A year’s worth of work culminates this Saturday as the American Rocketry Challenge takes place outside of the nation’s Capital.
One hundred teams of middle and high school students from across the coast will go head to head for the title and the chance to compete internationally.
Eighth grader Vera Saylor is one of many students making the trip from the First Baptist Church of Manchester. To put this contest into context, she said, "It’s like the Super Bowl of rocket flying."
Two teams from the church: the “Secret Agent Pumas” and the “Purple Dragons” both qualified for the finals this year.
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Taylor Michaud is on her way to the finals for the second time, going previously as a freshman. She explained the process to us.
"We have to design, build and fly the rocket all by ourselves with no adult help," Michaud said.
Students must consider multiple factors in the building and launching process, including the weather.
"In colder weather, the rocket won’t go as high. In warmer weather, the rocket will go higher," Michaud said.
"The wind speed also determines how long the rocket takes to come down because the parachute will catch the wind and go very far," Saylor said.
The rockets are built, calculations are finished and now all that’s left is taking flight on the final competition day.
For more information on the American Rocketry Challenge, visit their website.