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Washington State Students Crowned National Champions In World's Largest Rocket Contest

Press Release From: Aerospace Industries Association
Posted: Saturday, May 14, 2022

The Plains, Va. – Newport High School Team 2 of Bellevue, WA today were crowned National Champion at the world’s largest student rocketry competition – the American Rocketry Challenge. Newport High School had the best score of 99 teams competing at the National Finals, which took place at Great Meadow in The Plains, VA. In total, 724 teams from 41 states competed in the 2022 American Rocketry Challenge. The students will now represent the United States at the International Rocketry Challenge taking place at the Farnborough Airshow outside London in July.

“We had our fair share of challenges, but we were determined to work through them, and that’s what made the difference for us in this competition,” team captain Arthur Gwozdz, 17, said. “Our advisors and mentors have supported us every step of the way. I am so proud of the team and what we have been able to accomplish.”

Newport High School has been competing in the American Rocketry Challenge since 2014. In addition to Gwozdz, members of the winning team include Samuel Chen, Rita Liu, Rose Liu, Brandon Luo, Ethan Luo, Kavin Manivasagam, Vanu Rao, Shreyas Subramanian, and Minghan Sun. First runner up in the National Finals competition was also a Newport High School team. 

“Congratulations to this year’s American Rocketry Challenge competitors and winners,” said Greg Hayes, Chairman and CEO of Raytheon Technologies. “It’s remarkable to see these high school students strategize, plan, build and adjust to uncontrollable variables to solve a complex challenge. We hope this experience inspires them to advance their learning and choose a career focused on solving the world’s most complex challenges.”

The team’s victory follows months of preparation designing, building, and testing a rocket capable of meeting rigorous mission parameters set by the contest’s sponsors – the Aerospace Industries Association(AIA), National Association of Rocketry, and more than 20 industry partners. To qualify for the National Finals, teams were required to build and launch a rocket that safely carries a payload of two raw eggs with a target flight duration of 41-44 seconds and altitude of 835 feet. At the National Finals, competing teams had to launch the rockets to 810 feet with a flight duration of 40-43 seconds in the first round of competition. The top 42 teams conducted a second launch that was required to reach 860 feet with a flight duration of 42-45 seconds. 

“The aerospace and defense industry is helping define our future, and the opportunities available to these students and others in our sector are limitless,” said Eric Fanning, President and CEO of AIA. “It’s incredible to share the excitement that is the hallmark of A&D with these students and to see them bring the same kind of enthusiasm to their work in this competition.  It’s hands-on engineering that truly is rocket science,” he continued. “Competitors in the 2022 American Rocketry Challenge will be the leaders in the industries defining our future—whether building the rockets that will take humans to Mars, designing for a more sustainable world, or innovations beyond our current imagination. We can’t wait to see the places they’ll go and look forward to rooting for Newport High School when they represent the United States in the International Finals in July.” 

Teams at the National Finals represented 27 states from Hawaii to Connecticut and competed for a total of $100,000 in prize money and scholarships. The prize pool will be split among the Top 10 teams, with Newport High School taking home the top prize of $20,000 as U.S. champions. In addition, the top 25 finishers receive an invitation to participate in NASA’s Student Launch initiative to continue their exploration of rocketry with high-powered rockets and challenging mission parameters. In addition, winners of the Marketing Competition, Presentation Competition, and Best First Time Finalist were honored at the National Finals.

2022 marks the 20th year of the American Rocketry Challenge, and the first time since 2019 the top teams competed in a National Finals launch. The National Finals were cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19, and in 2021 teams competed in 10 Regional Finals located in sites across the country - also a precaution implemented as a result of the pandemic. To date, the American Rocketry Challenge has inspired more than 85,000 middle and high school students to explore education and careers in STEM fields.  

For more information and content, check out the official #RocketContest22 web, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. You can also learn more about many of the National Finalists in the “In the News” section of the American Rocketry Challenge’s website.

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