Smithson Valley Middle School Rocket Club has success at national competition

(Comal County, Tx)— The Smithson Valley Middle School Rocket Club’s trip to Virginia to compete in the 13th-Annual Team America Rocketry Challenge was an amazing experience.  

The SVMS team, which was one of the youngest at the competition, finished in 46th place out of more than 700 teams, many of which were comprised of high school students.

In addition, the team, guided by instructor Bart Cooper, traveled to Washington D.C. where they met Congresswoman Donna Edwards, as well as Dr. John Langford, CEO of Aurora Flight Science and Dr. Ellen Stofan, Chief Scientist at NASA.

Cooper said his team was impressed by Stofan’s statement that NASA will complete a manned mission to Mars by the mid-2030s and that the students could very well be some of the engineers involved in this project.

The SVMS team also toured the National Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

During their competition, the students were the fourth-ranked team out of 13 from Texas.

This year's rules required a rocket carrying a raw egg to reach as close to 800 feet as possible and return it to Earth uncracked within a timeframe of about 46 to 48 seconds. At nationals, SVMS’ rocket reached about 790 feet and returned to earth in 50 seconds with the egg uncracked.

“It was an amazing experience and one I know our team will never forget,” said Cooper said.

Pictured at the National Smithsonian Air and Space Museum are SVMS Rocket Team members (l-r) Nick Henderson, Shaylee Fellbaum, Hannah Marfin, Reilly Cooper, instructor Bart Cooper, Andres Gomez-Garcia, Catherine Haegelin, and Curtis Parsons.