Seven students from the Russellville City Schools of Russellville, Ala., won first place in the International Rocketry Challenge at the 2015 Paris Air Show on June 19.
The U.S. team, sponsored by Raytheon (NYSE: RTN), beat teams from the United Kingdom, who came in second place, and France, who took home third.
“It was a great experience representing the United States and winning the international rocketry competition,” said Andrew Heath, captain of the RCS Engineers. “It has been an honor to be part of the team and this year’s program.”
Competing teams designed, built and launched rockets with a goal of reaching an altitude of exactly 800 feet within a 46- to 48-second flight window.
This year’s contest required rockets to separate into at least two sections during flight. The main section, containing a payload of one raw hen’s egg and an altimeter, had to return to the ground safely with a single parachute as its sole recovery device.
Scores were determined by how close the rockets approached the required height and time; cracked eggs would disqualify the flight.
The U.S. team consists of Cristian Ruiz, 16; Niles Butts, 17; Andrew Heath, 17; Katie Burns, 13; Evan Swinney, 18; Cady Studdard, 14; and Chelsea Suddith, 15. The team achieved a winning flight score of 49.53 and logged an altitude of 824 feet.
The students also gave a presentation on their rocket design to a panel of international judges at Raytheon’s air show headquarters. The judges’ score counted for 40 percent of their total competition score. The U.S. took first place in this portion of the challenge as well.