Texas students take first place in Team America Rocketry Challenge Finals

Winners best 99 teams from across the country to claim the national title and thousands of dollars in scholarships.

The Plains, Va. – Students from Georgetown 4-H of Georgetown, Texas launched themselves to a first place finish at the eleventh annual Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) finals Saturday afternoon, securing the title of national champions of the world’s largest student rocket contest.

Sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Association of Rocketry and more than 24 industry partners, TARC saw record turnout in 2013. Georgetown 4-H was one of 725 teams from 44 states that participated in this year’s contest. The three-person team of East View High School Junior Daniel Kelton and home-schooled brothers Matthew and Mark Janecka enjoyed meeting other teams and learning how they overcame design issues and protected their egg.

“TARC was a great experience,” said Daniel Kelton. “It really does help drive people towards STEM education.” All three students are planning careers in aerospace engineering.

In a 2010 survey of TARC alumni, nearly four out of five respondents said TARC had a positive impact on their planned course of study in an area relating to science, math or engineering.

“TARC has inspired thousands of bright young minds to expand their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics over the past 11 years,” said AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey. “The caliber of these students and the dedication they have shown here today are great indicators that the future of our industry is in good hands.”

Students worked tirelessly in the months leading up to the finals to design, build and launch a rocket carrying a payload of a horizontally-placed raw egg to an exact altitude of 750 feet. Keeping with tradition, this year’s rules were adjusted to increase the complexity and rigor of the challenge, requiring rockets to land within 48-50 seconds – a mere two-second window before teams were penalized.

The first place team logged a combined score of 29.24, in what was arguably the most competitive final fly-off in TARC’s history – a perfect score is zero. This score secured them the opportunity to travel to Paris to represent the United States in the international fly-off at the Paris Air Show on June 21. Raytheon has sponsored the winning team’s trip to the international fly-off since the program’s inception in 2005 as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to inspire student interest in math and science.

This year’s national finals participants competed for $60,000 in scholarships among other prizes. Lockheed Martin Corporation provides additional funding in scholarships and awards for the top ten placing teams at the finals.

For complete competition results and high-resolution images please contact rocketcontest@aia-aerospace.org.