Press Release

Bayer Launches Second Alka-Rocket Challenge

By SpaceRef Editor
February 13, 2018
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Attention all university rocketeers who want to test their luck, build a rocket and attempt to break a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title:

Bayer wants you.

The company today is officially launching its second Alka-Rocket Challenge, where students compete to design and launch an Alka-Rocket for a chance to be the new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS holder for the Highest launch of an Alka-Rocket.* The challenge this year will be open to teams of students that are attending a four-year accredited university in the United States to see if they can break and set a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title.  Last year’s inaugural Alka-Rocket Challenge, held on Nov. 8 at the Space Center Houston, was won by the University of Minnesota.  The Golden Gophers earned top honors when their rocket launched 430 feet into the air setting a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title and winning $25,000.

“We are really excited to be expanding this outstanding challenge to universities across the U.S.,” said Raymond F. Kerins Jr., Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Bayer.  “There is a great need for more scientists, engineers and innovators in the U.S. and this is one way we can bring this to light. Through this competition and our continued commitment to STEM education and science literacy, we can help inspire the next generation of STEM leaders.”

An Alka-Rocket is a model rocket often built using a 35mm film canister and propelled by the chemical reaction that occurs when effervescent tablets are mixed with water.  Alka-Rockets are a staple experiment in Bayer’s Making Science Make Sense® (MSMS) science literacy initiative, and are often used in science classes throughout the U.S. to demonstrate principles of chemistry and physics.

An internationally recognized panel of judges will once again review the submissions and choose four finalists based on the design, execution and creativity of each rocket.  The judges include: NASA astronaut and Principal of 100 Year Starship, Dr. Mae Jemison; John Hochheimer, President of the National Association of Rocketry; and Cliff Ransom, Executive Editor of Scientific American Custom Media.  In addition to the three judges, there will be an official adjudicator from GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS to validate the heights of each competing rocket on-site at the final competition.

“Last year all the entries were impressive displays of rocket design, engineering and creativity,” Dr. Jemison said.  “It was very rewarding to see the evolution and engagement of college students with the same experiment I do frequently with elementary schools in Bayer’s Making Science Make Sense program.  I’m looking forward to this year.”

The fifth finalist team will be selected through the public casting their vote from Oct. 22 to Nov. 2 to pick their fan favorite.  The five finalist teams will be announced on Nov. 5.  On Dec. 12 the finalists will travel to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to compete for $30,000 and a chance to hold the new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title.

Teams have until Oct. 18 to submit their proposal by visiting Competition guidelines/rules and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are also available on the website.

*The official title recognized and recorded by GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS is Highest launch of an effervescent tablet rocket.

Bayer: Science For A Better Life

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2016, the Group employed around 115,200 people and had sales of EUR 46.8 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.7 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October 6, 2015. For more information, go to

Making Science Make Sense®

Making Science Make Sense® (MSMS) is Bayer’s company-wide initiative that advances science literacy through hands-on, inquiry-based science education, employee volunteerism and public education. This national, presidential award-winning program marked its 20th anniversary in 2015 with Bayer’s promise to provide another 1 million learning experiences for kids by 2020. Alka-Rockets are among the most popular science experiments conducted during MSMS programs in schools and science museums across the country. For more information, go to


Carolyn Nagle
Bayer U.S.
Office: 862-404-5955
Mobile: 201-419-0337

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SpaceRef staff editor.