The rocket wranglers

Georgia students to compete in international rocket challenge

The rocket wranglers

An all-girl rocketry team makes a final technical adjustment before launch at the national fly-off for Team America Rocketry Challenge.

As rocket makers go, these teens are one in 800.

A team of four high-school students from the northern Georgia community of Canton won the Team America Rocketry Challenge on Saturday, May 12.

The Creekview High School students beat 799 other rocketry teams from across the country, and will travel to London for the international fly-off at the 2018 Farnborough International Airshow in July. They will represent the U.S. against teams from France, Japan and the U.K.

“This has been an amazing journey,” said team captain Brayden Dodge, 18.

Each spring, high school teams from across the country gather in rural Virginia to compete for a chance to represent the U.S. at the International Rocketry Challenge. The 2018 rules required each rocket to carry two raw eggs 800 feet aloft and return them to Earth unbroken, all within a tight time frame of 41 to 43 seconds.

Joining a rocketry team can help students develop and hone their skills in science, engineering, technology and math – the subjects collectively known as STEM. In the U.S., only 33 percent of eighth-graders are at or above a proficient level in math, according to NationsReportCard.gov. A rocketry team can be a fun way to help inspire a career in a STEM field like engineering, jet propulsion or rocket science.

“This competition demonstrates to high school students across the country how they can solve difficult challenges by working together as a team and using their knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said Tom Kennedy, chairman and CEO of Raytheon, an event sponsor. “I am hopeful they will take these lessons with them as they become our next generation of engineers, scientists, technologists and mathematicians who will unlock incredible innovations to make the world a better place.”

Creekview High School rocketry team
The Creekview High School aeronautics team, with officials from Raytheon, the National Association of Rocketry and the Aerospace Industries Association, celebrates its win at the national fly-off competition in Plains, Virginia.

Over the past sixteen years of the Rocketry Challenge, more than 70,000 students have participated. This year, there were 12 all-girl teams competing at the national competition, with one third of the students participating being female. Now, all eyes will be to the sky at Farnborough to see whether the U.S. team will retain the world title for the fourth year in a row.

Last Updated: 05/16/2018