Future ‘Rocket Scientists’ at Kealakehe HS Place in National Competition

Listen to this Article
2 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

Rocket Team 2 from Kealakehe High School. Courtesy photo

Rocket Team 2 from Kealakehe High School in Kailua-Kona placed 20th out of 101 teams at the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) on Saturday, May 18, 2019, in Plains, Virginia. The finish comes with an invitation to participate in NASA’s Student Launch program.

The team competed against 100 other middle and high school teams from across the country.

The TARC, which this year honored the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, required a team to launch a rocket carrying three raw eggs that must reach an altitude of 856 feet before separating and returning—with eggs uncracked—to Earth. All this happened within 43 and 46 seconds, and with strict height and weight requirements.


For round two at Saturday’s finals, the height requirement was lowered, forcing teams to adjust their measurements and launch calculations.

Kealakehe High School is being advised by Justin Brown.

Madison West High School of Madison, Wisconsin, took home the top prize at the world’s largest student rocketry competition –


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.


  • 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.”

Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments