: University Gardens High School (San Juan, Puerto Rico), 86 points

College/University Division


First Place: University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez- Team 1,  (Mayagüez, Puerto Rico), 101 points

Second Place: Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, Rhode Island), 95 points

Third Place: University of Puerto Rico Humacao - Team 2, (Humacao, Puerto Rico), 88 points

AIAA Neil Armstrong Best Design Award


High School Division: Parish Episcopal School - Team 2 (Dallas, Texas)

College/University Division: KIET Group of Institutions (Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India)

Technology Challenge Award


Saint Thomas Academy (Mendota Heights, Minnesota)

Drive Train Technology Challenge


Blue Ridge High School (Pinetop, Arizona)

University of Central Missouri - Team 1 (Warrensburg, Missouri)

Featherweight Award


High School Division: Saint Thomas Academy (Mendota Heights, Minnesota)

College/University Division: Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, Rhode Island)

AIAA Telemetry/Electronics Award


Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria (Peru)

Crash and Burn Award


Mt. Juliet High School - Team 1 (Mt. Juliet, Tennessee)

Frank Joe Sexton Memorial Pit Crew Award


High School Division: Bearden High School (Knoxville, Tennessee)

College/University Division: Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management and Engineering (Vile Parle, Mumbai, India)

Team Spirit Award


Parish Episcopal School - Team 1 (Dallas, Texas)

Rookie of the Year Award


Saint Thomas Academy (Mendota Heights, Minnesota)

Jesco von Puttkamer International Team Award


High School Division: International Space Education Institute (Leipzig, Germany)*

*ISEI donated their award to team Centro de Tecnologia Em Educação (Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

College/University Division: Technólogico de Monterrey (Mexico)

AIAA Best Report Award


High School Division: Parish Episcopal School – Team 2 (Dallas, Texas)

College/University Division: University of Memphis (Tennessee)

System Safety Challenge Award


High School Division: International Space Education Institute (Leipzig, Germany)

College/University Division: Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management and Engineering (Vile Parle, Mumbai, India)

Most Improved Award

High School Division: International Space Education Institute (Leipzig, Germany)

College/University Division: Owensboro Community and Technical College - Team 1 (Owensboro, Kentucky)

STEM Engagement Award

High School Division: Saint Thomas Academy (Mendota Heights, Minnesota)

College/University Division: Lovely Professional University (Phagwara, Punjab, India)

Legacy Award

University of Alabama in Huntsville

University of Puerto Rico Humacao


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