The administrator of the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the original
“Rocket Boy” will present awards to the winning high school teams
in the “Team America Rocketry Challenge” May 10, 2003 at Great
Meadow, The Plains, Virginia. NASA administrator Sean O’Keefe, and
NASA Engineer and author Homer Hickam, whose book “Rocket Boys”
inspired the movie “October Sky,” will meet with students and
teachers from the top 100 high school teams that will be attempting
to launch model rockets carrying two raw eggs to 1500 feet.
Sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and the National
Rocketry Association, the model rocket contest is the first of its
kind and is open to junior high and high school students in the

AIA will present the five winning student teams a shared prize
pool of $59,000.

NASA has added additional prizes and another challenge to the
contest, offering the top ten teams the opportunity to participate
in the 2003-2004 NASA Student Launch Initiative. Three high school
teams will be chosen to partner with the NASA Marshall Space Flight
Center next year to design, build, and launch a reusable vehicle
and payload to an altitude of 5,280 feet. Each team will receive
a grant of up to $2,500 and a travel allowance for up to ten
students/ faculty representatives to rocket launch facilities in
Huntsville, Alabama. In addition, each of the top 25 teams’
schools will be invited to send one faculty member on an all
expenses paid trip to attend an advanced NASA rocketry workshop,
meet with NASA engineers, and tour the Marshall Space Flight

An orientation will be held at Great Meadow, The Plains,
Virginia, on September 28, from 8 to 11 a.m. for students, parents
and faculty to see model rocket demonstrations and learn more about
the Team America Rocketry Challenge. Astronaut Dr. Eugene Trinh of
the NASA Headquarters Office of Biological and Physical Research
NASA will speak about his experiences as an astronaut and the
education that equipped him to pursue that career.

Students, teachers, and parents are welcome to attend in groups
or individually. Interested participants should contact Nicole
Towle at 202-371-8428 or For more
information about AIA’s Team America Rocket Challenge, visit For more information on NASA Student Launch
Initiative, visit

Visit AIA’s homepage at