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Local students part of technology competition

| November 24, 2010 8:00 PM

A Post Falls High School-based team of students from several area high schools selected by NASA and MIT to design software to program small satellites aboard the International Space Station finished their run in 16th place in the nation last week.

The competition centers on the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or "SPHERES."

This was the second year this team was invited to the competition.

The team typically met online and on weekends while writing code and algorithms that would play a "capture the flag" type game using satellites onboard the space station.

"While we were disappointed we didn't crack the top 10 this year and our code will not be running onboard the space station, we wish the other teams well," said coach Salvatore Lorenzen. "It was a great experience and learning opportunity for both the students and the mentors. The kids really put forth some great ideas and some elegant code to make the satellites work."

Lorenzen is the Professional-Technical Education Department Head at Post Falls High School and runs the robotics and electronics programs there.

This year's local team includes Post Falls High School students Brett Menzies, Brandon Glatz, Nathan Brooks, Shane Doll, and Spencer Fansler; Nick Induni of Coeur d'Alene High School; and Tyler Dahl of the Classical Christian Academy in Post Falls. Industry mentors included Mike Everett of Kimball Office and Clint Washburn of AMI Machining, both from Post Falls. Alumni mentors were Blake Alfson of Lakeland High School and Enmar Abrams of Post Falls. Collectively the team is known as "Team DELTA" and some members were returning from last year's initial beta-test pilot program for the SPHERES system. All of these students are participants in their own school's FIRST Robotics Challenge or FIRST Tech Challenge robotics teams.

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