For 25 Student Rocket Teams, the Road to NASA Begins With Team America Rocketry Challenge
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
News release: 07-068
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – For 25 student teams from schools and organizations across the United States, the road to NASA began in Virginia as they competed in the Team America Rocketry Challenge, the world’s largest model rocket contest.
The annual contest, which culminated in the launch of their model rockets May 19, drew thousands of students. For the top performers, the journey continues at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., for an advanced rocketry workshop this summer and an invitation to submit proposals for the NASA Student Launch Initiative in the upcoming academic year.
Managed by the Marshall Center, the NASA Student Launch Initiative is a hands-on engineering project that challenges students to design, build, test and launch a reusable vehicle and payload to an altitude of one mile. Preparation for the next Student Launch Initiative begins in July, with one faculty member from each qualifying team invited to a NASA workshop in Huntsville, where educators can tour Marshall facilities and talk rocketry with NASA scientists and engineers.
"Partnering with the Team America Rocketry Challenge is one way that NASA encourages student exploration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics," said Tammy Rowan, interim manager of the Marshall Center's Academic Affairs Office. "But it's more than seeing scientific and mathematical principles come to life. It's also about teamwork, and selling your ideas – skills needed in virtually any career."
Sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association, based in Arlington, Va., May's Team America Rocketry Challenge in Virginia encourages each team to design, build and fly a model rocket carrying one raw egg. The goal was to fly to 850 feet, stay aloft for 45 seconds and return the egg safely to Earth.
About 7,000 students participated in the qualifying rounds, with some 600 students competing in the finals at Great Meadow in The Plains, Va. A team from Newark Memorial High School in Newark, Calif., took first place, beating out 99 other squads with a near-perfect score.
Participants also had the opportunity to see a "real" NASA rocket launch as a 1:100 scale model of the Ares I crew launch vehicle took to the skies. The full-size Ares I, being developed by the Exploration Launch Projects Office at the Marshall Center, will launch NASA's Orion spacecraft and its crew of astronauts to space no later than 2015.
It was the fifth year of the Challenge, which Aerospace Industries Association runs with the National Association of Rocketry. Along with NASA, sponsors include the U.S. Department of Defense, the American Association of Physics Teachers and 38 member companies of the Aerospace Industries Association.
The NASA Student Launch Initiative is managed by the Marshall Center with support from the Huntsville Area Rocketry Association in Huntsville, Ala.
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