The global aerospace community focused on New Mexico as 149 teams from around participated in the Spaceport America Cup, the world’s largest intercollegiate rocket engineering conference and competition.

The University of Sydney took home the top prize and as 1,500 students from 22 countries gathered in southern New Mexico to launch rockets to specific altitudes (10,000; 20,000; 30,000 feet).

The Spaceport America Cup also included an announcement from Sierra Space. At the event, the company said it will work with Spaceport America in New Mexico to use that commercial spaceport as a potential future landing site for the company’s Dream Chaser vehicle. The company joins Virgin Galactic which (according to news reporters) plans to eventually conduct 400 suborbital tourism and research flights annually from Spaceport America.

The top aerospace companies participated in the event. They include Sierra Space, Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, Fiore, NASA, Kansas City National Security Campus and more.

“New Mexico’s long history of innovation in aerospace and defense has helped to pave the way for the state to host events like the Spaceport America Cup,” said Melinda Allen, President & CEO, New Mexico Partnership. “Spaceport America is the perfect place to host an event like this, giving these students the opportunity to launch out of a world-renowned Spaceport. Industry leaders like Sierra Space, being involved also gives these students a unique networking and career-building opportunity. We’re hoping to see many of these students back in the state working for one of our innovative aerospace companies.”

Spaceport America recently announced the winners from the June 21-25, 2022 event, including:

2022 Spaceport America Cup Award Winners

Winner: Team 81 from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, MA.
Runner-up: Team 8 from Brigham Young University, UT.

Nancy Squires Team Spirit Award
Winner: Team 125 from Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil.
Runner-up: Team 60 from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Charles Hoult Award for Modeling & Simulation
Winner: Team 26 from The University of Melbourne, Australia
Runner-up: Team 55 from Monash University, Australia

Dr. Gil Moore Award for Innovation
Winner: Team 119, University of Michigan – Dearborn
Runners-up: Team 34 from Chulalongkorn University from Thailand, Team 18, Cornell University, NY, and Team 57 from the University of Leeds, UK

Jim Furfaro Award for Technical Excellence
Winner: Team 89 from the University of Akron, OH
Runner-up: Team 139 from the University of Waterloo, Canada

James Barrowman Award for Flight Dynamics
Winner: Team 7, Boston University – difference of only 0.14% (14’) from their predicted apogee
Runner Up: Team 8, Brigham Young University – 0.17% (18’)

Chili Cup (Highest Score between University of New Mexico, New Mexico State, New Mexico Tech and UTEP)
Winner: Team 12, New Mexico State University
Runner up: Team 61, University of New Mexico

Winner: Team 14, Case Western Reserve University
Runner Up: Team 137, The Citadel

10K SRAD Solid
Winner: Team 65, Kent State University
Runner Up: Team 41, Iowa State University of Science and Technology

10K SRAD Hybrid/Liquid
Winner: Team 67, Polytechnique Montreal
Runner Up: Team 149, Wroclaw University of Science and Technology

Winner: Team 133, The University of Sydney
Runner Up: Team 60, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

30K SRAD Solid
Winner: Team 148, West Virginia University
Runner Up: Team 64, Oregon State University

30K SRAD Hybrid/Liquid
Winner: Team 134, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Runner Up: Team 27, ETH Zurich

Spaceport America Cup Winner
Winner: Team 133, The University of Sydney
Runner Up: Team 14, Case Western Reserve University

The students competed in six different categories:
10,000 ft above ground level apogee with commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) solid or hybrid rocket propulsion system
30,000 ft above ground level apogee with COTS solid or hybrid propulsion system
10,000 ft above ground level apogee with student researched and developed (SRAD) solid rocket propulsion system
30,000 ft above ground level apogee with SRAD solid rocket propulsion system
10,000 ft above ground level apogee with SRAD hybrid or liquid rocket propulsion system
30,000 ft above ground level apogee with SRAD hybrid or liquid rocket propulsion system

“This being a yearlong competition, the culmination is the Spaceport America Cup,” said Cliff Omstead, President, Experimental Sounding Rocket Association. “Not only do the teams come here to Las Cruces and meet at the convention center to show their rockets off and go through safety inspections, they go out to the vertical launch area, which is part of Spaceport America and launch their rocket. By having done that, they’ve achieved all of that year-long worth of effort.”

Spaceport America is the first purpose-built commercial spaceport in the world. The FAA-licensed launch complex, situated on 18,000 acres adjacent to the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico, has a rocket friendly environment of 6,000 square miles of restricted airspace, low population density, a 12,000-foot by 200-foot runway, vertical launch complexes, and about 340 days of sunshine and low humidity.

“New Mexico has some incredible competitive advantages for a spaceport,” said Scott McLaughlin, Executive Director, Spaceport America. “We have weather, we have wide-open spaces, we have restricted air space right next to White Sands Missile Range, we have a good workforce, we have partners across the state including the universities and the DOE laboratories, so it’s a great place for a spaceport.”

About the New Mexico Partnership
The New Mexico Partnership is an organization designated by the state to serve as the single-point-of-contact to help business locate to New Mexico. They offer a coordinated approach and a formal network of economic developers to simplify the site selection process by providing expertise on talent, critical infrastructure, educational and R&D institutions, real estate and facilities, incentives, and all the other factors that go into a business location decision.