Enloe students win national rocket contest
Posted May 18, 2008 12:13 p.m. EDT
Updated May 18, 2008 4:07 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — A team from Enloe High School beat out approximately 7,000 other students from around the nation to take the top prize in the self-billed world's largest rocket contest.
The 10-member team took first prize in the finals of the Team America Rocketry Challenge, held Saturday on Great Meadow, a 250-acre field and steeplechase course outside Washington, D.C.
One hundred teams attempted to meet the challenge of flying a one-stage model rocket to an altitude of 750 feet, keeping it aloft for 45 seconds – and returning its payload of two raw eggs unbroken.
"We saw it go up, and it looked perfect, and it was ideal," Enloe team captain Levon Keusseyan said in a release on TARC's Web site.
Two other teams from North Carolina took part in the finals – a second team from Enloe and one from Trinity Christian Prep School in Charlotte. Enloe's second team placed 59th, and Trinity, 81st.
The winning Enloe team took home $5,000 in scholarships provided by Lockheed Martin. The top 10 teams also split a pool of $45,000 in other scholarships and prizes.
The students will compete against the winner of the British version of TARC at the Farnborough International Air Show, to be held outside London in July. Their trip will be paid for by Raytheon Company.
The team will also be among 25 invited to participate in the National Space and Aeronautic Administration's Student Launch Initiative, an educational program for middle- and high-school students.
The 100 finalists were selected from 643 teams comprised of approximately 7,000 middle- and high-school students from 43 states and Washington, D.C.
Teams began designing their rockets as far back as the fall and had until early April to complete trial runs of their inventions.
TARC was established in 2002 as a one-time celebration of Centennial of Flight, but has continued as an annual contest, designed to encourage students to study math and science and pursue careers in aerospace.
The contest is organized by the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry.