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Arlington, Va. – To provide a meaningful science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) experience to students throughout the summer months, the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) announced a new partnership between the American Rocketry Challenge and Private Division, publishers of the hit astrophysics and aerospace simulation game, Kerbal Space Program.

This new partnership takes the American Rocketry Challenge online for the more than 5,000 middle and high school students from across the country who were registered to compete in this year’s competition. Interested students will receive free copies of the Kerbal Space Program game to compete in a new virtual contest, which challenges students to recreate one of our world’s crowning achievements: a crewed lunar landing and return.

In late July, teams will receive precise rules, which will require them to take on the role of an aerospace firm that has just been awarded a fixed-price contract to design, test, and fly their mission to the Moon. Teams will be judged based on their overall budget and efficiency, with $6,000 in cash prizes for the top three teams. After the competition, all students will be able to keep their copies of the game and keep exploring their passion for aerospace virtually.

“In a year full of the unexpected, our rocketeers have proven that they are up to any challenge. The American Rocketry Challenge may have been postponed this year, but that does not mean that learning, creativity, or fun should stop. This exciting new partnership will help students embrace the new reality of our virtual environment, keep their STEM skills sharp, and explore aerospace and physics from the safety of their homes this summer,” said Eric Fanning, AIA’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

For more information on the new partnership, read the American Rocketry Challenge’s latest blog post.


About the American Rocketry Challenge: The American Rocketry Challenge is the world’s largest rocket contest, with nearly 5,000 students nationwide competing annually. The contest provides students in 6th – 12th grades the opportunity to design, build, and launch model rockets and gain hands-on experience solving engineering problems. Sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Association of Rocketry, and more than twenty aerospace industry partners, including NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Department of Defense, the challenge is the aerospace industry’s flagship program designed to encourage students to study science, technology, engineering and math.

About the Aerospace Industries Association: For over 100 years, the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) has served as an advocate, resource, and convener to shape policy, shed light on the industry’s impact, and lay the groundwork for its future. CEO-level officers from across our more than 300 member companies guide these efforts, strengthening the industry’s ability to effectively support America’s national security and economy. Together, we advocate for effective federal investments; accelerated deployment of innovative technologies; policies that enhance our global competitiveness; and empower a capable and diverse 21st century workforce. For more information, visit

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Arlington, VA 22209-3928