It All Comes Down To This!
Bragging rights as the
best model rocket team in the nation will be up for grabs this
weekend, as hundreds of students gather at Great Meadow near
Washington DC for the final round fly- off of the world's largest
The fourth annual installment of the Team America Rocketry
Challenge will feature intense aerial competition as more than 500
middle and high school students battle for a share of more than
$60,000 in prizes.
About 7,000 students on 678 teams from 47 states and the
District of Columbia took part in regional competition, with the
top 100 squads reaching the final. Winning teams will share a prize
pool of more than $60,000 in savings bonds and cash.
Former Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, one of the first two men to land
on the moon, leads a group of VIPs from NASA, DoD, the European
Space Agency, and other groups. Other attractions during the event
are a flyover by the US Marine Corps, an unmanned aerial vehicle
demonstration, and high-powered rocket launches.
The only national rocket competition for middle and high school
teams, TARC is sponsored by AIA and the National Association of
Rocketry in partnership with NASA, the Defense Department, and the
Civil Air Patrol. A total of 39 AIA member companies are sponsoring
this year's challenge. NASA and DoD have contributed additional
prizes, including a chance for students to build an advanced
rocket, and science and technology tool kits for teachers. AIA
member company Raytheon is sending the winning team to the
Farnborough International Airshow near London in July.
Student teams come from middle or high schools or community
groups such as 4-H clubs or scouting troops. They design and
construct the rockets themselves -- they are not from model kits --
using knowledge of physics and mathematics. AIA President and CEO
John W. Douglass said the contest goal is to encourage students to
study advanced math and sciences and to consider studying aerospace
fields in college.
This year's contest is more challenging than previous years,
because teams must shoot for goals covering both flight altitude
and duration. Past years' competitions had just one of the
criteria. The finalists are attempting to launch their rockets 800
feet with a flight lasting 45 seconds, with the closest to both
winning. The rockets' raw-egg payload must return to the ground
Last year, a team from Dakota County 4-H in Minnesota took top
Founded in 1919, the Aerospace Industries Association represents
the nation's leading manufacturers and suppliers of civil,
military, and business aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial
vehicles, space systems, aircraft engines, materiel, and related
components, equipment services, and information technology.