Nearly 5,000 students across the country are gearing up for the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC), the world’s largest rocketry competition. 789 teams of secondary school students from all backgrounds are vying for 100 coveted spots in the TARC national finals held on Saturday, May 14, outside of Washington, D.C.

“Over its 13-year history, TARC has emerged as one of the aerospace industry’s premier youth outreach and education programs,” said AIA President and CEO, David F. Melcher. “We believe the skills students discover and build while participating in this program will propel them to pursue education and careers in STEM fields, specifically in the aerospace industry.”

To encourage ingenuity, every year participants are tasked with new and different design and flight parameters that are structured to emulate the aerospace industry’s design, engineering, and testing processes. This year, teams must place eggs perpendicularly to each other in the body of the rocket, requiring a wider rocket body and innovative egg protection solutions. The rocket must fly to 850 feet and return to Earth safely with its payload intact. The entire flight must last between 44 and 46 seconds.

The competition’s scoring parameters reflect its difficulty, with points given as deductions from the perfect flight. Rockets that fly exactly to the requirements receive perfect scores of zero. However, even a perfect flight is automatically disqualified if one of its egg payloads is cracked upon landing.

Sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), the National Association of Rocketry and more than 20 industry partners, the contest aims to increase student engagement with STEM. This year’s competition has attracted an especially diverse array of participants, including 43 all-girl teams, several teams who are using 3D printers to fabricate their rockets and a team of varsity athletes. The groups span the country, representing Alaska, the U.S. Virgin Islands and one school from Wisconsin where the team baked and sold 9,000 muffins to fund their rocketry program.

The nation’s top 100 teams will compete at the TARC National Finals for prizes and scholarships totaling more than $100,000. The winning team will travel to the Farnborough International Air Show in London, courtesy of the Raytheon Company, to compete in the International Rocketry Challenge with teams from France, the United Kingdom and Japan.

For more information about the Team America Rocketry Challenge, please visit TARC is made possible by the generous support of our industry sponsors listed below. If you represent a company or organization interested in becoming a TARC sponsor or partner, please contact us at

Diamond Sponsor: The Raytheon Company

Platinum Sponsors: Lockheed Martin Corporation, Thales USA, Inc.

Gold Sponsors: The Boeing Company, Elbit Systems of America

Silver Sponsors: Accenture, Aurora Flight Sciences, Click Bond, Inc., Computer Sciences Corporation, Cubic Corporation, Embraer Aircraft Holding, Inc., General Electric Aviation, Harris Corporation, Honeywell Aerospace, Iron Mountain, Kaman Aerospace Corporation, L3 Communications Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Pratt & Whitney, Rockwell Collins, Rolls Royce North America, Inc., Woodward Inc.