Universities across the United States have spent months designing and constructing their Alka-Rocket in hopes of becoming a finalist in the Bayer Alka-Rocket challenge. For five university teams their dreams have now become a reality as they will compete at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for a chance to win $30,000 and be the new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title holder for the Highest launch of an Alka-Rocket.* 

The five finalists are:

  • Brigham Young University
  • California Polytechnic State University 
  • Texas Tech University
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Minnesota

The Challenge, which will take place on December 12, is an out-of-this-world competition to design and launch an Alka-Rocket in an attempt to break the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title of 430 feet, set during last year’s competition by the University of Minnesota. 

Four of the five finalist teams were selected by a panel of distinguished judges based on the design, execution and creativity of their Alka-Rockets. The fifth finalist, Texas Tech University, earned their spot through a popular vote on Facebook, where thousands of people voted on the teams. 

“The ingenuity and effort of the teams were clearly present in both their design strategies and launch operations,” said Dr. Mae Jemison, former NASA astronaut and the first woman of color in space. “This year’s Alka-Rocket Challenge represents some of the country’s most promising college engineering talent. We certainly look forward to meeting them in December and seeing which school takes the title and perhaps breaks the world record.”

The internationally recognized panel of judges that reviewed and selected the finalists will help judge the event, and GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS will name the winning team and new record holder. In addition to Dr. Jemison, the judges are John Hochheimer, President of the National Association of Rocketry, and Cliff Ransom, Executive Editor of Scientific American Custom Media.

Bayer created the Challenge to generate greater awareness about the country’s need for more scientists, engineers and innovators. These fields form the foundations of the modern world, fostering the innovation, economic competitiveness and national security necessary to succeed in the next century. The annual competition is an exciting addition to Bayer’s longstanding commitment to science literacy and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education. 

“The Alka-Rocket Challenge is another great way for Bayer to engage our next generation of scientists and innovators, while underscoring the importance of science literacy and STEM education,” said Ray Kerins, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Bayer. “It’s also a great way to show how fun and engaging science can be.”  

An Alka-Rocket is a model rocket often built using a 35mm canister and propelled by the chemical reaction that occurs when effervescent tablets are mixed with water. Often used in American science classes to demonstrate principles of chemistry and physics, Alka-Rockets are a staple experiment in Bayer’s Making Science Make Sense® (MSMS) award-winning science literacy initiative. 

*The official title recognized and recorded by GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS is the Highest launch of an effervescent tablet rocket.

Bayer: Science For A Better Life

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2017, the Group employed around 99,800 people and had sales of EUR 35.0 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.4 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.5 billion. For more information, go to www.bayer.us.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex brings to life the epic story of the U.S. space program, offering a full day or more of fun, inspiration and educational activities, including the new Astronaut Training Experience®, which opened in February 2018, as well as Heroes & Legends, featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®, presented by Boeing, the Kennedy Space Center Tour featuring the Apollo/Saturn V Center with an actual Saturn V moon rocket, Space Shuttle Atlantis®, Shuttle Launch Experience®, IMAX® A Beautiful Planet 3D and Journey To Space 3D films, Astronaut Encounter, Journey To Mars: Explorers Wanted, Science on a Sphere®, Rocket Garden, and Cosmic Quest.  Only 45 minutes from Orlando, Fla., Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opens daily at 9 a.m. with closing times varying by season. Admission is $57 + tax for adults and $47 + tax for children ages 3 – 11. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers annual passes starting at $82 + tax for adults and $67 + tax for children ages 3 – 11. For more information, call 877-313-2610 or visit https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com.

Twitter: @ExploreSpaceKSC  
Facebook: facebook.com/KennedySpaceCenterVisitorComplex  


Carolyn Nagle 
Bayer U.S. 
Email: carolyn.bender@bayer.com  
Office: 862-404-5955
Mobile: 201-419-0337

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