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The Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) is the world’s largest rocket contest and the aerospace industry’s flagship program designed to encourage students to study science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) and more than 20 aerospace industry partners, TARC provides middle and high school students the opportunity to design, build and launch model rockets in a competition among approximately 5,000 students nationwide each year.  Other partners providing support for the program include the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Defense, the American Association of Physics Teachers and The Mars Generation.

TARC was originally conceived as a one-time contest to celebrate the 100th anniversary of flight. After receiving hundreds of requests from students, teachers and parents, AIA and its partners decided to continue the program to challenge students year-in and year-out, with varying in performance specifications. Fifteen years later, TARC is still going strong.

A pool of over $100,000 in scholarships and prizes is shared by the top 10 teams. Raytheon Company sponsors the winning team to participate in an annual International Rocketry Challenge, which alternates each year between the Paris Air Show and the Farnborough International Airshow in London.

All events for the National Finals taking place May 12-13 are open to the media. In addition, please let us know if you are interested in attending a qualifying launch by participants in your area – we are happy to connect you with local teams! Below is an agenda for the 2016 competition. Please contact Lawrence Mason III for press inquiries or additional information.

September 2016 – April 2017: Qualifying rocket launches and score submissions (across the U.S.)

April 3, 2017: Qualifying flights due

April 7, 2017: Top 100 teams announced

May 12, 2017: Rockets on the Hill reception (Washington, D.C.)

May 13, 2017: TARC 2017 Final Fly-off at Great Meadow (The Plains, Va., 45 minutes outside of D.C.)

The TARC National Finals are held at Great Meadow, a 250-acre field events center and steeplechase course 45 miles from Washington, D.C. Get directions to Great Meadow.