PHS Rocketry Team earns a spot in the national finals

PRESIDIO – Presidio High School Rocketry Team is one of the 101 finalists to advance to the 2019 Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) National Finals. The competition is May 17-19 in The Plains, Virginia.

To participate, the students design, build and launch their rocket on campus. This year honors the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, so the students had to design a rocket that reaches an altitude of at least 856 feet between 43-46 seconds from launch to landing while carry three raw eggs that must return intact to Earth. The rocket has to be three to five feet long, motor-powered and made of paper tubes, wood and other crafts.

The Presidio team named Signor Crème conducted a series of test flights from January to March with the best flight altitude reaching 860 feet in 45.51 seconds. A qualified judge observes the launch and the team submits their scores to TARC. The Presidio students entered the competition with 830 teams from 46 states with 100 teams qualifying. This is the second time this team has qualified for the finals, but the rocketry program has qualified at least eight times during its 10 years. Faculty adviser Luzviminda Sto. Domingo said building a rocket is not easy. “Building a rocket that will fly to the exact altitude and time specifications is very difficult. It takes hard work, patience, and perseverance,” said Sto. Domingo. The desert heat made it difficult to launch and sometimes the students had to run through fields of bushes and cacti to keep track of the rocket’s landing. Some of the rockets were lost after they were carried away by the high winds. At the finals, the teams will compete for a total of $100,000 in prize, but the winner will advance to the International Rocketry Challenge in June in Paris, France. The top 20 teams will earn a spot in next year’s NASA Student Launch competition.