National Association of Rocketry
National Association of Rocketry
Educator's Newsletter
August 2016
In This Issue
Small NAR Logo
Fifty Years of Star Trek

This September science fiction (and science) fans will be celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the first episode of the TV show Star Trek. The voyage of this phenomenon continues with a new movie out this month, which I've seen and I think is very good. When Star Trek was just getting started in 1966 there were two other related activities already in place both of which were reaching a heyday, the space program itself and the hobby of model rocketry.  I remember vividly hearing "to boldly go," and "the Eagle has landed," from the same old box television that had my models sitting on it. All these elements were interconnected to drive each other and still do. But there's a difference with one of them.
You can watch Star Trek and read about the space program, but you and your students can actually build and launch your own rockets. We in NAR invite you to participate with us in the continuing adventure of exploration and discovery right in your own classroom.  This newsletter contains many links and ideas of how to teach your students to fly. As this school year begins, add rocketry to your lesson plans. It might make a memory that lasts fifty years.
If you'd like to view a nostalgic introduction to model rocketry where it intersects the Star Trek universe, go to  Model Rocketry - The Last Frontier,  Narrated by William Shatner.

Aim high! 

Vince Huegele
NAR Education Chairman
TARC logo
Team America Rocketry Challenge 2016 and 2017

Congratulations to Bellevue, Washington  Odle Middle School "Space Potatoes" Mikaela Ikeda, 12; Stephanie Han, 13; Srivatshan Sakthinarayanan, 14; Karl Deerkop, 14; and Larry Jing, 14 for representing the United States in the international competition and bring home first place!!
The International Rocketry Challenge is the culmination of three separate competitions held annually around the globe: the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the National Association of Rocketry (NAR); the United Kingdom Aerospace Youth Rocketry Challenge (UKAYRoC) sponsored by ADS, the UK Aerospace, Defense, Security and Space association; and the French Rocketry Challenge sponsored by Groupement des Industries Francaises Aeronautiques et Spatiales (GIFAS), the French aerospace industries association, and, for the first time, the Japanese Rocketry Challenge, sponsored by the Society of Japanese Aerospace Companies and the Japan Association of Rocketry. Each contest brings together teams of middle and high school students to design, build and launch model rockets with the goal of inspiring young minds to become engaged in science, technology, engineering and math.
The purpose of the Challenge is to teach students aerospace science and systems engineering by having them design and build a safe and stable model rocket that lifts a fragile payload to an exact altitude for a precise flight duration, at the end of which it must return this payload to earth safely and undamaged using a parachute as its recovery system.

An extra-curricular hands-on project-based learning program, the TARC competition is modeled around the aerospace industry's design, fabrication and testing processes.  All students participate in a team of 3-10 students to design, build, and fly a rocket. Like aerospace companies work within specific design parameters, every year the challenge requires teams to achieve the same basic mission-oriented goals of hitting a precise altitude, landing within a specific flight time window, and returning raw eggs without cracking. Each year a unique task is also included.  Check out the rules. 
The Challenge is open to the first 1000 teams that submit a completed application, including payment, postmarked between September 1 and December 2, 2016.
Key elements of the challenge are: 
  • Payload is one egg of 55 to 61 grams weight and a diameter of 45 millimeters or less
  • Altitude goal is 775 feet, duration goal is a range of 41 to 43 seconds for all qualification flights and for the first flight at the Finals; For those teams at the Finals invited to make a second flight based on their first-flight performance, the target duration for the second flight at that event will be 800 feet and 42 to 44 seconds
  • Gross weight at liftoff must not exceed 650 grams. Body tubes of two different diameters for their exterior structure must be used. The smaller-diameter of the two must be used for the lower (motor and fin) end of the rocket and must not be greater than 42 millimeters (1.65 inches, corresponding to body tubes generally called BT-60) in diameter, and the larger one must be large enough to contain the egg (which may be up to 45 millimeters) plus padding and altimeter. Each tube must have no less than 150 millimeters (5.91 inches) of exposed length, and the overall length of the rocket must be no less than 650 millimeters (25.6 inches) as measured from the lowest to the highest points of the airframe structure in launch configuration. 
  • Must be powered only by commercially-made model rocket motors of "F" or lower power class listed on the TARC Certified Engine List. Any number of motors may be used, but the motors used must not contain a combined total of more than 80 Newton-seconds of total impulse based on the total impulse ratings on the TARC list. 
  • The rocket must separate into at least two pieces for recovery, with one piece containing the egg payload and the altimeter and not the expended rocket motor. This piece must be recovered by a single parachute and must not be connected in any manner to the other piece or pieces of the rocket during recovery. The rest of the rocket may use any safe means of recovery.
  • All rockets flown at the Finals must have a surface finish with a different color or colors than the basic construction materials of the rocket applied over all or most of the outer surface of the rocket's nose, body, and fins by means such as paint, ink, adhesive wraps, etc.
  • No limit on the number of teams from any single school or organization, but no more than three teams containing students who attend the same school or who are members of the same organization, regardless of whether the teams are sponsored by the school or organization, can be invited to attend the Finals.
  • Selection for the Finals will be based on the sum of the best two of up to three qualification flight reports a team submits by April 3.
TARC gives students opportunities to apply their math and science skills to a real world project outside of the classroom.  For many students, this experience yields their first significant personal realization of how what they are learning in school is relevant to endeavors that are fun, challenging, and represent potential future career pathways.  Through TARC, students have discovered that they enjoy solving math and science problems in the context of resolving difficult and complex design issues.  Often TARC is also their first exposure to the aerospace industry.  They learn what aerospace engineers and skilled technical workers do and what it takes to become one of those professionals. 

Take the challenge!
Trip Barber ([email protected])
NAR TARC Manager 
Small NAR LogoNAR 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) 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 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). 
NAR Scholarship Winners 2016 ($2000)
*Michala Alexander, Pennsylvania State University, Security Risk Analysis
*Amanda Boadway, Ferris State University, Diagnostic Medical Sonography
*Zachary Coffee, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Aerospace Engineering
*Cheyenne Curling, College of William and Mary, Physics
*Madeline Emslie, Purdie University, Aerospace and Astronautical Engineering
*Karen Maurer, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Aerospace Engineering
*Magdalina Moses, Virginia Tech, Electrical Engineering and Mathematics
*Thomas Salverson, University of Alabama, Huntsville, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
*Natalie Shafer, Hagerstown Community College, Computer Science
*Rachel Shafer, Hagerstown Community College, Computer Science
*Jacob Staab, Washington University in St. Louis, Mechanical Engineering
NAR Scholarship Winners 2016 ($1000)
*Lydia Berger, University of Texas, Dallas, Audiology (major) and Neuroscience (minor)
*Silas Graff, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Aerospace Engineering
*Matthew Janecka, University of Texas, Austin, Aerospace Engineering
Robert Cannon Educator Grants 2016 ($500)
*John Benvenuti, Dr. John C. Page Elementary School, West Newbury, MA
*Kathleen Boyce, Lincoln Middle School, Syracuse, NY
*Allen Cox, Abraham Lincoln High School, Los Angeles, CA
*Michael O'Connell, Chester Area Middle School, Chester, SD
*Pamela Opolsky, Jefferson International Academy, Waterford, MI
*Susan Sakimoto, Riley High School, South Bend, IN
NAR Extracurricular Activity Grant 2016 ($500)
*Andrea Earl, Mendez Fundamental Intermediate School, Santa Ana, CA
*Sheila Greene, Chisholm Trail Middle School X-STEAM afterschool club, Rhome, TX
*Henry LeFever, Big Sky Science Education Enhancement, Billings, MT
*Mary Tester, Waccamaw Elementary, Pawleys Island, SC
The deadline for applying for scholarships, the Cannon award, and the EAG award  is June 1st of each year. Awards are presented at the NAR annual meet (NARAM) held in late July/early August. You do not need to be present to receive an award.
These programs are ongoing.  The NAR Board of Trustees funds these awards at the Winter board meeting.  If you have questions concerning either program, please contact Joyce Guzik, via email: [email protected] .
Small Satellites for Secondary Students
NAR sponsored TARC finalist entries in the Small Satellite for Secondary Schools program (S4), and offered prizes for the best entries. S4 helps fill an important link in NASA's educational pipeline between Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) and sounding rocket flights conducted by graduate students at research institutes. Through the S4 program, students and educators gain experience soldering and assembling payloads, building rockets, recording and analyzing scientific data.

*First: Newark Memorial High School team #1
*Second: Northview High School
*Best Flight: Newark Memorial High School team #3
Wallops Rocket Academy for Teachers and Students (WRATS) and RockOn! Programs
The WRATS workshop is intended for High School STEM teachers and familiarizes the participants with the physics of rocketry through interactive lectures and hands-on activities.

The workshop is hosted by the Sounding Rockets Program Office and NSROC with support from the Wallops Education Office. 2016 was the 5th year of the workshop with 20 teachers selected from over 80 applicants. Teachers came from as far away as New York state and as near as Accomack County, VA. 

WRATS offers a unique, in-depth, learning experience were 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.During the five day workshop teachers construct a model rocket and a payload and conduct a flight test of their system collecting data on pressure, acceleration and temperature during the flight. 

Additional activities include tours of Wallops Flight Facility and viewing of the RockOn sounding rocket launch on Wallops Island. More about WRATS
For the ninth year in a row the RockOn! student mission was flown successfully from Wallops Island, VA. The launch occured on Friday, June 24th at 06:06 EDT with over 200 excited students watching their experiments head for space.
Three types of experiments were included in the 2016 RockOn! flight: RockOn Workshop experiments, RockSat-C experiments and Cubes in Space.

Teams of three students and faculty work together to build, program and test a workshop experiment. The experiments include a microprocessor for data collection and a suite of sensor such as thermistors, pressure transducers, accelerometers, and geiger counters. Additionally a camera is located on one of the experiment boards. The workshop experience prepares students to participate in more advanced flight opportunities, such as RockSat-C and RockSat-X. A total of 73 students and faculty attended the RockOn! workshop in 2016.

RockSat-C experiments are more advanced and designed and constructed by the students. This year nine Colleges and Cubes-in-Space is a program for students age 11 to 18. One inch cubes with student designed experiments are flown in the nosecone of the rocket. Students and teachers submit a proposal for an experiment to the Cubes-in-Space program. The proposals are reviewed and 80 teams are selected for flight on the rocket.

In addition to the RockOn and RockSatC experiments this year's mission included 80 Cubes in Space experiments. Cubes in Space facilitates experiments built by students ages 11 - 14. 

Cubes-in-Space is a program for students age 11 to 18. One inch cubes with student designed experiments are flown in the nosecone of the rocket. Students and teachers submit a proposal for an experiment to the Cubes-in-Space program. 

RockOn workshop experiments are constructed the week before launch at Wallops Flight Facility. Students arrived on Friday, June 17th and started experiment construction on Saturday. All experiments were ready for integration into the payload by Monday afternoon. 

The RockOn/RockSat-C programs are a cooperative effort between the  Colorado   and Virginia Space Grant Consortia and NASA. The programs are designed for College level students and faculty.

The Terrier-Improved Orion rocket carrying the RockOn/RockSat-C experiments flew to an altitude of 115 km and was recovered off the coast of Virginia.

Interested? Check out RockOn!

   Civil Air Patrol  
Collectively, we can have a remarkable impact on a partnering national organization.  Take the time to contact a local Civil Air Patrol squadron  near you and Pay Forward!  You can find a local squadron by entering your zip code or city and state in the online unit locator found on the home page.  Each of these squadrons would welcome your insights and camaraderie!  Additionally, the Civil Air Patrol has an Advanced Rocketry Program (and Guide) for those folks who enjoy High Power Rocketry as well as Mid and Low Power...It's a great opportunity to share experiences and Pay Forward!
New Jersey Wing, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst
The NJ Wing of Civil Air Patrol is enjoying a "re-birth" in rocketry and Colonel Steven Tracy is leading the front!  Work with base partners at Lakehurst Naval Air Station, the New Jersey Wing has gained permission to launch once again lauch rockets near the area where the Hindenburg crashed.  No one has launched there since 1996!

Missouri Wing, Whiteman AFB
Lt Col Bill Sander is President of NAR section 770 and the Director for Aerospace Education for the Missouri Wing of the Civil Air Patrol.  They launch their rockets at Fort Leonard Wood-Gammon Field. For future high power launches, they will be working with the St. Louis Rocketry Association (SLRA), section 551  

4-H Uses Model Rocketry for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math  
Rocketry School Enrichment and After School Enrichment Programs  help students meet Pennsylvania Academic Standards in science. 4-H project books are available for Delaware County, Pennsylvania classroom teachers, home school families, and after school clubs to use with students.

Student STEM Competition Offers $100,000 Awards   
The Siemens Foundation has opened its annual Competition in Math, Science & Technology , with this year's program offering scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $100,000. Administered by the College Board , the competition calls on high school students to submit original research in technology, science, or math, either as individuals or in teams. Regional competitions will be held at six United States universities in November, with finalists competing in Washington, DC, in December.

The application period for the awards is open now. Applications are due Sept. 30. Additional details can be found on the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology site.

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring
Established by the White House in 1995, this Presidential award recognizes U.S. citizens, permanent residents and organizations that have demonstrated excellence in mentoring individuals from groups that are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and workforce. These STEM groups include women, people with disabilities, underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities, individuals from low socio-economic backgrounds and geographic regions like urban and rural areas. The
PAESMEM program is administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

National Coalition for Aviation and Space Education 
Check out the AIAA Educator Academy pages on the AIAA website to learn more about the curriculum and the instructors. Workshops are being set up around the country in local AIAA sections, so check the website to see where the next one will be located. Interested now? Why wait! We have webinars scheduled for educators to learn more about each program.  



NASA Adventures in Rocket Science Educator Guide

The "Adventures in Rocket Science Educator Guide" is available for download from the NASA website.


Education specialists from the Marshall Space Flight Center created this curriculum with members of the NAR. The material was tested in a workshop pairing NAR members in the MSFC area with informal educators from science centers, 4-H clubs, Girl Scout troops and after-school programs to introduce the groups to how to use the guidebook with students in informal settings. The Guide has activities for grades K-12 and serves as a program to progressively prepare students for participating in TARC.


Estes has an internationally recognized  curriculum for educators at  Additionally, they offer a newsletter  



Quest Aerospace has a great resource center for educators!  You can sign for special discounts and information a  Be sure to take a look at all their multimedia and graphics section for some inspiring ideas!



Apogee Components has an extensive educator's page and a remarkable newsletter archive  If you want to subscribe to their newsletter just look at the right hand column of the Educator's page and you will see the sign-up section.

Small NAR LogoNAR Offers Teachers and Youth Group Leaders Resources

Are you starting your rocketry program and aren't sure what rockets are right for your kids?  Contact your local NAR Section to help with your program.  Having worked with teachers, Section members can provide valuable advice about planning the time you have scheduled and purchasing rocket products tailored to your needs and launch site.  For instance, did you know it takes a typical 8th grade class about two days to build a rocket with balsa fins?  As you might expect, the age of your students and the size of your class are also factors in determining the right type of kit and the amount of time to complete it.  Indeed, based on the size of your launch site, a streamer recovery rocket (as opposed to a parachute recovery) might be a better option for your students as the chances for a successful return (and a chance for additional flights) would be greater.


In addition, The NAR offers Free Resource downloads produced by members who have helped teachers and youth group leaders like yourself all over the United States. 


Would you like to have a rocketry program at your school or know more about how to use rockets to teach math and science? Please take advantage of our field experience in educational rocketry by completing our survey. That signs you up for both our Email Educator Newsletter, and our free Rocketry Resource Portal You and your students will be "go for launch." 

Space History:  56 Years Ago


August 12, 1960:  NASA launched its first communications satellite, Echo 1.  Echo 1 rode to space on a Thor-Delta rocket from Vandenberg Air Force base, California.  The satellite transmitted a signal from President Dwight D. Eisenhower across the nation, demonstrating the feasibility of global communications via satellites.  Echo 1 was the largest and most visible satellite for it's time; however, it was quickly superseded by active-repeater communication satellites such as Telstar.


51 Years Ago


August 21-29, 1965:  NASA launched Gemini V on a Titan II rocket. Several records were set during this eight day orbital flight: the longest manned flight; largest amount of time in space; and a new altitude record fort an American spacecraft.  Astronaut Gordon Cooper was the first man to make a second orbital flight and, consequently, accumulated a record amount of spaceflight for one individual.


31 Years Ago

August 27, 1985: NASA launched space shuttle Discovery (STS-51I) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The shuttle deployed three communications satellites and retrieved, repaired and re-launched the TELSAT-1 Communications Satellite, Syncom IV-3. 

16 Years Ago

August 9, 2000: The European Space Agency launched the second pair of Cluster II mission satellites, named Rumba and Tango, aboard a Soyuz-Fregat rocket from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome. The Cluster mission used simultaneous measurements from four satellites to provide detailed analysis of the effects of solar wind on Earth's magnetic field. The mission is still in effect today and has resulted in around 1000 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals.

11 Years Ago


August 12, 2005: NASA launched the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla. aboard the first Atlas V rocket used for an interplanetary mission. The ongoing mission was to map the physical features of Mars, including its atmosphere and its subterranean layering


Small NAR LogoQuick Links...

Join Our Mailing List