Air Force Museum team rockets to national finals

Team Prometheus from left to right are: Evan Wall, Adam Bellware, Danielle Price, Katherine Ehlers, Xander Cottle, and MiKayla Aaron. (U.S. Air Force photo)

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Team Prometheus from left to right are: Evan Wall, Adam Bellware, Danielle Price, Katherine Ehlers, Xander Cottle, and MiKayla Aaron. (U.S. Air Force photo)

High schoolers from Springboro, Fairborn, Northmont head to DC for national competition

Dayton-area high schoolers have rocketed their way to next month’s national finals of the American Rocketry Challenge.

The team for the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force will compete in the event near Washington, D.C. May 14.

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Dubbed “Team Prometheus,” the students recently won first place in the Ohio Cup launch where they had the best score among six teams, the Air Force Museum said in a release Tuesday.

Team members include Springboro High School 11th grader and team Captain Adam Bellware; Springboro 11th grader Danielle Price; Northmont High School 11th grader MiKayla Aaron; homeschool 10th grader Xander Cottle; Milford High School 11th grader Katherine Ehlers and Fairborn High School 10th grader Evan Wall.

The local team qualified in the top 100 out of more than 700 teams, said Cindy Henry, an Air Force educator for the museum.

Meant to stimulate interest in science, technology, engineering and math, the rocketry competition ahead is expected to be challenging.

This year’s rules required teams to build a model rocket that carries two raw eggs to an altitude of 835 feet, stays airborne for 41 to 44 seconds and return safely to the ground — with eggs intact.

The requirements are slightly modified for the two launches at the national finals, according to the museum.

“One of the required launches at nationals will be a little higher, and the other a little lower than their launches at the Ohio Cup,” Henry said. “Over the next few weeks, they will need to decide whether to alter their rocket or build a new one. They will probably build two more rockets, then make some launches and computer simulations to finalize their design.”

The American Rocketry Challenge says it is the world’s largest rocket contest with nearly 5,000 students nationwide competing each year.

This is the second time an Air Force Museum rocketry team has qualified for the national contest, the museum said.

Top finishers will represent the United States at the International Rocketry Competition in England this July. And the top 25 teams will be invited to next year’s NASA Student Launch workshop.

Students interested in participating in this and other free STEM activities at the museum can visit www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Education/.

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