The Reach for the Stars National Rocket Competition, which is affiliated with the National Space Society and Enterprise in Space Educational program, was on display at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Foundation Event “Generation STEM: Discovering Aerospace through Experience.” The event was held in conjunction with AIAA’s 2018 Space Forum and Regional Leadership Conference.

In the photo above, the 11th Reach for the Stars (RTFS) Rocket Competition National Winner Jessica Flowers (of Prairie Trace Elementary School, Carmel, Indiana) receives an annual National Space Society membership certificate from Robin Scott. RFTS founder, Jack Colpas officiates.

Held at the prestigious Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Florida, the students were treated in style, right down to a catered lunch of gourmet pizza, salad and freshly baked cookies. Guest speaker, Sarah Hiza, Ph.D. from Lockheed Martin spoke directly to the group. She shared that being excited about science when she was their age led to a career that she loved. Dr. Hiza told stories about the experiences and opportunities that her job provided.

The students were captivated by Dr. Hiza’s slide show which featured images of laboratories, satellites and rockets. One of the photos of a rocket launching prompted a student to ask what propellant was used. When she responded, “solid-fuel” the students responded with an audible “ooh!” and we smiled. The small rockets that the kids build and launch in the Reach for the Stars National Rocket Competition use a solid-fuel powered engine.

After lunch the kids visited a variety of booths to see what Generation STEM was all about. Representatives from Lockheed Martin Corporation, Ball Aerospace, University of Central Florida AIAA Student Branch, Mathnasium, YERU STEM Education, Unmanned Aircraft Systems Technology Club, AIAA Structural Dynamics Technical Committee, The Weiss School and the Reach for the Stars National Rocket Competition worked to spark interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education and careers.

Several AIAA Sections annually sponsor local RFTS competitions. National winners in the RFTS competition celebrate at Space Camp / U.S. Space & Rocket Center and are awarded a Space Shuttle Challenger commemorative medal. They also receive membership in the National Space Society (NSS) and certificates of achievement from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the National Association of Rocketry (NAR).


11th Reach for the Stars Rocket Competition National Winner Kyle Hughes (of Hockomock YMCA, North Attleboro, Massachusetts) receives congratulations from Brittani Searcy, AIAA greater Huntsville Section Council.


Reach for the Stars National Rocket Competition on display at the AIAA Generation STEM Conference.

 

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