Finals for the world’s largest student rocket contest will kick off this weekend with 100 teams competing to become national champion — and six of the teams are from the Seattle area.
The American Rocketry Challenge is the aerospace and defense industry’s flagship program to encourage students to pursue study and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). It gives students the chance to design, build and launch model rockets, and the contest attracts more than 5,000 students and 600 teams annually.
The 2020 event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, teams from 27 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands will compete in the finals. Those teams include:
- Two teams from Interlake High School in Bellevue, Wash.
- WISE Camps in Bellevue
- Ingraham High School in Seattle
- Mercer Island Chinese Association
- Emerald City Rocketry in Bellevue
Rules require teams to construct craft that can carry one raw egg to three different altitude and time goals: 800 feet within 40 to 43 seconds for their qualifying flights; 775 feet within 39 to 42 seconds; and 825 feet within 41 to 44 seconds. The rocket and egg must return to the ground intact.
Beyond the challenge of launching a rocket, the pandemic created obstacles of its own with Zoom practices, virtual launches and calculations, and new distancing protocols and procedures.
“In a year full of extraordinary challenges, teamwork and determination propelled these talented rocketeers to qualify for the National Finals,” said Eric Fanning, president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association. The group is an event sponsor.
The finals will be held at 11 launch sites around the country, including one in Pasco, Wash. Competition dates are June 12-13 and June 19-20. A virtual awards ceremony will be held on June 28. Prizes include $20,000 for the first place team.
2019 coverage: 6 teams of Seattle-area students competing in national finals of Team America Rocketry Challenge
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