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Future ‘Rocket Scientists’ at Kealakehe High School to Compete at National Level

May 10, 2019, 10:00 AM HST (Updated May 10, 2019, 9:18 AM)
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Kealakehe High School students are national finalists in the Team America Rocketry Challenge, May 2019. Courtesy photo.

Two teams from Kealakehe High School in Kailua-Kona are among the 101 national finalists in the Team America Rocketry Challenge, sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association.

The students will compete against other teams at the Team America Rocketry Challenge National Finals in Virginia on May 18, 2019. In addition to competing for a total of $100,000 in prizes, the winner of the national finals will advance to the International Rocketry Challenge at the Paris International Air Show in June against teams from the United Kingdom, France and Japan.

After four straight international championships, the United States looks to continue its international winning streak.

The top 20 finishers will earn a spot in next year’s NASA Student Launch competition.

Kealakehe High School students are national finalists in the Team America Rocketry Challenge, May 2019. Courtesy photo.

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The Big Island teams, advised by Justin Brown, are among 830 teams that entered the competition from 46 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The competition, which is honoring the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, requires a team to launch a rocket carrying three raw eggs that must reach an altitude of at least 856 feet before separating and returning to Earth uncracked—all within 43 and 46 seconds and with strict height and weight requirements.

Kealakehe High School students are national finalists in the Team America Rocketry Challenge, May 2019. Courtesy photo.

The Team America Rocketry Challenge is the aerospace and defense industry’s flagship program designed to encourage students to pursue study and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The competition challenges middle and high school students to design, build, and fly a rocket that meets rigorous altitude and flight duration parameters through a series of certified, qualifying launches.

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Now in its 17th year, the Team America Rocketry Challenge has inspired more than 70,000 middle and high school students to explore education and careers in STEM.

Sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), the National Association of Rocketry, and more than 20 industry partners, the Team America Rocketry Challenge is the world’s largest student rocket contest.

The Rocketry Challenge promotes friendly competition among teams from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities, and geographies—from frozen lakes in Alaska to major metropolitan areas. Numerous teams launched fundraising campaigns in their communities to make their participation this year possible.

AIA President and CEO Eric Fanning congratulated the finalists. “Qualifying for the national finals is a testament to the teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving skills that represent the very best of aerospace and defense. Each year, this contest inspires thousands of young women and men to consider careers in STEM fields. It presents a unique opportunity to motivate the next generation of leaders who will change the way we move, connect, and explore our world.”

Follow and support your local team on the road to national finals using the official hashtag: #TARC19.

For more information about the Team America Rocketry Challenge and to view the complete list of finalist teams, go online.

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