Skies across the country are about to fill with the whoosh of model rockets as student teams vie for a coveted spot in the finals of the Team America Rocketry Contest.

A total of 712 teams from 49 states and the District of Columbia — and even an American middle school in Germany — are taking part in the competition, the largest model rocket showcase on the planet.

Teams of middle and high school students registered for the contest in November and have until April 11 to prove they have qualified for the final. That’s a task much easier said than done — they must design and build the rocket and boost it and its payload aloft for exactly 60 seconds before safely returning to earth.

That payload — one or two raw eggs.

The public is invited to view the finals of the competition, scheduled for May 21 at the Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia. The top 100 teams based on qualifying score compete live against one another during the final. They will learn whether they made it April 14.

AIA is sponsoring the contest along with the National Rocketry Association partnered with NASA and AIA member companies. For more information on the contest visit the Internet side at

Founded in 1919, the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) is the premier trade association representing the nation’s manufacturers of commercial, military and business aircraft, helicopters, aircraft engines, missiles, spacecraft, materiels, and related components and equipment.