Contestants (ages 10 to 18) in the 13th annual Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition (www.RocketCompetition.com) built and launched their own solid-fuel powered rocket at an event held in their area. Over 2,000 kids were involved in local competitions held by schools, scout troops, youth centers, museums, and rocket clubs across the country in this year long event.
The competition promotes STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) education and is run in memory of Christa McAuliffe, the first Teacher-in-Space. When all results were totaled the 13th Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition National Winners (in alphabetical order) were – Adam Chernetsky (13), Dale Cournoyer (14), Emmanuel Florentino (12), Keegan Gater (12), Shea Marsh (11) and Abriyel Opoku (10).
The national winners celebrated at Space Camp / U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Rocket City, Huntsville, Alabama. The winners were presented a Space Shuttle Challenger commemorative medal with certificate signed by Astronaut Jon McBride. Captain McBride piloted the Challenger on her early missions. As part of the celebration the winners got to launch their rockets from Homer Hickam Launch Pad under an “October Sky”. Homer Hickam is a retired NASA engineer and author (Rocket Boys / October Sky) and is a strong supporter of the Reach For The Stars ~ National Rocket Competition.
Representing the National Space Society were Ronnie Lajoie, Chair of the NSS Membership Committee, and Robin Scott, HAL5 (NSS Huntsville Chapter). They presented the winners and their teachers with certificates of achievement and an honorary membership.
Above: Jack & Kathy Colpas, RFTS co-founders with RFTS National Winners Adam Chernetsky, Dale Cournoyer, and Emmanuel Florentino at the U. S. Space & Rocket Center.
Top photo: Jack Colpas, RFTS co-founder / Andrea Earl. Teacher / Hal Garrett, teacher / Emmanuel Florentino, RFTS National Winner / John Hackey, Duke Energy / Tina Hackey, teacher / Dale Cournoyer, RFTS National Winner / Adam Chernetsky, RFTS National Winner / Vince Huegele, NAR / Robin Scott, NSS / Ronnie Lajoie, NSS / Kathy Colpas, RFTS co-founder at the U. S. Space & Rocket Center.
Photos by G. Alan Lowrey, AIAA