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HCTC Aerospace student named U.S. Champion at Space Settlement Design Competition

Isaiah Camareno poses with his Space Settlement Design Champion medal and certificate.

Hollenstein Career and Technology Center Aerospace Engineering and Aviation student, Chisholm Trail High School senior Isaiah Camareno, recently applied his engineering and space operations knowledge to lead his 56-member team in winning the U.S. Championship at the 21st annual Space Settlement Design Competition at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston on March 22-24. 

Based on his superior performance, the judges then chose Camareno to be among the 12 winning-team members that earned an all-expenses paid trip to represent the United States in this year’s international competition at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where he will compete with the U.K., Canadian, Brazilian, Argentine, Venezuelan, French, German, Australian, Russian, Romanian, Brazilian, Chinese, Pakistani, Japanese, and Indian winners in late July.

As the winning team’s Director of Structural Engineering, Camareno ensured the settlement met the requirements of providing gravity at varying levels throughout the settlement, docking stations for arriving and departing ships, single and family housing for permanent and transient parties, manufacturing and storage areas, and biological areas while meeting the settlement’s proposal schedule and adjudicating tradeoffs between competing engineering needs.

EMS ISD was represented at the competition through the HCTC STEM program’s Aerosciences Department. During its five years in the competition, the district has produced seven members of the U.S. National Championship Team, five of whom were chosen as the top 12 performers to represent the United States at the international event.  

The annual competition was open to all United States 10-12 graders and simulated working in an aerospace company. This year’s competition focused on designing the international space community’s actual goal of developing an industrial complex in space. The high pressure contest required student companies design a single complex for 80,000 inhabitants in 21 hours. The design included internal-settlement transportation; power sources; water, food, and waste systems; computer and robotics systems; defining construction materials, sources and in-space construction methods; specifying interior living and working-spaces; and developing project costs and schedules. The complex must remain in cis-lunar orbit at a designated spot (i.e., Lagrangian Point 5) to reduce fuel consumption while the inhabitants mine the moon and asteroids. The teams had to create a 50-page paper and 35-minute PowerPoint presentation for the 12 NASA and space-industry PhD judges. 

NASA, Aerospace Education Competitions, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the National Space Society sponsor the worldwide competition open to all high schools. The experience requires students to integrate their knowledge and skills in aerospace sciences and engineering, physics, math, chemistry, environmental science, robotics, biology, computer science, writing, speaking, and art.

For information about next year’s contest, contact Mr. Rick Griffith at 817-306-1925 or