Three of the four students were on last year’s team, which won the world championship.

Seahawks place fifth at Zero Robotics world championship
Posted on 01/28/2019
Robotics students

Monday, January 28, 2019

Hilton Head Island High students place fifth
at 2019 Zero Robotics world championship

BEAUFORT – Four Hilton Head Island High School robotics students, allied with students from a pair of high schools in France and Romania, placed fifth today at the world championship finals of the 2019 Zero Robotics International Space Station competition in Boston.

Three of the four students were on last year’s team, which won the world championship.

“They’re obviously a bit disappointed that they weren’t able to repeat as champions, but a fifth-place finish is terrific when you’re competing against the best teams in the world,” said John Quindlen, who coached Hilton Head’s robotics team.  “I’m extremely proud of them.”

Students in this year’s competition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology wrote computer programs that directed a satellite to navigate a debris field, make contact with a second, disabled satellite and take it under tow.  During today’s finals, astronauts in low earth orbit aboard the International Space Station tested the students’ computer programs in microgravity, with results broadcast live via webcast.

Zero Robotics is a joint NASA/MIT initiative that featured teams from around the world, primarily from elite schools specializing in science and technology.  The best “alliances” competed in today’s finals, and Hilton Head’s alliance include a team from France and a team from Romania.

Hilton Head Island High’s team, nicknamed “Beachbotics,” entered the finals as the No. 2-ranked team in the world.  Its members were Arnaut Aguilar, Cristian Ambrocio, Kieran Ashton and Rex Blahut.

Quindlen commended team mentor John Melanson for assisting the students with their computer programming challenges.

In addition to the United States, student teams in this year’s world championship finals came from Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Romania.