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Just days before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, the Farnborough International Air Show hosted a competition of its own--the International Rocketry Challenge. Reigning national champions from the Team America Rocketry Challenge, Madison West High School in Madison Wisconsin, competed with the national champion teams from the United Kingdom and France, placing second behind the French team from Lycee Louis Beriot.
Teams hand-designed, built and launched a rocket with the goal of hitting a precise altitude of 800 feet during a 43- to 47-second flight. The payload, two raw eggs, was required to return to the ground by parachute undamaged. Flights accounted for sixty percent of the total score and are scored based on flight time and altitude precision. The other forty percent of the score is based on students answering a series of questions from industry experts about rocketry design and aerospace engineering concepts.
The challenge provides student teams a realistic experience in designing a flying aerospace vehicle that meets a specified set of mission and performance requirements. Students have to work together in teams, just as aerospace engineers do. It is not intended to be easy, but it is challenges like these that fuel the innovation that drives the aerospace and defense industry.
Raytheon sponsored the Madison West High School team composed of Tashi Atruktsang, Suzanne Hanle, Meng Lou, and Hanwook Chung. Atruktsang was quick to point out the impact the TARC competition and International Challenge have had on his life, “This is life changing. I think this has significantly changed my career choice. Before I wanted to be a doctor, but for sure now I want to be an aeronautic engineer.”
An outgrowth of the Team America Rocketry Challenge, the international competition highlights the global aerospace and defense industry’s efforts to draw top-notch talent from today’s students. Marion C. Blakey, President and CEO of AIA, observed “The real winner today is our industry as the skills, teamwork, and ingenuity displayed by all three teams today is a great sign for the future workforce of the global aerospace and defense industry.”
AIA Source: anne.ward[at]aia-aerospace.org