Four teams of Spring Grove students heading to national rocketry competition
Spring Grove Area School District has four teams from its middle school and high school advancing to the national Team America Rocketry Challenge, the world’s largest rocket contest.
The students have been working to design their rockets for the past two years, according to faculty adviser Brian Hastings. Usually, the competition only gives students one year to design their rockets, but last year's competition was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The students were instructed to design a rocket that could contain a large chicken egg and launch into the air 800 feet and come back down in between 40-43 seconds. More than 600 teams competed, but only the top 100 qualified for the national finals, which will take place in June.
The last time the national competition was held, Hastings said, Spring Grove students placed ninth and won $5,000.
He said usually the top 10 teams receive prizes, but this year the competition is taking place at 11 different sites across the country to limit the event size because of the pandemic. The top team at each site will receive an award, as will the top five teams overall, he said.
The rockets are designed through computer programming, and while Hastings said he helps purchase the materials for the students and monitors their work for safety, the students are completely in charge of the design. He said several Spring Grove students who participated in the program went on to have careers in aerospace, engineering, medicine and biology.
"They are getting exposed to hands-on science very early," Hastings said.