The Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) is the world's largest rocket contest, sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the National Association of Rocketry (NAR). It was created in the fall of 2002 as a one-time celebration of the Centennial of Flight, but the enthusiasm about the event was so great that AIA and NAR were asked to hold the contest annually.
Approximately 7,000 students from across the nation compete in TARC each year. Teams design, build and fly a model rocket that reaches a specific altitude and duration determined by a set of rules developed each year. The contest is designed to encourage students to study math and science and pursue careers in aerospace.
The top 100 teams, based on local qualification flights, are invited to Washington, DC in May for the national finals. Prizes include $60,000 in cash and scholarships split between the top 10 finishers. NASA invites top teams to participate in their Student Launch Initiative, an advanced rocketry program. AIA member companies, such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have sponsored additional prizes such as scholarship money and a trip to an international air show.
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