Two teams from St. Croix STEM Academy are one of 100 national finalists in The American Rocketry Challenge, a release issued Thursday has made known. The students will compete against other teams at the National Finals, taking place in mid-June at regional launch sites across the U.S.
In addition to competing for the title of national champion, teams will be competing for $100,000 in prizes. The competition is returning in 2021 after a year hiatus due to COVID-19.
According to the release, the St. Croix team is being advised by Steve Bullock. The contest involves more than 5,000 students and more than 600 teams submitting scores. Teams from 27 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands are represented among the finalists. This year's rules require teams to design, build and launch a model rocket that carries one raw egg to three different altitude and time goals: 800 feet within 40 to 43 seconds for their qualifying flights, and then 775 feet within 39 to 42 seconds and 825 feet within 41 to 44 seconds at the National Finals- all with the rocket and egg returning to the ground intact.
The American Rocketry Challenge is the Aerospace Industry Association’s flagship program designed to encourage students to pursue study and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In addition to the impressive task of launching a rocket 800 feet into the air, teams competing in 2021 had to overcome new obstacles created by the pandemic, the release stated. From Zoom practices, virtual launches and calculations, to new distancing protocols and procedures, the 2021 finalists are truly the cream of the crop of future engineers – and problem solvers.
AIA President and CEO Eric Fanning said, “In a year full of extraordinary challenges, teamwork and determination propelled these talented rocketeers to qualify for the National Finals. While the American Rocketry Challenge may look different this year, it continues to be a bright spark of inspiration for future STEM leaders and the aerospace and defense industry.”