National Association of Rocketry
National Association of Rocketry
Educator's Newsletter
December 2015
In this Issue
The F=ma Awakens

Isn't it great to have a cultural entertainment event centered around STEM? Actually we don't, but the new Star Wars movie can be used to start a discussion about science. Ask your students what elements in the film demonstrate physical laws like Newton's and which are just impossible theatrical magic. It turns out most of the cool star warsy action can't really work (in this universe) but some can, and the point is to awaken your students to think about and search for the science they know. And after that, how do you build a flying model rocket of those spaceships you can launch yourself? We can't travel to a galaxy far, far away but we can build and fly real rockets that are fun and teach about the Force. And the Acceleration, Impulse, and Momentum.
Aim high!
Vince Huegele 
NAR Education Chairman
TARC logo 2016 Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) is underway

TARC is the world's largest rocket contest and is co-sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the National Association of Rocketry in partnership with AAPT, DoD, NASA, and AIA member companies.  Registration is open until December 4, 2015.

The first thirteen Team America Rocketry Challenges, held in 2003 through 2015, were the largest model rocket contests ever held. Co-sponsored by the NAR and the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), the thirteen events together attracted 8,955 high-school teams made up of a total of over 60,000 students from all 50 states. These students had a serious interest in learning about aerospace design and engineering through model rocketry. The top 100 teams each year came to a final fly-off competition in mid May near Washington, DC, to compete for $100,000 in prizes and a free trip to either the Paris or the Farnborough air show in Europe. These teams were selected based on the scores reported from qualification flights they conducted locally throughout the US. 

Are you ready to accept the challenge? 2016 Team America Rocketry Challenge registration is now open on our newly redesigned website, . Teams may register anytime between now and December 4, 2015.

The 2016 Challenge brings some new twists to the competition. Rockets must carry two raw eggs (one placed vertically and one placed horizontally) to 850 feet (measured by an onboard altimeter) and back safely in 44-46 seconds after liftoff. This is higher and faster than last year, so make sure you protect those eggs! For the first time we're also not specifying the required recovery mechanism, so get creative.  
The top 100 teams from among all those who have entered will  meet in a final flyoff competition on May 14, 2016 at Great Meadow, The Plains, VA.  These top 100 teams will be selected based on the sum of duration and altitude scores  reported from two local qualification flights that they conduct in front of an NAR Senior  (adult) member observer at their choice of time up until the flight deadline of April 4, 2016.  The top scoring teams in the first round of flights at the National Finals will face another challenge: new 825 foot and 43-45 second targets for a second round flight. This year is going to be tricky, but I know teams will once again deliver innovative solutions.

Team Outreach Program and Engineering Notebook Contest

This year TARC is offering two additional optional challenges for teams. The Team Outreach Program provides an opportunity to show off your team's work getting others involved with rocketry and STEM. The team with the best TARC Outreach Program score that submitted a valid set of qualifying flights (sorry DQs do not count) but did not make the top 100 teams by flight score will earn a spot to compete in the National Finals and will be eligible to compete for prize money just like all the other teams. We will also award a prize at the National Finals to the team with the best overall outreach program. Teams in the top 100 are eligible for this award too.

The Engineering Notebook Competition will award a plaque and a cash prize to the team that submits the best engineering notebook, as judged by a panel of engineers from TARC sponsor companies. The prize will be announced at the National Finals, but your team does not need to be a finalist to be eligible.


If you're on LinkedIn, consider joining the new  TARC Alumni Group .  Use the group to stay in touch with other TARC alumni and share what you're doing.  Once we reach a critical mass, we'll also invite recruiters from aerospace companies to join the group and post job and internship opportunities, so you don't want to miss out!


Feedback was so positive last year that we've decided to continue and expand the webinar series for this fall. 

NAR Support to Team America Rocketry Challenge

The NAR asks all of its Senior (adult) members and its Sections to take an active role in supporting TARC. This event offers a tremendously rewarding opportunity to teach rocketry skills to bright and enthusiastic young people and to "pay forward" to a new generation of rocketeers for the support we once received from others when we were starting out in the hobby. Please use the attached publicity handout to get the word out about TARC. Details of the duties of a mentor or flight observer are available in our 
Mentor Guide.

Mentors are adult (age 21 and above) members of the NAR who volunteer to serve as technical advisors and instructors or coaches to TARC teams. The role of the mentor is to get teams over the initial learning hump of mastering basic rocketry skills; they are not allowed to help teams with their final contest designs. Mentors may also serve as "qualification flight observers."
TARC team members can obtain  a current list of NAR Mentor volunteers.

If you want to volunteer as a NAR Mentor, contact NAR TARC Manager Trip Barber.

Qualification flight observers are adult members of the NAR who watch a team's official "qualification flight" attempt at a mutually convenient time and place sometime before March 30, 2015. The observer verifies that the flight is conducted within event rules and that the egg payload is uncracked after flight, serves as one of the two stopwatch-equipped timers for the flight, and then records the flight duration and altimeter-reported altitude post-flight. He or she signs the official flight-report form, which is then sent in to the AIA. Qualification flight observers are under no obligation to also serve as a mentor to a team, although they may do so. Observers must be impartial; they cannot be related to any member of the team they observe, be employed by the team's school, or be a member of the team's sponsoring non-profit organization. Impartial adults may join the NAR (online if desired) simply for the purpose of being an observer, if a team is not otherwise able to locate an NAR adult member.
NAR Sections help by listing all of their launches on the NAR  "Launch Windows"  web page and by providing free access to these launches and use of Section or personal launch equipment for any TARC team that needs to do a test or qualification flight. 
Only certain NAR-certified model rocket motors of total impulse class "F" and below are approved for flight use in TARC 2015. They are enumerated in  this list.

NAR Site Owner Insurance
TARC teams needing "site owner insurance" (insurance which protects the owner of the land used for a rocket launch) in order to gain access to a flying site for their local test and qualification flights may get this through the NAR, just like NAR Sections (clubs) can do. This insurance is available only for actual landowners (including schools and school boards), not for school officials who are concerned about personal liability. It is available for $15, but only to teams whose teacher supervisor is a member of the NAR, and have at least three student team members who are members of the NAR. You can apply for site insurance using  this printable form.

NAR will provide "narTcert" to any NAR member who is a professional classroom teacher with or without a science/math background, an educator teaching an after school program, a home school teacher or an informal educator with a youth organization. This means the opportunity is open to anyone who wants to teach rocketry on any level. The educator can be a total beginner or an experienced flyer, but both will have to undergo the certification process to be identified by NAR as being qualified to launch with students. Get started today by going to

Key dates to remember are: 

Feb. 1 - Complete first test flight (recommended) 
Mar. 1 - First TARC qualification flight recommended 
Mar. 4 - Your application for the TARC Outreach Program must be received by this date to receive consideration
No Later Than Apr. 4 - Make your final official qualification flight attempt in front of an NAR Senior member observer and s ubmit qualification form to AIA
Apr. 8 - Top 100 team selected
May 9 - National Finals at Great Meadow in The Plains, VA

The NAR website provides further information.   Also, there is a superb new teacher resource posted on the TARC website.  NAR member (and middle school teacher) Tom Sarradet built a complete STEM curriculum for middle school students based on using TARC, and posted it on this page.
NAR 4322 L3
TARC Manager
National Coalition for Aviation and Space Education

TARC wins NCASE Strickler Award
TARC has been named winner of the 2015 Dr. Mervin K. Strickler Jr. Aerospace Education Leadership Award by the National Coalition for Aviation and Space Education (NCASE). The award, established in 1995, is intended to recognize "the demonstration of outstanding accomplishment in the aerospace education field over a continuous period of time or the development of programs with a major national impact on aerospace education." We are proud to receive this prestigious honor.

Scholarships affiliated with NCASE can be found here.
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NAR Scholarship Program, Robert L. Cannon Award, and Extracurricular Activity Grant Awards

Did you know that if you are NAR member between the ages of 17 and 22 attending college or a vocational school that you may be eligible to receive a scholarship?
Are you a teacher or educator who uses model rocketry in the classroom?  You are welcome to apply for a $500 grant to use in your program.
In 2001, the  NAR's scholarship and  Robert L. Cannon educational awards were inaugurated.  Three NAR members received scholarships and two educators received Cannon awards.  Over the years the number of award winners have grown.  In 2015, a new program, the  NAR Extracurricular Activity Grant (EAG) is being initiated to provide up to ten $500 grants for after-school activities, such as rocket clubs, scout, Civil Air Patrol, 4-H, or NAR section programs involving model rocketry.  TARC teams are not eligible for these awards.  This year we awarded ten $2000 scholarships, six $1000 scholarships, six Cannon $500 grants, and one Extracurricular Activity Grant (EAG). 
The deadline for applying is June 1st.   These programs are ongoing. See   for details on how to apply. If you have questions concerning either program, please contact Joyce Guzik . Awards are announced at the annual meet (NARAM). You do not have to be present to receive an award.  
Other Scholarship Programs

Society of Women Engineers(SWE)
SWE Scholarships support women pursuing ABET-accredited baccalaureate or graduate programs in preparation for careers in engineering, engineering technology and computer science in the United States and Mexico. In 2015, SWE disbursed approximately 220 new and renewed scholarships valued at more than $660,000.

Great Minds in STEM (HENAAC)
HENAAC scholarship recipients continue to pave the way for future generations of Hispanics and lead by example to empower our communities and enhance our nation's professional technical workforce. Since its inception in 2001, the HENAAC Scholars Program has experienced tremendous growth. In 2008, through the generous support of our program sponsors, we passed the $1M milestone in scholarship awarded. In 2013, GMiS passed the $2M scholarship milestone.

The application deadline every year is APRIL 30.  The HENAAC Scholars Program offers three types of scholarships: Corporate/Government Sponsored Scholarships, Special Recognition Scholarships, and In Memoriam and Personal Tribute Scholarships

National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE) Scholarships
The society offers a variety of NSBE and Corporate-sponsored scholarship and award opportunities to our pre-college, collegiate undergraduate and graduate student, and technical professional members. Our scholarship packages range in value from $500 to $10,500. In addition to the scholarships, we also provide access to awards which acknowledge our highest achieving members, such as the Mike Shinn Distinguished Member of the Year (male and Female) Award with a cash award of $7,500, as well as the Alumni Member and Technologist of the Year. Each of these awardees also receive a Golden Torch Award from the organization.

Aerospace engineering  and aerospace technology scholarships from a variety of institutions and universities found here as well as here.

School Soup
SchoolSoup's research team has identified Aerospace Scholarships. is considered the authority on college/university scholarships and we have listed over $40 Billion in available scholarships. We take pride in having the most comprehensive free and up to date information available online.
Education Materials Finder
NASA's Education Materials Finder will help teachers locate resources that can be used in the classroom. Users may search by keywords, grade level, product type and subject. With hundreds of publications and Web sites indexed, the finder is the best way to locate NASA educational resources.  (

NASA scholarships can be found here.
Civil Air Patrol
Aerospace Library  
Dedicated to promoting and sharing Aviation, Air Force, CAP & NASA History, the folks at the Civil Air Patrol have put together a fantastic library of rocketry resources!  Check it out...( )!
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

Offering answers...
The AIAA has created an online venture called " Ask Polaris "
( to enlighten students, parents and especially guidance counselors of the possibilities and prospects of aerospace engineering

STEM K-12 Outreach
What is Aerospace Engineering?  Aerospace engineering is the branch of engineering focused on the design, construction, and testing of aircraft and spacecraft. It is broken into two major overlapping disciplines: aeronautical engineering (for vehicles that stay within Earth's atmosphere) and astronautical engineering (for vehicles that travel beyond Earth's atmosphere). Aerospace engineering applies the fascinating science behind the forces of nature and the physical properties of aircraft, rockets, and spacecraft.  Check out these STEM K-12 resources.

Scholarships  can be found here.
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National Association of Rocketry (NAR) offers Teachers and Youth Group Leaders Resources
The NAR offers Free Resource downloads ( produced by members who have helped teachers and youth group leaders like yourself all over the United States.
Rocketry School Supplies Provided by Donors
As teachers, you know your students' needs best. is available to provide an avenue for public school teachers to submit project requests for the specific materials their students need to learn.  As their name implies, donors choose which projects to support. Once a project is funded, they deliver the materials directly to the school. In return, teachers submit photos of the project in use and thank-you notes from students, which are then sent to the project's donors.

To learn more about our program and how to be a successful teacher see



Project Lead the Way (PLTW) expands to 3,400 K-12 schools

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) prepares students to be the most innovative and productive leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and to make meaningful, pioneering contributions to our world.  PLTW works with new schools and school districts to make sure that implementation of our rigorous curriculum is as smooth and streamlined as possible.  The information packets for our Engineering and Biomedical Sciences classes guide educators through the PLTW process.  They contain course descriptions, sign-up information, and other tips to make PLTW a success at your school.

Reach For The Stars National Winners
Contestants in the seventh annual competition had to build and launch a solid-fuel powered rocket at an event held in their area by schools, YMCAs, Scouts, Challenger Learning Centers and other youth groups. The closest average landing (by parachute) to a target after two launches was declared the winner, with the local winner's results entered into the national Competition. The annual competition runs continuously and is open to ages 10 to 18.


Author Homer Hickam and the original Rocket Boys have kicked off the eighth annual Reach for the Stars -- National Rocket Competition at the October Sky Festival in Beckley, West Virginia. Competitions are already being held across the country, and local competitions can be held anytime throughout the year with a deadline at the end of June. For more details about the competition go to


Engineering and Technology
The work of scientists and engineers impacts our daily life on so many levels, 
but sometimes it's hard to isolate just how those professionals contribute to programs we watch on television or items we see in stores. 4-H uses its Filmmaking Studio and Workshop and Robotics programs to help youth understand just how important an interest in science, engineering and mathematics is to advancing our society's access to new technology. The programs provide a unique opportunity to interact with the community through volunteer activities and avenues for the club to engage new mentors who are local industry experts.  Hopefully many of these kids will want to further explore STEM subjects with rocketry. 4-H is a partner with NAR and supports TARC with many teams.

This Month in History: 

66 Years Ago

December 2, 1949: The United States Air Force first fired the Aerobee research rocket (RTV-A-1a) at Holoman Air Force Base. 

56 Years Ago

December 10, 1959: U.S. Ambassador Lodge presented a resolution to the Assembly of the United Nations (U.N.) recommending that an international conference on the peaceful uses of outer space be convened within the next year or two. Two days later, the United Nations created a permanent 24-nation committee for this purpose. 

46 Years Ago

December 17, 1969: The U.S. Air Force closed its 22-year investigation into sightings of unidentified flying objects (UFOs), otherwise known as Project Blue Book. 

41 Years Ago

Dec 2, 1974: NASA's Pioneer 11 spacecraft flew by Jupiter, passing 26,725 miles above Jupiter's cloud top. The spacecraft returned dramatic images of Jupiter's famous Great Red Spot and determined the mass of Jupiter's moon, Callisto. 

31 Years Ago

December 27, 1984: Members of the ANSMET (Antarctic Search for Meteorites) Project discovered meteorite ALH 84001 in the Allen Hills region of Antarctica. ALH 84001 is the famous Mars meteorite that sparked excitement in 1996 about past life on Mars. 

26 Years Ago

December 26, 1989: A U.S. patent was awarded for the invention and construction method for the Miniature Traveling Wave Tube (TWT). This technology allowed satellites to carry a greater number of messages in a particular radio frequency signal, and resulted in commercial television applications. 

16 Years Ago

December 18, 1999: NASA launched Terra, a weather satellite project undertaken jointly with Japan and Canada, on an Atlas rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The 4,864 kg spacecraft was part of an international program and was intended to enable new research into the ways that Earth's lands, oceans, air, ice, and life function as a total system. 

6 Years Ago

December 14, 2009: NASA will  launch the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) aboard the Delta II 7320 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base between 6:10 - 6:23 a.m. PST. This mission will survey the entire sky in the mid-infrared range, producing over a million images from which hundreds of millions of astronomical objects will be cataloged using far greater sensitivity than any previous mission or program. 47 Years Ago
***'Tis the Season***



Looking for some great reference material for your classes?  How about history of sounding rockets? Or technical report?  Take a look at the NARTS website !


If your are searching for unusual shapes for your next rocket project, check out New Way Space Models


If your wanting something innovative and unique, check out one of the stand-off scale boost-gliders from dynasoarrocketry

Looking for all-round opportunities?    From easy to complex, there is a challenge waiting for you at, Aerospace Speciality Products, Rocketarium, Fliskits, EstesQuest, or Odd'l Rockets.



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