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Team Will Compete in UK this Summer
May 17, 2008A team from Enloe High School in Raleigh, North Carolina, won the national Sixth Annual Team America Rocketry Challenge Saturday, beating out 99 rivals for the title. The 10-member team rose to the top of squads of middle and high school-aged students facing off in the final round of the world's largest rocket competition held today outside of Washington, D.C. "We saw it go up and it looked perfect and it was ideal," Enloe team Captain Levon Keusseyan said. The team logged a score of 23.94 to take the title. Each point represents a deviation from altitude and time aloft targets, so the lower the score, the better. Mulberry Grove (Illinois) High School took second place with a score of 29.88, while Kickapoo High School from Springfield, Missouri, placed third with a score of 30.54. The contest, sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry, is designed to encourage students to consider careers in aerospace, as almost 60 percent of the U.S. aerospace workforce is 45 or older, according to AIA statistics. The next stop for the winning team is a trip to the Farnborough International Airshow and a fly-off against the winners of the UK Aerospace Youth Rocketry Challenge from Horsforth Secondary School in Yorkshire. Raytheon Company, a major supporter of the competition, is sponsoring the teams trip as part of the TARC winners first prize package for the third year. In addition to a trip to London, the winners share a prize pool of more than $60,000 with other top finishers. Lockheed Martin Corporation will provide $5,000 scholarships to each of the top three teams, and the teams also will receive an invitation from NASA to participate in its Student Launch Initiative, an advanced rocketry program. Other sponsors include the Defense Department, the American Association of Physics Teachers and 34 AIA member companies. AIA President and CEO Marion Blakey said the contest was a great success in achieving its goal of attracting young people to consider careers in the aerospace field. "These middle and high school students showed their ability to take mathematics and physics concepts and apply them to the real world," Blakey said. "I applaud not only the winners, but every student who took part, and the teachers and mentors who helped along the way. This is an encouraging sign as the aerospace industry faces a looming workforce shortage." The rocket contest presented the top 100 teams from around the country with a dual challenge. They had to launch their rockets as close as possible to an altitude of 750 feet with a flight time of 45 seconds, while returning a payload of two raw eggs unbroken to the ground. About 7,000 middle and high school students on 643 teams from 43 states and the District of Columbia took part in the qualifying rounds of competition. Each team had until April 7 to submit qualifying scores, which were achieved by launching their rockets in their home region under the supervision of a judge from the National Association of Rocketry. 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 age and not enough qualified young Americans are available to take their place. 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. Members of the Enloe High School team are: Keusseyan, Alexander Viten, Julianne Schmitz, Zachariah Smith, Timothy Kijewski, Christopher Cox, A.J. Grant, James Cuffney, Francisco Cobo and Justin Bost. Their teacher/advisor is Bradley Bowen. Complete competition results are available at http://www.rocketcontest.org High.-resolution images and broadcast-quality video are also available upon request.