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NASA Kicks Off 2009 First Robotics Season With Live Broadcast


MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. - NASA Television will broadcast the annual FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Kickoff event on Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009, at 7 a.m. PST from Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester.

During the live broadcast, FIRST Robotics founder Dean Kamen will reveal the competition scenario for 2009, launching a six-week design and building frenzy for thousands of students in 1,687 international student teams.

The event also will be streamed live at NASA Robotics Alliance Project (RAP) Web site at

Each year, FIRST presents a new robotics competition scenario with twists and nuances to challenge both rookie and veteran teams alike. Each team receives an identical kit of parts and has six weeks to design and build a robot based on the teamís interpretation of the game scenario. Other than dimension and weight restrictions, the look and function of the robots is up to each individual team.

As in past years, NASA is playing a significant role by providing public access to robotics programs to encourage young people to investigate careers in the sciences and engineering. Through the NASA Robotics Alliance Project, the agency provides grants for 238 teams and sponsors four regional student competitions, including a new FIRST regional competition in Washington, D.C.

Kamen founded FIRST in 1989 to convince American youth that engineering and technology are exciting and ícoolí fields. The annual robotics competition is patterned after the engineering design course that FIRST national advisor Woodie Flowers taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge.

NASA participation in the FIRST program is provided through the NASA Headquarters Science Mission Directorate, Washington, and is directed by Dave Lavery.

NASA TVís Public, Education and Media channels are available on an MPEG-2 digital C-band signal accessed via satellite AMC-6, at 72 degrees west longitude, transponder 17C, 4040 MHz, vertical polarization. For additional information go to:

For a complete a list of the regional events, corporate sponsors and other details, visit:

For more information on the NASAís Robotics Alliance Project visit:

For NASA sponsored regional events and teams visit:


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