Sunday, May 15, 2011

Team America Rocket Contest 2011 - Updated with Pictures!

For the ninth straight year, I was a member of the volunteer range crew for TARC. The weather forecast was ugly, but except for some occasionaly light misting the rain stayed away during the contest itself.

100 teams from all over the country came to fly rockets and try to win a piece of the price pool. The winning team took top honors on the very last flight of the day, bumping the next two teams into a tie for second.

So, this year's challenge was to design and build a rocket that:

1. Flew as close as possible to 750', measured by an on-board altimeter.
2. Flew - from 1st motion to payload touchdown - between 40-45 seconds, under a 15" parachute.
3. Carried aloft and returned unbroken a raw egg.

The first place team will be going to the Paris Air Show, complements of Raytheon, to have a fly-off against the winners of the UK and French versions of the contest. All contests use the same rules each year. The first winning team of the Japanese contest were here this year. They were from Iwate High School, which is in the prefecture that got stomped by the earthquake and tsunami.

The first eight teams split a pool of scholarship money. The top twenty teams all get invites to NASA's Student Launch Initiative, which is like Team America, but with much larger rockets, much higher altitudes, and tougher objectives (not that Team America is easy!)

And the prizes just keep getting better and better. I didn't catch all the details, but one participant got a $5,000/year scholarship towards a four year degree from Raytheon. Yep, $20,000 towards college.

As usual, the kids were great, the rockets were cool and it was a great day. Reuters and Wired magazine were there, along with many local media.

It sounds corny, but there are many ways to love America. One way that I choose is to encourage kids to pursue careers in Science, Technoloy, Engineering and Math. TARC is only one vehicle to the future, and so far it's working beyond all expectations.

Links to pictures! YAY!

Photos from Steve Schowiak:

Photos from Glenn Feveyear:

Photos in fast-paced slide show format from Steve Schwartz:


Pratt Hobbies said...

it was great to see you there again, as we have every year. This may be the last time all three Pratts are in the TARC crew, since Valerie will be in college next year. We missed seeing Rachel, but it's good to hear that she's doing well. Nice to meet your son, too.