A team of students from Newport High School in Bellevue, Wash., made a strong showing at the International Rocketry Challenge outside London on Friday, finishing second behind Team Japan and besting teams from France and the United Kingdom.
The 10-student team earned the chance to compete at the event, held at the Farnborough International Airshow, after winning the American Rocketry Challenge in The Plains, Va., in May.
The competition features middle and high school students who are tasked with designing, building, and launching model rockets. The goal is to inspire students to pursue careers in aerospace and STEM.
The Newport High School team includes Arthur Gwozdz, Samuel Chen, Rita Liu, Rose Liu, Brandon Luo, Ethan Luo, Kavin Manivasagam, Vanu Rao, Shreyas Subramanian, and Minghan Sun.
Eric Fanning, president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association, said in a statement that he was “incredibly proud” of the Bellevue team. His organization oversees the American Rocketry Challenge.
“They garnered hands-on engineering experience and overcame countless technical challenges — just as the engineers throughout our industry do every day,” Fanning said.
As part of the challenge, teams were required to launch two raw hen eggs to 835 feet and return the payload to earth safely within 41 to 44 seconds. Students were also tasked with delivering a presentation about their rocket design and lessons learned to a panel of industry experts. Rocket flights were worth 60% of a team’s overall score and the presentation component was 40%.
The challenge returned after being cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Team Japan’s win was the country’s first ever title in the International Rocketry Challenge and it was the first time an all-girls team claimed the top prize.
Newport High School also produced the runner-up in the American competition this spring and several other Washington teams placed in the finals of that event.
“We’re excited to bring this type of focus to Bellevue and what our students can accomplish,” Jeremy Brown, a teacher advisor to the rocketry teams, told GeekWire in May. “This journey has been a wonderful learning experience for the students and reflects their dedication and love of science, and it’s been our privilege to help these students achieve their dreams.”