Team America Rocketry Challenge

This past weekend, 100 teams competed in the Team America Rocketry Challenge, or TARC challenge, outside of Washington DC, in a place called The Plains, VA.  Included in the contest was the following team (watch their story here):

 

http://cnettv.cnet.com/av/video/cbsnews/atlantis2/cbsnews_player_embed.swf

 

Teams from all over the United States work on qualifying for the TARC contest, and each year the goals are slightly different.  However, for the most  part, student teams must build a high-powered rocket that reaches a certain altitude (this year’s height requirement was 750 feet), have a specific flight duration (this year’s duration was between 40 and 45 seconds), and safely carry two raw eggs inside the rocket.  One of the Einstein Fellows sponsored two different teams–one included his son back at his home school in Michigan, and the second team was a team of rural students from Hereford, Maryland.  Here is Hereford’s story:

 

Just qualifying for the national fly-off is difficult–only the top 100 teams earn a spot.  Walking around the field on launch day, which was this past Saturday, you saw teams full of excitement, nervousness, oh yeah, and spare model rocket parts.  Some teams dressed in colorful costumes and most had t-shirts specially made for the occasion.

  The day before, hopeful teams showed off their rockets in the Russell Senate Building, right next to the Capital.  What excited me most about the rockets and the students I saw was that most of the rockets just looked like rockets students made.  They were spray-painted and had different designs on them, but they weren’t high-end, fancy “student” rockets really built by adults.  No, they were student rockets (just REALLY good ones).

Students were proud of their work, and proud to have made it to Washington, DC.  Some teams came loaded in minivans, while others rented a bus to bring them.  It was hard to decide who you wanted to win, since each team had their own story, many of them like the stories above.  It’s hard to decide whose dream is better.  But the day came to an end, and it was summarized so “neatly” on a score chart for all to see.

Disqualifications, awesome flights, mess-ups, and all.  But regardless the outcome of yesterdays flights, the one thing that was undeniable was that some old dreams were reignited, team dreams were either encouraged or hampered, and new dreams were born.

 

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~ by alanotte on May 14, 2012.

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