Press Release

France Joins International Youth Rocketry Challenge

By SpaceRef Editor
June 20, 2009
Filed under , , ,

Field Expands to Three with the UK and U.S.

Paris Air Show 2009, France – The international youth rocketry competition is expanding to three contenders with the addition of France to the ranks of the UK and United States challengers.

GIFAS, the French aerospace industry association and Planete Sciences announced today that France will field a rocketry competition this fall and will compete against the UK and U.S. teams next year at the Farnborough International Air Show. France also plans to host the international fly-off outside of Le Bourget in June 2011.

“Today’s ceremony demonstrates the tremendous global enthusiasm for programs that attract youth to our industry,” said Marion Blakey, president and CEO of AIA. “We’re delighted that France will be part of the international competition next year and look forward to other countries following in their footsteps.”

“In France, Planete Sciences has been organizing campaign launches for many years but the International dimension of the contest adds a new incentive for participating students” said Jean-Pierre Ledey, Chairman of Planete Sciences.

“And a new educational aspect” concurred Guy Rupied, managing director of GIFAS. “in the sense that nowadays all sizeable projects in our industry are undertaken through international cooperation.”

“The UK also welcomes the addition of further competition from our French colleagues. The inaugural tri-nation fly off at the Farnborough International Airshow in 2010 will be a tremendous event” said Ian Godden, chief executive of SBAC.

Marion Blakey, president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association; Guy Rupied, managing director of GIFAS; Ian Godden, chief executive of SBAC; and Jean-Pierre Ledey, chairman of Planete Sciences participated in a signing ceremony today. They pledged to support the rocketry program in their countries and work to expand the competition to other countries.

French students joined student rocketeers from Madison West High School in Madison, Wis., and the Royal Liberty School in Romford Essex, who competed in the second Annual Transatlantic Rocket Fly-Off in May. The five-member team from Royal Liberty School won the international fly-off.

The contest brings together teams of middle and high school students to design, build and launch model rockets with a raw-egg payload that must return to the ground unbroken. This year’s contest goals were an altitude of 750 feet and a flight time of 45 seconds with the egg situated horizontally to mimic the position of an astronaut.

Raytheon brought this year’s winning U.S. team to the Paris Air Show as part of their prize. Similarly, the U.K.’s Raytheon Systems Limited is a sponsor of the UKAYRoC competition and supported the winning U.K. team’s attendance at the Paris Air Show. The sponsorship of these students at the Paris Air Show is part of Raytheon’s ongoing commitment to math and science education. Raytheon truly believes that tomorrow’s engineers and technologists need to be excited by and interested in math today.


AIA: Alexis Allen, 703-358-1075, GIFAS: Patrick Guerin, 01 44 43 17 50, SBAC: Matthew Knowles, 447962 441 313,

About the International Youth Rocketry Challenge

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

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.

More information about TARC and UKAYRoC is available at and

About Planete Sciences

Planete Sciences is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to organize science and technical educational activities for children and students between 10 and 25 years old. Planete Sciences has been operating for almost 50 years.

The technical fields covered by Planete Sciences are environment, robotics, space and astronautics. Space activities are realized in partnership with CNES, the French Space Agency. Please visit us at

Daniel N. Stohr
Coordinator, Communications & Planning
Aerospace Industries Association
1000 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1700
Arlington, VA 22209

SpaceRef staff editor.