The Team America Rocketry Challenge

The 2009 Contest

In 2009, Jacqui German, Tenzin Sonam, John Schoech and Ben Winokur from Madison West High School in Wisconsin won the Aerospace Industries Association’s (AIA) Seventh Annual Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC). The competing teams were required to design, build and launch a model rocket to an altitude of 750 feet with a flight time of 45 seconds and a raw-egg payload situated horizontally to mimic the position of an astronaut. The egg had to return to earth unbroken in order for the launch to qualify.

The Madison West High School team won a trip to the International Paris Air Show in June, shared a $60,000 prize pool with other top finishers, and earned $5,000 scholarships, awarded each of the top three teams, from Lockheed Martin Corporation.

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. A major goal is attracting young people to consider careers in aerospace and advancing their studies in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM fields.

The 2010 Contest

This year, the rules for the TARC contest are more difficult:

The rules for TARC 2010 offer a new kind of challenge to the student teams, forcing even teams that may have entered TARC previously to go “back to the drawing board” and learn some new rocketry skills. While the flight goal remains flying an egg to a precise altitude (825 feet this year) and duration, the teams this year will be required to use a completely different type of recovery device to return the egg and altimeter: a streamer rather than a parachute. The techniques for achieving the duration goal with a streamer are quite different; it’s harder, and it will put a new emphasis on protecting the fragile egg payload.

The application deadline for this year’s contest was November 30, 2009. Only the first 750 teams that submit a completed application, including payment, are allowed to compete in the 2010 contest. However, considering the complexity of the contest, start planning now for 2011.

The schedule for 2010 is:

  • Feb. 1 – Complete first test flight *
  • Mar. 15 – Complete first official flight attempt *
  • Apr. 5 – Submit qualification form to AIA
  • Apr. 9 – Top 100 team selected
  • May 15 – National Finals at Great Meadow in The Plains, VA
  • * recommended



One thought on “The Team America Rocketry Challenge

  1. Pingback: May 2010 « NSS Phoenix Space News

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