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The World’s Largest Student Rocket Contest

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to supervise or start a team! Getting started in The American Rocketry Challenge is simple, and we have plenty of resources to help you along the way.

About the Contest

The American Rocketry Challenge is the world’s largest rocket contest with nearly 5,000 students nationwide competing each year. The contest gives middle and high school students the opportunity to design, build and launch model rockets and hands-on experience solving engineering problems.

This year, teams of 3 to 10 students must build a model rocket that carries one raw hen egg to an altitude of 800ft, stays airborne for between 40 and 43 seconds, and returns the rocket to the ground safely.

The team that places first at the National Finals wins an all-expenses-paid trip to represent the United States in the International Rocketry Challenge, hosted at the Farnborough Air Show in London, England in July 2020. The United States Rocketry Team competes against the winning teams from Japan, the United Kingdom, and France.

Learn More about The American Rocketry Challenge

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Steps to Succeed

Step 1 – Assemble Your Team, Read the Rules, and Register

Make sure you have between 3 to 10 students and a supervising adult. Once you are all together review the rules, then go to and register your team! Need to print off the rules or a parent permission form? Check out the Documents and Forms page.

Step 2 – Reach Out to a Mentor

With nearly 500 mentors across the country in all 50 states, you don’t have to learn all about rocketry on your own. Click here to see the 2019 Mentor List and get in touch with a mentor near you. These rocketry experts have been working with teams for years and have the best tips and tricks to help you succeed.

Step 3 – Start Planning

Becoming national champions in rocketry doesn’t happen overnight, and if your team is going to be in the top 100, you’d better have a plan. There is a lot to consider, but we have some advice from our mentors and teams who have participated over the years.

  • Never built a rocket before? Buy a small kit rocket from a company like Estes Rocketry or any of our other official and supporting vendors.
  • Divide and conquer, and make sure each team member has a role to play and knows what their responsibilities are.
  • Make a budget for your team. A typical budget is between $500 and $1000, including your entry fee, one altimeter, and the parts for two rockets and over a dozen flights.
  • Make a timeline. Most teams have their initial rocket design completed before the holidays so they are ready to launch into the new year!

Need More Help?

We still have plenty of resources to make sure your team succeeds.

These are the top ten tips as given to us by teams and mentors over the years, and even one of the founders of the Rocketry Challenge! Once you’ve read the rules, these tips will make sure you’re on the right trajectory to succeed.

The handbook is made each year by the National Association of Rocketry, and covers everything from designing, building, and flying your rocket, all the way to a recommended timeline and even fundraising tips.

With everything from model rocketry resources, materials for educators, and even grant and financial information, there are even more tools to make sure your team succeeds.

  • Curious to know what you can win?

Take a look at the prizes and awards for The American Rocketry Challenge.

If you still have questions after checking out these resources, feel free to email our team at