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Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC - Amsat #31468

Martin Jensen
MSFC, Huntsville, Ala.                                          May 20, 
(Phone: 256/544-0034)

RELEASE: 04-149


A team of seventh and eighth-graders from Discovery Middle School in 
Madison, Ala., will compete in the world's largest model rocket contest 
Saturday, May 22, at Great Meadow Racetrack, The Plains, Va.

The Team America Rocketry Challenge, a national amateur rocket 
competition for high school and middle school students, is a partnership 
between NASA and Rocketry Challenge sponsors - the Aerospace Industries 
Association of America and the National Association of Rocketry.

The Discovery Middle School team is one of 100 teams - from a field of 
more than 600 middle and high school teams representing more than 7,000 
students - scheduled to participate in Saturday's competition.

Student teams were asked to design, build and test a model rocket that 
could reach an altitude as close to 1,250 feet as possible with a 
payload of two raw eggs, and then parachute the eggs back to the ground, 
unbroken. A contest-approved barometric altimeter must be flown inside 
the rocket to record the peak altitude of the rocket flight.

At the March 7 regional fly-off in Huntsville, the Discovery team's 
rocket reached an almost-perfect altitude of 1,240 feet and returned its 
payload to Earth unbroken. The 100 teams closest to the specified 
altitude were invited to participate in the final Rocketry Challenge 

"The students were really committed to the project, and I'm so proud of 
them," said Robin Dauman, an enrichment specialist at Discovery Middle 
School. "Of the 12 Alabama teams to qualify, our students were closest 
to the altitude requirement, and the only state team that will be in the 
national competition."

Dauman worked with 11 students who signed on to the project and 
committed to the fly-off trial. Six of those students will participate 
in the Virginia competition. The team consists of eighth-graders Arik 
Schwartz, Patrick Sanders, Cobb Brandon, Karthik Sola, Ajesh Khajinow, 
and seventh-grader Jonathan McCoy.

Charles Pierce, a NASA liquid propulsion engineer at the Marshall Space 
Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., serves as the team's advisor and 
mentor. He is president of the Huntsville Area Rocketry Association, 
which has supported regional rocketry teams participating in the 
Challenge by providing mentors and certifying results for Rocketry 
Challenge sponsors.

The 25 top-finishing teams in Saturday's competition will become 
eligible to submit proposals to participate in the 2004-2005 NASA 
Student Launch Initiative, an educational activity designed to motivate 
students toward careers in science, math and engineering, while giving 
them a taste of practical, hands-on aerospace work.

The program, based at the Marshall Center and now in its fourth year, 
seeks to inspire students to design, build and launch reusable rockets 
and real science payloads.

Three of those top-25 teams will then be selected to partner with the 
Marshall Center and will receive a grant of up to $2,500 and a travel 
allowance for up to 10 student and faculty representatives. Included 
will be meals, lodging and transportation to and from the launch 
activities in Huntsville. The three teams will also be invited to attend 
Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville.

"Every mission that NASA accepts requires the sharpest of minds, the 
strength of purpose and the drive to take on new challenges," said Jim 
Pruitt, manager of Marshall's Education Programs Department.  "Young 
people like those involved in Team America Rocketry Challenge will be 
needed in NASA's future missions.  Preparing our young people for the 
challenges ahead is important to fulfilling the Vision for Space 
Exploration, which calls for NASA to return humans to the Moon and lay 
the groundwork for exploration missions to Mars and beyond."

For more information on NASA Student Launch Initiative visit:


For more information on NASA education programs visit:


For more information on Team America Rocketry Challenge visit:


*On the Web:*

*News Release*



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