MILLERSTOWN - The Greenwood Rocket Team at Greenwood Middle/High School will compete in the national finals of the world's largest rocket contest after qualifying among the top 100 teams in April.
The team beat the scores of 678 other participating teams from across the country, according to a press release from the school. The team qualifies to compete in the final fly-off of the Team America Rocketry Challenge on May 12 near Washington, D.C.
The contest asks students to design and build a rocket that will climb to 800 feet and stay aloft for between 43 and 47 seconds using a parachute. Teams also must transport two raw eggs in the rocket and return them unbroken.
Submitted photo by JONATHAN EVERETT
Greenwood High School students launch a rocket that they designed. At the launch are, from left, Doug Rumbaugh, Brittni Linn, Tristen Rumbaugh, Kate VanHorn, Tommy Strong and Samantha Strong.
Students compete for $60,000 in prizes and scholarships. The winning team will earn the chance to attend the International Air Show in Paris, France.
The Greenwood students are participating for the first time in the competition. Science teacher Jonathan Everett formed the team in June 2011 after winning a grant from the NASA's Summer of Innovation program worth $2,500.
The grant focused on eighth- and ninth-grade S.T.E.M. projects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
Everett used the grant money to enter the TARC Challenge, purchase supplies, and fund the practice rocket launches.
The team of students in grades 8-12 worked on the challenge from August to February, collectively completing more than 280 hours on the project and launching 27 rockets. The students will continue to fine tune the rocket in preparation for the finals in May.
The Aerospace Industries Association sponsors the contest with the National Association of Rocketry, NASA, the U.S. Department of Defense, the American Association of Physics Teachers and AIA member companies.
"TARC is a great way for students to get real aerospace engineering experience, and it's also a lot of fun," said Marion Blakey, president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association. "We are delighted that Greenwood Middle/High School has joined this important effort."
TARC is aimed at attracting students to science, math and technology education and ultimately careers in the aerospace industry. With nearly 60 percent of the aerospace workforce older than the age of 50, AIA and other industry leaders hope to spark the interest of future aerospace engineers with programs like TARC.