Press Release

American Students Win International Rocket Contest Fly-Off

By SpaceRef Editor
June 24, 2011
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Rockwall-Heath High School Claims Transatlantic Victory at 2011 Paris Air Show

Paris, France – Student rocketeers from France, the United Kingdom and the United States competed today in the Fourth Annual Transatlantic Rocketry Challenge.

The four-member team from Rockwall-Heath High School in Heath, Tex., posted the best score to win the international fly-off. Worksop College from Nottinghamshire, England placed second. College Leonard de Vinci-St Aubin from Bordeaux, France placed third.

“This has been terrific,” said team president John Easum. “We knew we had a great design and had calculated the variables, but until you shoot the rocket, you really can’t be sure. What a way to end our team experience with the Team America Rocketry Challenge.”

The international rocketry challenge is the culmination of three separate competitions: the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC), UKAYRoC and the French Rocketry Challenge. Each contest brings together teams of middle and high school students to design, build and launch model rockets. This year the challenge was to launch a rocket that launched to exactly 750 feet during a 40- to 45-second flight. The payload, a raw egg, had to return to the ground by parachute undamaged. As part of their score, teams also had to give an eight minute presentation on their rocket design to a panel of international judges. The winning score represented a height of 745 feet and a duration of 43 seconds.

Sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry in the U.S.; ADS, Tri Polus Ltd, Space Connections and the Royal Aeronautical Society in the UK; and GIFAS and Planete Sciences in France, the programs are designed to encourage students to pursue careers in aerospace.

“We’re thrilled with the team’s success,” said Marion C. Blakey, president and CEO of AIA. “It’s quite a feat to make it to the national fly-off in the United States and now to have won the international challenge is quite impressive. We’re looking for this group of young people to help take this industry to new heights in a few years.”

Raytheon Company, a major event sponsor, has sent the TARC winning team to air shows at Farnborough and Paris for the past six years. The company is hosting all three teams as they tour the air show and Paris.

AIA created the Team America Rocketry Challenge in 2003 to celebrate the centennial of flight and to generate interest in aerospace careers among young people. The success of the program encouraged UK aerospace industry leaders to create the UKAYRoC in 2007 with similar goals in mind. France joined the international rocketry challenge at the 2010 International Airshow at Farnborough.

Members of the U.S. team from Rockwall-Heath High School are: John Easum, Landon Fisher, Michael Gerritsen and Colt McNally.

Members of the UK team Worksop College are: Cameron Bagley, Keith Lam, Jackie Lai, Ben May and Calum Semmence.

Members of the French team College Leonard de Vinci-St Aubin are: Alexandre Dessaints, Gauthier Decultot and Marie Gruet.

More information about TARC, UKAYRoC and the French Rocketry Challenge is available at, and High-resolution images are available on

SpaceRef staff editor.