LINCOLN -- Students from Lincoln High School’s rocketry team will compete on the national level during this year’s Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) on Saturday, May 18, at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia, near Washington, D.C.

“This is the fifth year that Lincoln has had a rocketry team,” LHS information and technology instructor Brian Kelly said. “They have qualified for nationals the last four years.”

This year’s team includes Cole Barrentine, Destiny Thomas, Alexander Taylor, Ethan Nabors, Jadyn Hendrix, Grayson Phillips, Tyler Bynum and John Kelly.

“The Team America Rocketry Challenge is the aerospace and defense industry’s flagship program designed to encourage students to pursue study and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM),” a TARC press release states.

“The competition challenges high school students to design, build and fly a rocket that meets rigorous altitude and flight duration parameters through a series of certified qualifying launches.”

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the 2019 rules require a rocket carrying three raw eggs, representing the Apollo astronauts, to reach 856 feet before returning the uncracked eggs to Earth – all within 43 to 46 seconds, the release notes.

Brian Kelly noted the competition is scored similar to golf.

“The lower the score the team receives, the better,”  he said. “Points are added for the timing and altitude not being within the margin of error.”

Added Barrentine, “We’ve been working on our rockets basically since last year’s competition ended. It’s been a lot of trial and error.”

According to TARC’s website, LHS is one of 31 teams from the state to qualify for the 2019 national finals.

“Our team name is ‘Dark Side of the Moon,’” Thomas said. “We are all really looking forward to this year’s launch.”

The Lincoln students will join 100 other teams from across the country to compete for more than $100,000 in prizes, scholarships and a chance to represent the U.S. at the global finals later this summer.

The LHS team has utilized many STEM tools to aid in designing its rocket.

“Students used the school’s 3D printer and other programs to construct some of the rocket’s parts,” Kelly said. “Denton Marlowe has continued to be one of our mentors. We are grateful for his support and experience in the aerospace industry. We also want to thank our sponsor, Elbit Systems Inc.”

TARC is sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), the National Association of Rocketry and more than 20 industry partners.

“Qualifying for the national finals is a testament to the teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving skills that represent the very best of aerospace and defense,” AIA President and CEO Eric Fanning said. “Each year, this contest inspires thousands of young women and men to consider careers in STEM fields. It presents a unique opportunity to motivate the next generation of leaders who will change the way we move, connect and explore our world.”

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