Press Release

Students Vie for World’s Largest Rocket Contest Title

By SpaceRef Editor
May 17, 2007
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Model rockets carrying payloads of a raw egg and the aspirations of hundreds of middle and high school students are set to take to the skies over The Plains, Va. this weekend as the Team America Rocketry Challenge crowns a new champion.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is scheduled to make an appearance during the award ceremony after the contest and hand out the first-place trophy to this year’s winner.

The final round of the world’s largest rocket contest is scheduled for Saturday at Great Meadow, about 45 miles west of Washington, D.C. The top 100 qualifying teams from around the nation will launch their rockets in the fly- off, vying for approximately $60,000 worth of scholarships and other prizes.

This year’s competition is the fifth installment of TARC, which is sponsored by AIA and the National Association of Rocketry along with NASA, the Defense Department, and the American Association of Physics Teachers. A total of 38 AIA member companies also sponsor the contest.

Other guests joining Gates include four former astronauts: Jay Apt; Scott “Doc” Horowitz, a current NASA associate administrator; Ron Sega, the current undersecretary of the Air Force; and Buzz Aldrin. Also attending are other leaders from the Defense Department, NASA, FAA, and representatives from foreign embassies. The winners of the UK Aerospace Youth Rocketry Challenge are scheduled to launch their rocket during a demonstration after the TARC competition.

AIA conceived TARC in 2003 as a one-time event to mark the centennial of flight. It was so popular that the association brought it back as an annual event aimed at attracting young people to study science, math, and other high technology-related subjects. The aerospace and defense workforce is facing a shortage of skilled employees in coming years and needs students to choose the industry as a career.

The goal for the teams is to fly a hand-made rocket as close as possible to 850 feet in altitude and 45 seconds in duration. The rockets carry a raw egg payload that must return to the ground un-cracked to qualify as a valid flight. Scores are based on deviations from the altitude and time goals, so a perfect mark would be zero.

Last year’s champion was a team from Statesville (North Carolina) Christian School.

This year Lockheed Martin contributed a special prize of $5,000 in scholarships to each of the top three teams. Raytheon is once again awarding the winning students a trip to a premier industry event, this year the International Paris Air Show in June.

For more information on the contest visit

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.

SOURCE Aerospace Industries Association

SpaceRef staff editor.