National Association of Rocketry
National Association of Rocketry
Educator's Newsletter
August 2017
In This Issue
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Oh, You're The People That Do TARC!

Our NAR section is fortunate, on occasion, to be able to present a model rocketry display at a local science museum. The exhibit shows various types of our rockets, launchers, motors and payloads. Of course, the big models really attract attention and draw the crowds. Many of the people who enjoyed our booth knew about model rocketry, but few knew about the NAR or the role our section plays. Some thought we were a rocket vendor because we had rockets on the table. Others  had built rockets or had a family member who had launched them. Still others even knew about TARC, were considering participating, or had actually been on a TARC team and told us their launch story. One person, who was a teacher, said,"Oh, you're the people that do TARC," as NAR was a new entity for them.

We explained NAR is the organization of rocket people who can assist you with rocket projects, answer rocket questions, and support your launches so you can have fun and fly safely and successfully. We told them to please connect to our rocketeer network through their nearest NAR section and made sure they knew all our sections could be found at  

Recently, Craig Brooks and his wife Christina, members of the Birmingham Rocket Boys (Section 665), had just such an opportunity when Mike Wetzel from the
Holm Center Academic Affairs Directorate of  HQ Air Force JROTC (AFJROTC) asked them to travel to Montgomery Alabama and  provide an overview of the NAR during the AF JROTC Instructor Certificate Course ( JICC) and explain how the the NAR could support AFJROTC units interested in starting a rocket program at their school. They graciously accepted and, on the 17th of July, brought tables, a slide show through a laptop and small TV, multiple rockets (all sizes), and plenty of handouts, to the AFJROTC's JICC Expo Day.  As Mike said, "NAR could not have sent better representatives to speak about rocketry, Craig and Christina were swarmed by a large number of AFJROTC instructors. For over two hours Craig and Christina entertained every question asked; their exceptional knowledge of rocketry was evident in how they answered all the questions put to them. We can't thank the Birmingham Rockets Boys and their Community Outreach representatives, Craig and Christina Brooks, enough; they were instrumental in making this event a success!  We hope they can support us again next year; we certainly want them back!"  

We ask you to do what Craig and Christina did, since you already know we're the people who do TARC...And everything else with model rocketry!

Aim high! 

Vince Huegele
NAR Education Chairman
TARC logo
Team America Rocketry Challenge 2017 and 2018

The 10-student team from Festus High School in Festus, Mo., bested the world's best rocketry teams and took first place in the International Rocketry Challenge (IRC). Sponsored by The Raytheon Company, the team represented the United States against teams from the United Kingdom, France, and Japan in the IRC at the International Paris Air Show on June 22-23.

The Festus Rocket Club includes Grace Basler, 16; Ed Bohnert, 17; Cydney Breier, 18; Ryan Brown, 17; Christopher Carden, 18; Ashton Croft, 15; Joel Marler, 17; Rylie Martin, 17; Jacob Rozner, 18; and Timothy Ruesche, 17. As part of the IRC, teams were required to launch a raw hen's egg to 800 feet and return it to earth safely within 42-44 seconds. In addition to launch requirements, competing teams were also tasked with delivering a presentation explaining their rocket design to a distinguished panel of international aerospace experts, which accounted for 40 percent of their total score.
Festus High School placed in third place in the presentation component and took first place in the launch component. The Japanese team from Omiya Tech High School came in second, France's Coll├Ęge Blaise Pascal School came in third, and the U.K.'s Sweyn Park School came in fourth.

The International Rocketry Challenge is the culmination of four 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; the French Rocketry Challenge sponsored by Groupement des Industries Francaises Aeronautiques et Spatiales (GIFAS), the French aerospace industries association and Planete Sciences; and the Japanese Rocketry Challenge, sponsored by the Society of Japanese Aerospace Companies and the Japan Association of Rocketry.
Each challenge 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 STEM education and aerospace careers.

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 2018 Team America Rocketry Challenge is open to the first 1000 teams that submit a completed application, including payment, postmarked between September 1 and December 1, 2017.

Key elements of the challenge are:
  • Payload is two raw hen's eggs of 55 to 61 grams weight and a diameter of 45 millimeters or less.
  • Altitude goal is 800 feet, duration goal is a range of 41 to 43 seconds. 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 1 second less or 1 second more (determined by a coin toss at the student team pre-flight briefing at the Finals). The target altitude for the second flight at the event will be either 775 feet or 825 feet (determined by a coin toss at the student team pre-flight briefing at the Finals).
  • Gross weight at liftoff must not exceed 650 grams. Body tubes of two different diameters for the exterior structure must be used. The smaller-diameter of the two body tubes must be used for the upper (egg payload) end of the rocket and must not be greater than 57 millimeters (2.25 inches, corresponding to body tubes generally called BT-70) in diameter but must be large enough to contain eggs of up to 45 millimeters in diameter. The larger-diameter lower body tube must be at least 64 millimeters (2.52 inches) in diameter (body tubes commonly called BT-80 are 66 millimeters) and must contain the rocket motor. 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. Motors must be retained in the rocket during flight and at ejection by a positive mechanical means (clip, hook, screw-on cap, etc.) and not retained simply by friction fit in the motor mounting tube.
  • Every portion of the rocket must return to earth safely (at a velocity presenting no hazard) connected together using one or more parachutes as its recovery device.
  • Teams may use the electrical launch system and the launch pads (with six-foot long, 1-inch rails) provided by the event officials or may provide their own rail or tower system as long as it provides at least six feet of rigid guidance; however, launch rods will not be permitted to be used at 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 2.
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 the fun and challenging endeavors representative of potentially future career pathways.  Through TARC, students have discovered 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 (
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). 

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: .

Wallops Rocket Academy for Teachers and Students (WRATS) and RockOn! Programs
The Wallops Rocket Week includes the Wallops Rocketry Academy for Teachers and Students (WRATS) workshop. The 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.   More about WRATS
For the tenth year in a row the RockOn! student mission was flown successfully from Wallops Island, VA. The launch occured on Thursday, June 22nd at 05:30 EDT with over 200 excited students watching their experiments head for space.
Three types of experiments were included in the 2017 RockOn! flight: RockOn Workshop experiments, RockSat-C experiments and Cubes in Space.
RockOn workshop experiments are constructed the week before launch at Wallops Flight Facility. Students arrived on Friday, June 16th and started experiment construction on Saturday. All experiments were ready for integration into the payload by Monday afternoon.

Teams of three, with both students and faculty members, 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. 71 students and faculty attended the RockOn! workshop in 2017 and built 24 experiments. RockSat-C experiments are more advanced and designed and constructed by the students.  This year nine Colleges and Universities participated in RockSat-C with 65 students attending the launch on Wallops Island. 

For the tenth year in a row the RockOn! student mission was flown successfully from Wallops Island, VA. The launch occured on Thursday, June 22nd at 05:30 EDT with over 200 excited students watching their experiments head for space.
Three types of experiments were included in the 2017 RockOn! flight: RockOn Workshop experiments, RockSat-C experiments and Cubes in Space. 

RockOn workshop experiments are constructed the week before launch at Wallops Flight Facility. Students arrived on Friday, June 16th and started experiment construction on Saturday. All experiments were ready for integration into the payload by Monday afternoon.

Teams of three, with both students and faculty members, 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
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. Look here for more information about the RockOn! program.

Attention Wing Commander!
NAR is now a Partner with the Air Force JROTC

Another national organization is collaborating with NAR to get more young people into model rocketry. As of May 2017, NAR has signed a MOU with the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) to foster greater cooperation among NAR Sections and AFJROTC Squadrons to encourage joint rocketry activities.

The Air Force JROTC provides leadership training and an aerospace science program for high school students. Secondary school students who enroll in the AFJROTC program are offered a wide variety of curricular and extra-curricular activities. The program explores the historic and scientific aspects of aerospace technology and teaches high school students self-reliance, self-discipline and other characteristics found in good leaders. The AFJROTC program is open to 9th-12th grade students who are citizens of the United States. There are more than 121,000 high school cadets in the program and over 1,950 retired USAF instructors who lead, mentor, guide, and teach the cadets in high schools. AFJROTC enjoys overwhelming school administration and community support because of the huge positive impact on cadets, schools, communities, and our nation. The program is not a recruiting tool for the military services and those students who participate in AFJROTC do not incur any obligation to the Air Force, but the students do wear uniforms and follow military type protocol in their classes and activities.

AFJROTC cadets study many topics and have a thorough aerospace curriculum that includes launching rockets. They can work for and receive a Badge for fulfilling requirements given in their Rocketry Handbook. The Exploration of Space course complements the material taught in high school math, physics and other science-related courses.  STEM concepts are taught in the AFJROTC classroom and practiced in very popular and critical co-curricular activities with STEM tools like classroom Flight Simulators, Model Rockets, and Remote Controlled (RC) Aircraft that have been used for years to enrich the learning opportunities and provide immersive learning.  In 2014, AFJROTC added a fun and exciting STEM oriented activity by giving RC Multicopters (drones!) to a limited number of AFJROTC units.  These hands on teaching and learning tools are used to not only reinforce STEM learning objectives, but to enhance the program's Aerospace Science Curriculum.
How can NAR Sections assist AFJROTC with their rocketry program or help start and mentor a TARC team? Get to know your AFJROTC Unit Commander or their education officer and see how you might work together to promote model rocketry.  

To find your local unit, look here  and the search engine will generate a map with unit locations and contact information.  You can also do a simple web search to find the many AFJROTC rocket activities. ALternately, f or more information on AFJROTC, contact AFJROTC Headquarters, 60 West Maxwell Blvd., Maxwell AFB, AL 36112-6501; phone 1-334-953-7513,  online.

   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!  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!

Massachusetts Wing, Hanscom Air Force Base 
1st Lt Josh Bell coordinated the "Night Sky Partnership" with the National Park Service at the Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge with assistance from other cadets and senior members on Friday 14 July, from 9-10 pm (rain date was on the 15th). 
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 launch 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.  

On Monday, August 21, 2017,  the Moon will pass directly between the Earth and the Sun.  This solar eclipse will be visible from the continental United States; the last total solar eclipse visible from this part of the world happened over forty years ago.  Such a rare and spectacular event deserves some effort to go and see.  It takes some time to prepare to view a solar eclipse safely. To read more about the solar eclipse, take a look here.



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  




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
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.
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.

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. 

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. 

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.

August 5, 2010: Neil A. Armstrong turns 80 this year. Born in Wapakoneta, Ohio in 1930, Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon. He is credited with the famous quote: "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." 

August 22, 2010: Science fiction writer Ray Bradbury was born 100 years ago on this day in Waukegan, Ill. He wrote "The Martian Chronicles" published in 1949. Among his poems is one inspired by a trip to NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla. where he compared his tour of the Saturn hanger to "walking around inside Shakespeare's head."

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