Local Student Rocket Engineers Soar to National Rocketry Competition Finals

A team of student rocket engineers from the Center for Advanced Technical Studies (The Center) has captured the attention of the nation by qualifying for the finals of the prestigious American Rocketry Challenge (ARC), the largest rocket contest globally.

On May 18th, the team, known as the RocCATS, will showcase their skills at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia. Emerging from a pool of nearly 5,000 participants nationwide, only the top 100 teams secure a spot in this highly anticipated event. The ARC presents teams with hands-on engineering challenges, tasking them with designing, constructing, and launching rockets with the goal of safely transporting a raw hen’s egg to specific altitudes and durations.

Impressing judges with a stellar score of 18 from two qualifying flights, achieving flawless timing, the RocCATS team members are brimming with excitement. “Meeting the precise requirements of altitude and flight duration with our handmade rockets while ensuring the safety of our egg payload was exhilarating,” shared Ethan Ellis, a senior member of the RocCATS.

The competition promises over $100,000 in prizes, including a grand prize of $20,000 for the winning team and a $1,000 award for their school. Furthermore, the champions will represent the United States at the esteemed International Rocketry Challenge in London this July.

Under the guidance of Dr. Martin Cwiakala, and with the invaluable assistance of Sherry Clapp and the expertise of Johnny Hoffman from the Rocketry of South Carolina (ROSCO) club, the RocCATS team has flourished. For further details about the team’s remarkable journey and the American Rocketry Challenge, interested individuals can visit rocketcontest.org and rocketrysouthcarolina.org.

Pictured from left to right – Ryan Riddle, Ethan Ellis, Hunter Majka, Jason Wu, and Emily Mullaley with their rocket. Photo by Martin Cwiakala

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