National Association of Rocketry
National Association of Rocketry
Educator's Newsletter
February 2018
In This Issue
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Safety Is Always First

In a conversation I was having recently with an aerospace professional, I was talking about what model rocketry teaches students and she was telling me about what the new hires at her company are still having to learn. "Do you ever mention safety in your rocket classes? "she asked. "Constantly," I said. "The NAR safety code has served us for sixty years.  We follow it religiously not because of tradition, but because it keeps us all from getting hurt." "That's excellent," she said. "Our fresh outs come in with no sense of risk and precaution when entering hazardous workplace areas.  We have to give them extensive safety orientation training." At that moment I realized still another valuable lesson young rocketeers learn besides all the STEM. On the launch field, we embed a situational awareness to all participants to carefully follow instructions and watch what's happening out at the pad. This ensures all the rockets fly well and fly safely. Whether it's a big national program like TARC or a small class launch, we have all students "keep to the code." These students who have to follow the NAR safety code and learn the reasoning behind it will ultimately become the leaders of the future safety culture in the aerospace industry. Our motto lists rocketry education, safety and fun, but really we are all about safety first.
Aim High!
Vince Huegele
NAR Education Chairman
TARC logo 2018 Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) 

Registration for TARC 2018 is complete ! By this point you should have completed your initial TARC rocket and a test-flying.

The top 100 teams from among the 793 who have entered this year will meet in a final fly-off competition on May 12, 2018 at Great Meadow, The Plains, VA. These top 100 teams will be selected based on the duration and altitude scores reported from 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 2, 2018.  The NAR website provides  additional information

Outreach Contest
This is another reminder of this year's TARC Outreach Program. A 101st spot at the National Finals will be awarded to a team that submits qualifying scores of at least two valid launches but would otherwise not make the cutoff for the National Finals. The criteria and other details are here .  

NAR Support for Team America
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 that 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."  Find a current list of NAR Mentors  here .    
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 2018. They are enumerated in this list.

NAR Site Owner Insurance
TARC teams that need "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 which have at least three student team members who are members of the NAR. You can apply for site insurance using this printable form.

TARC Stars
Have alumni from your TARC program gone on to careers in aerospace or to do other cool things? We want to know! We are reviving the TARC Stars program to recognize outstanding TARC alumni. Advisors, simply fill out the information requested  here  for your chance to win a gift card to help buy rocketry supplies for your teams.

Most teams should now be in the design and build phase. A list of TARC Supporting Vendors is available  here.  Each has agreed to provide TARC specific discounts (the TARC handbook explains how to get the discount). As you decide upon and purchase your parts, take a look at their offerings to see if you can save your team some money.

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  here.

Each year we have teams who wait until right before the deadline and are unable to complete their qualification flights due to weather or other delays. You have up to three qualifications flight attempts, so leave yourself enough time to use them!

Remember, there are no extensions to the deadline for flying and reporting qualification flights. Plan ahead! As a reminder, students may not be added to a team after its first qualification flight.
NAR 4322 L3
TARC Manager
Small NAR Logo NAR Scholarship Program, Robert L. Cannon Award, and Extracurricular Activity Grant Awards
Did you know NAR members between the ages of 17 and 22 who are attending college or a vocational school may be eligible to receive a scholarship? Since 2010, we have awarded up to ten $500 Cannon awards and ten scholarships per year.
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.

The NAR Extracurricular Activity Grant (EAG), was 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 and SLI teams are not eligible for these awards. 

The deadline for applications is June 1st.  

These programs are ongoing.  For details on how to apply  look here .  If you have questions concerning either program, please contact  Joyce Guzik, via email:
Department of Defense's STARBASE Program 
The Department of Defense's STARBASE program focuses on elementary students, primarily fifth graders. The goal is to motivate them to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) as they continue their education. The academies serve students historically under-represented in STEM.  Students who live in inner cities or rural locations, those who are socio-economically disadvantaged, low in academic performance or have a disability are in the target group.  

The program engages students through the inquiry-based curriculum with its "hands-on, mind-on" experiential activities.  They study Newton's Laws and Bernoulli's principle; explore nanotechnology, navigation and mapping. They are captivated by engineering as they use the computer to design space stations, all-terrain vehicles, and submersibles.  Math is embedded throughout the curriculum and students use metric measurement, estimation, calculation geometry and data analysis to solve questions.  Teamwork is stressed as they work together to explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate concepts.
The military volunteers apply abstract principles  to real world situations by leading tours and giving lectures on the use of STEM in different settings and careers.  Since the academies are located in different branches of the military this experience is highly varied.  Students may discuss how chemical fires are extinguished, learn how injured are transported, explore the cockpit of an F-18 or the interior of a submarine.

The academies work with school districts to support their standards of learning objectives.  A teacher whose class attended  DoD STARBASE stated, "STARBASE teaches science and math in ways we wish we had the time, resources and expertise to do in the regular classroom.  It's experiential, exploratory learning with a direct tie to the standards." Find the STARBASE near you!
HoSmall NAR Logow to Build a Model Rocket  
NAR volunteers have produced 9 pages of excellent basic tutorial material on  how to build a model rocket and a 45-minute instructional video for rocketeers of all ages on all the steps and techniques involved in building and flying a basic model rocket other NAR volunteers have produced. This instructional video has been divided into six short segments of 4 to 9 minutes duration and posted online by the NAR's TARC partners, the Aerospace Industries Association on their YouTube site.

A sincere thanks to all!
Wallops Rocket Academy for Teachers and Students (WRATS)
A Wallops Rocketry Academy for Teachers and Students (WRATS) workshop is hosted by the Sounding Rockets Program Office and NSROC with support from the Wallops Education Office. 2017 was the 6th year of the workshop with 18 teachers selected from over 60 applicants. All participating educators teach STEM topics at the High School Level.

WRATS offers a unique, in-depth, learning experience where teachers not only get hands-on practice building rockets but are exposed to rocket physics through interactive lectures conducted by Office Chief Phil Eberspeaker. Topics such as aerodynamics, propulsion, recovery system design and trajectory simulations are covered in detailed presentations and then put into practice with rocket and payload construction activities. 

WRATS starts with overviews of the sounding rockets program and model rocketry, followed by construction of an E-powered model rocket. Tours of sounding rocket Testing and Evaluation facilities and a visit with the RockOn workshop students are also included. By the end of the first day all teachers have a flyable model rocket. 

On the second day teachers build an electronic payload to measure acceleration, temperature and pressure during flight. The payload is based on the Arduino microprocessor and inexpensive sensors. Recovery system design and construction are also completed.

Once all the construction activities are completed the models are launched and recovered at Wallops Flight Facility. Flight data is then plotted and analyzed. 

On Thursday the WRATS participants watched the launch of RockOn! on Wallops Island, one of the highlights of the week.

Contact  Linda Sherman to get information on the 2018 application process. Applications are not accepted until the spring.

The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project (VMMEPP) along with the Google Cultural Institute present the online Viking Mission Museum
Over 300 artifacts from The Viking Mars Missions Education & Preservation Project (VMMEPP) are available around the world via a partnership between VMMEPP and the Google Cultural Institute. Thanks to this new virtual exhibition, users will be able to see a complete set of the Viking Mission Bulletins that guided the public and press through mission preparation, launch and discoveries, a previously unpublished detailed specification for the Viking Meteorology Instrument, a unique White House document required for mission launch; a Lunar Orbiter document by the team that helped NASA Langley win the Viking Project Office, and many other treasures of the museum in just a few clicks at The Viking Mission Museum
Civil Air Patrol
Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Promotes and Supports Aerospace Education
CAP rocketry programs (for its own members and the general public) help prepare American citizens to meet the challenges of a sophisticated aerospace society and understand its related issues.

CAP offers national standards-based educational products, including a secondary textbook, Aerospace: The Journey of Flight, and the middle-school-level Aerospace Dimensions. Aerospace Education Members can get classroom materials and lessons plans from CAP. 

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 !  

The annual National Cadet Competition provides the opportunity for cadets around the country to come together and showcase their aerospace prowess gained through the Cadet Programs Aerospace Education by assembling and launching model rockets as an elective.  

Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) Teacher Handbook

The GEMS Teacher's Handbook is both an introduction to Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) and a clear explanation of the elements included in all GEMS guides available from the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley. For the teacher considering integrating GEMS into his or her curriculum for the first time, the handbook describes the philosophy behind the series, its alignment with the National Science Education Standards, its flexibility in diverse settings, and the structure of its teacher's guides. For all teachers, including those already familiar with GEMS, the book provides teaching strategies and tips that apply to all inquiry-based science and math activities.

The handbook includes concise discussions on numerous teaching concerns, including assessing student performance, integrating GEMS activities into established curricula, and strategies for obtaining materials. It also provides techniques for handling particular challenges, such as what to do when you, the teacher, don't know the answer, or when students arrive at "wrong" conclusions. Full-page charts summarize the major skills, concepts, themes, and mathematics strands addressed in each of the GEMS guides. Recent editions of the handbook feature "blueprints" for building year-long curricula using GEMS and other activity-based programs.

GEMS Teacher's Guides are clearly organized, easy to use, and do not require any special background in math or science. Each classroom session includes an overview, materials list, and preparation steps, followed by clear, step-by-step instructions for effective classroom presentation. Background information is provided for the teacher, along with photographs, illustrations, and, often, examples of student work. Throughout each guide are comments on presentation strategies and practical advice to help the teacher, many suggested by teachers who tested the units.

NEA Foundation DonorsChoose Organization

The NEA Foundation funds and supports educator-driven solutions to improve student performance. Through our work, we've learned that the best teaching ideas come from our greatest assets, educators. Teachers have great ideas to help their students learn more, but often lack the resources they need to bring these ideas to life. Last year, through our partnership with, we matched public donations to support 1,500 NEA member requests for classroom materials, reaching 120,000 public school students. This year, with your help, we hope to reach even more. Check it out! 


NASA Needs Educators for Microgravity Experience
NASA's Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program and the Teaching From Space Office are seeking applications for teams of K-12 educators to participate in the MicroGravity eXperience, or Micro GX, project. This project gives students and educators across the country the opportunity to work together on an experiment to be tested aboard a microgravity aircraft. This incredible opportunity is open to any current K-12 classroom educator in the United States. Educators must also be U.S. citizens.

Micro GX activities begin with students and educators developing and proposing a reduced-gravity experiment. Selected educator teams will receive online professional development on classroom resources for microgravity, collaboration with a NASA mentor and a reduced-gravity flight. With combined input from their students and mentor, educator teams will design and fabricate their experiments to be tested and evaluated aboard an aircraft that flies approximately 30 roller-coaster-like climbs and dips to produce periods of microgravity and hypergravity, ranging from almost zero gravity to 2 g.

For more information, visit or send an email to .

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Learn the basic concepts of Computer Science with drag and drop programming. This is a game-like, self-directed tutorial starring video lectures by Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies. Learn repeat-loops, conditionals, and basic algorithms. Available in 20 languages.

Space History:

31 January 1958: At  22:48 Eastern Time (February 1, 03:48 UTC) Explorer 1 boosted into orbit atop the first  Juno  booster from  LC-26  at the  Cape Canaveral Missile Annex , Florida. It was the first spacecraft to detect the  Van Allen radiation belt , [2]  returning data until its batteries were exhausted after nearly four months. It remained in orbit until 1970, and has been followed by more than 90 scientific spacecraft in the  Explorer series Explorer 1 was given  Satellite Catalog Number  4, and the  Harvard designation  1958 Alpha 1, [3]  the forerunner to the modern  International Designator .
8 February 1828 Jules Verne, author of science fiction novels such as From the Earth to the Moon, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues   Under the Sea, and Around the World in Eighty Days, is born.

February 20, 1962: John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth when NASA launched him into space aboard Friendship 7 on the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission. The purpose of the mission was to analyze the effects of space on the human body as Glenn completed three full orbits around the planet. 

February 18, 1977: Space Shuttle Enterprise completed its first flight test while attached to a Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. The Enterprise is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. 

February 25, 1982: NASA launched the Westar IV, a communications satellite for Western Union, using a Delta 160 launch vehicle.

February 5, 1987: The USSR launched the Soyuz TM-2 spacecraft, which connected to Russia's Mir Space Station. This mission marked the second expedition to Mir and lasted 174 days. 

February 23, 1992: NASA launched Navstar 2A-03 to establish the Global Positioning System (GPS), which is used by the military, industry and the general public for reliable navigation around the globe. The GPS uses 24 spacecraft: six satellites in each of the four orbit planes. 

February 11, 1997: NASA launched Space Shuttle Discovery to begin the STS-82 mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope for the second time. The crew members enhanced Hubble's capabilities by replacing two scientific instruments and upgrading other hardware. February 23, 1992: NASA launched Navstar 2A-03 to establish the Glbal Positioning System (GPS), which is used by the military, industry and the general public for reliable navigation around the globe. The GPS uses 24 spacecraft: six satellites in each of the four orbit planes.  
February 5, 2002: NASA launched the High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (HESSI) solar flare observatory, later renamed the Reuven Ramaty HESSI. This spacecraft is used to study the behavior of solar flares, including their energy release and particle acceleration.

February 1, 2003: Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during reentry  over East Texas at about 9 a.m. EST, 16 minutes prior to the  scheduled touchdown at Kennedy Space Center. Launched on 16  January  at 10:39 a.m. EST STS-107 was crewed by  Rick D. Husband, William C. McCool, Michael P.  Anderson, Kalpana Chawla, David M. Brown, Laurel B. S. Clark,  and Ilan Ramon (Israel).
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