Arlington, Va. - Countless hours spent designing, hand-building and
testing model rockets has paid off for 100 teams that will be vying
for the sixth annual Team American Rocketry Challenge national title
The Aerospace Industries Association announced the finalists for the
world s largest rocket contest Friday. A complete list of the
qualifying teams is available at www.rocketcontest.org.
The teams will meet at Great Meadow in The Plains, Va., on May 17 for
a final fly-off and a chance to win more than $60,000 in scholarships
and other prizes.
About 7,000 students on 643 teams from 43 states and the District of
Columbia took part in the qualifying rounds of competition.
AIA President and CEO Marion Blakey said the participating middle and
high school students once again proved themselves to be both
enthusiastic and creative, an encouraging sign as the aerospace
industry faces a looming workforce shortage.
"I'm pleased to see such a committed group of finalists," Blakey
said. "I'm looking forward to seeing these teams compete next month,
but I'm even more excited to see what their futures hold. We're
seeing here firsthand the faces of the future innovators for our
The contest presents teams with a dual challenge. Teams must launch
their rocket as close as possible to an altitude of 750 feet with a
flight time of 45 seconds. The payload of two raw eggs must return to
the ground unbroken.
Teams had until April 7 to submit qualifying scores, which were
achieved by launching the rocket in their home region under the
supervision of a judge from the National Association of Rocketry,
AIA s co-sponsor of the contest. The competition is also sponsored by
NASA, the Defense Department, the American Association of Physics
Teachers and 34 AIA member companies.
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 aerospace and defense sector is
bracing for a workforce crisis over the next decade as the scientists
and engineers lured to the industry by the space race and the Cold
War hit retirement and not enough qualified young Americans take
their place. Almost 60 percent of the U.S. aerospace workforce is 45
or older, according to statistics compiled by AIA last year.
The aerospace industry offers a variety of career opportunities, from
building space vehicles to designing state-of-the-art fighter
aircraft to planning future commercial jetliners. Whether in
engineering, production, testing or integration, aerospace careers
are challenging and unique.
As a major supporter of the Team America Rocketry Challenge, Raytheon
Company is sponsoring the winning team s trip to a major
international air show for the third consecutive year this year. Last
year, Raytheon took the winning team to the Paris Air Show, and
members of this year s winning team will go to the Farnborough
International Air Show near London in July. There they will compete
in an international fly-off with the winner of the British version of
the Team America Rocketry Challenge.
Lockheed Martin Corporation will provide $5,000 scholarships to each
of the top three teams again this year, and NASA invites some of the
top teams to participate in their Student Launch Initiative, an
advanced rocketry program.
For more information about TARC, including details on how to sponsor
a team or to apply for press credentials for the finals, visit