- Team America Rocketry Challenge
The Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) is an annual American
model rocketrycompetition for students in grades 7 to 12 sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Associationand the National Association of Rocketry. The competition began in 2003 as a way to mark the 100th anniversary of flight, but due to a high level of interest it became an annual occurrence. It fosters interest in aerospace engineering careers among the participants, and the national Fly-off in May is an opportunity for corporations, universities, and the armed services to attract students.
The goal of TARC is to design, build and launch a rocket that can safely carry one or two eggs and consistently come very close to a certain flight altitude and duration. Doing well involves good design, workmanship, and altitude prediction, which means that students can learn about
engineering, aerodynamics, meteorology, and computer simulation from the competition. For 2009, the target is 750 feet and 45 seconds for one egg carried horizontally; in 2008, the target was 750 feet and 45 seconds for two eggs; in 2007, the target was 850 feet and 45 seconds for one egg; in 2006, the first year in which the combination of flight duration and altitude was used, the target altitude was 800 feet. A team's score is the sum of the difference between their altitude and the target altitude and twice the difference between their duration and the target duration; the lower the score, the better. Many teams consistently achieve scores less than 10.
Over 7000 students on 690 teams participated in the competition in 2007; the teams with the top 100 qualifying scores submitted in April competed in the National Fly-off on
May 19, 2007at Great Meadowin The Plains, Virginia. The event receives local and national media coverage and has had several well-known attendees. The 2006 Fly-off was attended by Buzz Aldrinand NASAAssociate Administrator Rex Geveden. As the role of TARC as a means to replenish the aerospace industry workforce is increasingly emphasized, the 2007 competition featured several prominent figures. United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gatesgave a speech and gave out the awards to the top 10 teams; other attendees included Jay Apt, NASA Associate Administrator Scott Horowitz, Under Secretary of the Air Force Ron Segaand Aldrin, all former astronauts, along with other representatives from the Defense Department, NASA, and FAA. The winner of the UK Aerospace Youth Rocketry Challenge also made a demonstration launch. The winner receives a trip to the Paris Air Showprovided by Raytheon Corporation, the top 10 teams receive a share of $60,000 in scholarship money, and the top 25 teams are invited to submit a proposal for one of 15 spots in NASA's Student Launch Initiative (NASA is a government partner in the event). There are 35 awards awarded by the AIA member corporations in various categories.
* [http://rocketcontest.org Official website]
* [http://aia-aerospace.org/aianews/pr_detail.cfm?Content_ID=461 AIA Press Release - Students Vie For World's Largest Rocket Contest Title]
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