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Reprinted from Firstinspires:


Here is some information we think will help you prepare (though can you really be 100% prepared?). For those of you who don’t want to read through this (it’ll be familiar to those that have been around for a while), I’ll summarize the deadlines (all are noon, eastern):

  • 1/5 – Kickoff:
    • Kickoff Kits distributed
    • encryption key posted
    • unencrypted game specific content posted
    • replacement parts system opens
    • FIRST Choice Round 2 begins
    • New Virtual kit items posted
  • 1/9 – official Q&A opens (details to be posted shortly after Kickoff)
  • 1/10 – FIRST Choice Round 2 ends, priority lists locked.
  • 1/11 – missing/damaged kickoff kit item replacement parts requests due
  • 1/14 – AndyMark sends Round 2 notification emails

Kickoff Kit – Sizing Info

In addition to finding out 2019 season details on Saturday, each team attending a local Kickoff will also leave with this year’s Kickoff Kit items. We’re giving a deliberately vague “heads up” with to what kind of sizes, weights to expect so you can make accommodations to get the goods back to your build space. This information is also now published in the “Kickoff Kit” section of the Kit of Parts page.

Every team will receive a Black Tote (~12 in. x 27 in. x 17 in., ~33 lbs.) and a set of separate items of assorted shapes and sizes, collectively ~30 lbs. with no one item weighing more than ~14 lbs. Separate items would fit in a backpack if it weren’t for a few long (48 in.), narrow pieces.

New (“rookie”) teams will also receive a Gray Tote (~12 in. x 27 in. x 17 in., ~34 lbs.) an additional separate item that weighs ~13 lbs.

Teams that did not opt out will also receive a Drive Base Kit (~7 in. x 7 in. x 33 in., ~29 lbs.)

Kickoff Kit - What if something’s missing or damaged?

We strongly recommend that one of the first things you do after Kickoff is to inventory your Kickoff Kit. If anything is missing or damaged 1) we’re so sorry! and 2) you need to let us know and we’ll make it right.

The process we use to get information from you is built in to the registration system and available from noon (Eastern) on 1/5 to noon (Eastern) on 1/11.

Please know and understand that we will not process requests that don’t use this system for teams who received their Kickoff Kits on or before 1/11/19. (If you’re a “MySite” team who received your kit after 1/11, please email us within 2 business days of receipt of your Kickoff Kit with any missing/damaged items.)

To report anything missing or damaged:

  • Your Lead Coach/Mentor 1 or 2 logs in to your team’s account.
  • Click on the “Payments and Product” drop down menu and select “Order Replacement Parts”

  • Enter the shipping information for where you’d like the replacement parts sent.
  • Use the “Subkit Container” filter to navigate to the parts you need to report.
  • Click the “Add” button for the item that’s missing/damaged.
  • Specify the quantity missing/damaged, include an explanation, and click “Save.”  The list will auto save when you add an item, so you can come back to it later.
  • Once your list is complete, hit “Submit Request.” You can only submit once, and you must Submit before noon (Eastern), 1/11 for your request to be processed.

FIRST Choice: Round 2

FIRST Choice opens for Round 2 of Priority List orders from 1/5 to 1/10 (noon Eastern, emails with what each team is getting will be send by AndyMark by the end of the day on 1/14). We’ll be employing the same Priority List Process used in Round 1 and issuing additional credits to each team’s account. Any unused credits from Round 1 are carried over. Details on all this are in the FIRST Choice section of the Kit of Parts page.

Virtual Kit – New Items Coming!

Additional Virtual Kit items will be posted to the Virtual Kit section of the Kit of Parts page (with any corresponding voucher codes posted to teams’ registration accounts) at noon on Saturday. Don’t forget to check them out too.

The Down Low on Downloads

A plea: Please do not re-host or redistribute the content posted by FIRST. All are welcome to post links to our content as long as the content itself remains on our servers. The content could change at any time after Saturday’s Kickoff (though after Kickoff, we promise that we try to only change things we think are really broken), and by linking to our content instead of hosting, we can make sure everyone is getting the most up to date information.

You can get a jump on the rush Saturday by downloading some files now. They’re encrypted, so you can’t access them until we give you the encryption code during the Kickoff broadcast (find information about the Kickoff broadcast here).

We post them now though, because for many, it’s easier to have them locally on their device, and then using the key, unlocking and opening these files immediately and without needing internet access.

Here’s what we’ve encrypted and posted (all links automatically download, approximate file size noted if download > 100MB, all other content to be posted shortly after the Kickoff broadcast):

DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE Game Manual (link lives on the Game and Season page)

Kickoff Kit Checklists (links live on the Kickoff Kit section of the Kit of Parts page)

DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE Drawings (links live on the Playing Field page)

VR and Other Field Assets (links live on the Playing Field page)

Q&A System

We’ll post more on this shortly after Kickoff but wanted to give you a heads up that the official Q&A system will open at noon (eastern) on Wednesday, January 9th. It opens a few days after Kickoff to give teams some time to digest the game manual (and then read it again).

Event Rules

In addition to the rules in the game manual, please remember to review the event rules here. This webpage also includes information on how you should report medical and non-medical incidents.

Thanks for reading through to the end, and good luck this season!

Blackwater Robotics will again be hosting a strategy session and human game on Sunday morning the day after kickoff. Determining how you want to play the game early on is crucial to the robot design process. This is our fifth season hosting this event. Being able to interact with field elements and have six robots (humans) move around the field early in build season can give your team a great understanding of how DEEP SPACE can be played.

Blackwater Robotics FIRST Team 1610
Sunday, January 6, 2019
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Charles Street Gym
Directly beside JP King Middle School
501 Charles Street
Franklin, VA 23851
For those of you who haven't been to our build site, we work in an old gym and have the full 27' x 54' of carpet available.  We'll have at least half the field markings in place and will work to have enough field elements built quickly so that we can be ready to hit the ground running Sunday morning (see attached pictures).
We're inviting the entirety of Hampton Roads and a handful of other southeast Virginia teams.  You don't need to bring anything except the game piece you receive in your kit to ensure we'll have enough to play the game.  We'll start off with a discussion of rule changes from previous years, ways to score points, potential strategies, the ranking system, and of course simulating game-play in a full scale area.
We'll have soda/bottled water/snacks and coffee available.  Some visiting teams have brought donuts/muffins/other breakfast food in previous years and that was a great help. We will wrap up before lunch so you can get back to your afternoon meetings (and so we don't have to feed you!).
Please let me know if your team plans on attending and how many people you estimate will attend. Happy Kickoff!

The 2019 STEM Takes Flight NASA Research Experience for Virginia’s Community Colleges program is now accepting applications. Since 2015, community college sophomores throughout the state have had the opportunity to apply for paid NASA research experiences at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore. These research experiences take place over 10 weeks during the summer. More than 20 positions are available, and all projects are STEM oriented.

Qualified applicants are undergraduate community college STEM majors, who are at least a rising sophomore and not graduating prior to May of 2019. They must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years of age, and a full- or part-time student taking a minimum of six credit hours.

The program is jointly funded by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium and the Virginia Community College System.

The application deadline is Feb. 26, 2019. Learn more and apply online at

Deadline Approaching! Mentor Recognition: All mentors must be registered before 11:59 P.M. ET on Friday, December 14 to receive this season’s recognition items during National Mentor Month in January 2019.
Your team’s Lead Coach/Mentor 1 or 2 can invite/remove mentors by logging in and selecting the “Contacts Options” button under the Team Contacts/Roster section on the Dashboard page, then “Manage Contacts.”
Complete your Roster for 2019 DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE presented by The Boeing Company: Make sure your roster is completed now, so you won’t have to worry during build or event season. Ask parents to register their students today! We can help you keep your parents and your team members “in the know” and make sure they don’t miss out on any of the news and valuable information coming from FIRST®.  
Why is this so important? By registering your youth team members, you: 
  • Allow us to keep in touch with students about scholarships, internships and career opportunities 
  • Help us contact parents in case of emergencies 
  • Make it easier to create a team roster needed for events  
  • Provide FIRST with demographic data to help improve and grow our programs* 
  • Provide your team members with the ability to apply for some team awards  
*FIRST uses youth information to understand who our programs are serving – ensuring that they are accessible to all. We also utilize aggregate information to meet sponsor requirements, such as the total number of team members and the percentage of boys and girls. Private information is not shared.  
Get started today and learn more about registering youth team members by visiting our Youth Registration System Overview page.
Showbest Fixture Corporation has generously funded a limited number of grants for FRC teams in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia for the 2018-2019 competition season. All registered FRC teams are eligible to apply. Funds may be used to defray costs associated with registration, travel and lodging, and materials. Funds may also support FRC outreach to grow more teams throughout the FIRST Chesapeake District. Grants will be awarded based upon need and/or anticipated outcomes. 
Awards will not exceed $4,000 per team and will be selected by a committee comprised of FIRST Chesapeake staff, volunteers, and Showbest representatives. Applications must be submitted on-line by 4pm on January 14th, 2019.
Awards will be announced on January 18th, 2019, and checks will be issued to teams by February 1st, 2019.


With the new advancement strategy for our 2018-2019 season, FIRST® Tech Challenge will be inviting teams to FIRST Championship as they qualify from their state and regional championship events. Once a team qualifies they will receive an email invitation from FIRST Tech Challenge Headquarters. This invite will include important next steps in the registration process as well as badging, hotel, and travel information.

A team will not be able to sign up for a hotel room until their championship event-host has sent their team information to FIRST Tech Challenge HQ, and they have accepted their email invitation from FIRSTTech Challenge. Once a team has confirmed that they will be attending FIRST Championship, they will be able to book their hotel room blocks. 


We strongly recommend booking your team’s hotel rooms through FIRST. When you book with FIRST, you will:

  • Stay close to all the event action
  • Receive guaranteed low rates at FIRST-reviewed and sanctioned hotels
  • Enjoy FIRST-only contracted amenities at most hotels including complimentary Wi-Fi, breakfast, and parking
  • Earn rewards points
  • Build your STEM squad by connecting with other teams


2019 FIRST Championship housing and travel discounts are available mid-December. Receive notification when hotel blocks and discounts become available so you’re ready to book when you advance to Houston or Detroit.

Through the generosity of the FTC Charlottesville Qualifier site host University of Virginia School of Engineering, lunches are being provided free of charge to all participating teams and two of their coaches/mentors.  

Please pre-register your team and two coaches/mentors so we can provide our host with a head count.

We'd like to give them a head count by January 2nd, 2019- thank you!