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Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) Announce National Finalists

West Texas Rocket Launch

April 21, 2014

Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) announced finalists who will travel to Washington D.C. in May for the national finals.

It is no easy task to get into the nationals, which is made up of teams who earn the top 100 scores out of more than 700 teams competing each year. For schools in West Texas, students, teachers, and TARC observers spend a great deal of time standing around in cotton fields and cow pastures watching students make test launches and problem solve to "dial in" their rockets.

The Team America Rocketry Challenge has very tight "windows" for the performance of high scoring rockets. For example, altitude targets include a maximum two-foot window to hit, or teams are penalized four times per foot for any altitude over or under this window. In addition, the rockets carry eggs—two eggs this year—and teams are automatically disqualified if an egg breaks.

Teams have three chances to make a qualifying score, and they must announce that they are attempting a qualifying flight BEFORE they launch.

In previous competition years, the top 20 winners from the TARC nationals were invited to submit proposals to participate in a NASA-sponsored exhibition called the Student Launch Initiative (SLI) at Marshall Space Center in Huntsville, Alabama. However, NASA cancelled SLI last year and, because of budget cuts, it is looking like SLI may not be reinstated.

The Texas Tech T-STEM Center has had as many as five teams, in a single year, represented in the top 20 national TARC teams that went on to participate in SLI, which speaks well of the professional development, curricular resources, and support to schools our rocketry program provides. This year, one of our Academies, Presidio High School and Lucy Reed Franco Middle School in Presidio have four teams that qualified for nationals. In addition, two Frenship High School rocketry teams from Wolfforth, who were mentored by Texas Tech T-STEM Center’s Dr. John Chandler, made it to nationals.

If you are interested in seeing the teams from Texas (or elsewhere) that made the TARC National Finals, or to learn more about the competition itself, please follow the links listed to the right.

 

Contributed by John Chandler, Director, Texas Tech T-STEM Center
and Debra Nash, Associate Director, Texas Tech T-STEM Center, Lubbock, TX