Madison West High School of Madison, Wisconsin today took home the top
prize at the world’s largest student rocketry competition – The
Team America Rocketry Challenge.
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(Photo: Business Wire)
The students from Madison West will now represent the United States at
the International Rocketry Challenge at the Paris International Air Show
in June, facing off against teams from France, the UK, and Japan.
“This feels amazing – I didn’t expect us to win today,” said team
captain Jacob Mello. “We really didn’t know each other well at the
beginning of the year, but we became friends and pulled together as a
team. We encouraged each other, which really helped us today. There’s a
lot of pressure to keep up America’s winning streak in the international
competition, but we’re looking forward to it.”
Teams from Madison West now have won the Team America Rocketry Challenge
three times. This year’s team, consisting of Mazelie Passmore (14), Ella
Paulin (15), Ethan Lan (15), Rohan Yethiraj (15), Jacob Mello (15),
Lukas Weinhold (14), Alex Goff (14), and Nathan Wagner (15), posted a
combined score of 10 across their two launches. Persistence played a big
role in the team’s win, as they were still practice launching the week
of the contest.
The team’s victory follows months of preparation designing, building,
and testing a rocket capable of meeting rigorous mission parameters set
by the contest’s sponsors – the Aerospace
Industries Association (AIA), National
Association of Rocketry, and more than 20 industry sponsors. This
year’s rules celebrated the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 by requiring
each rocket to carry three eggs in a separate capsule to symbolize the
three astronauts that made the journey to the Moon and back.
The Top 101 teams, hailing from 25 states from Hawaii to New York,
competed for a total of $100,000 in prize money and scholarships at the
national finals – an all-day event held at Great Meadow in The Plains,
Va., outside of Washington, D.C. The $100,000 prize pool will be split
among the Top 10 teams, with Madison West taking home the top prize of
$20,000 as U.S. champions. In addition, the top twenty-five finishers
receive an invitation to participate in NASA’s Student Launch initiative
to continue their exploration of rocketry with high-powered rockets and
challenging mission parameters.
FAST FACTS ON THE ROCKETRY CHALLENGE:
830 teams from 46 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S.
Virgin Islands competed in the 2019 edition of the contest.
Since its inception in 2003, the contest has inspired more than 70,000
middle and high school students to explore education and careers in
science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields
Originally conceived as a celebration of a century of flight, the Team
America Rocketry Challenge has become AIA’s signature STEM initiative
and is supported by a broad array of aerospace and defense industry
companies – led by Diamond Sponsor Raytheon – who see the challenge as a
way to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists who will
power the industry.
“Apollo 11 showed what was scientifically possible through teamwork,
ingenuity and problem-solving skills,” said Raytheon Chairman and CEO
Tom Kennedy. “In their own way, the TARC competitors also learned this
valuable lesson. It’s a lesson they can use throughout their studies,
and in careers that have the promise to further push the bounds of
what’s possible in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”
“These kids are amazing. They leave no doubt that there’s a bright
future for our industry and our country,” said AIA President and CEO
Eric Fanning. “Providing students the opportunity to work with our
experts and an outlet for their talents is one of the most important
things we can do as an industry. We are rooting for every young woman
and man who competed as they pursue their passions for STEM, and look
forward to cheering on the first place team at the international
competition in Paris a few weeks from now.”