National Association of Rocketry
National Association of Rocketry
Educator's Newsletter
February 2016
In This Issue
Small NAR Logo
Imagine it, design it, build it 
I was reading through a college freshman student introduction to the engineering profession and saw the slogan above given as the essence of engineering. The introduction went on to list attributes of engineer graduates as given by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). It said, " An engineer will be able to apply knowledge of STEM, design systems and components to meet requirements, use tools, solve problems, analyze and interpret data." It also said, ". ..they know how to function on a multi discipline team, communicate effectively and understand the value of their results and products." As I read this I realized all of these formal elements of engineering were taught in the model rocket contest of TARC. Everything you need to learn about the process of how to design and build a bridge, a computer, a drone or a video game is presented in this egg lofting mission that thousands of kids perform every year. Do you want your students to learn engineering that already meets the standards of ABET? Have them imagine, design, build and launch a rocket.
Aim High!
Vince Huegele
NAR Education Chairman
TARC logo 2016 Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) 

Registration for TARC 2016 is complete ! By this point you should have completed your initial TARC rocket and a test-flying (based on our recommended schedule of a February 1st first flight).

775 teams are registered, including representatives from all fifty states, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. We are still working with a handful of teams who have encountered payment or other problems, so this number may continue to go up. This is the most teams since 2003 and an increase of more than 80 teams over last year. Thank you for everything you are doing to spread the word about TARC. It is working!

The top 100 teams from among all those who have entered will meet in a final fly-off competition on May 14, 2016 at Great Meadow, The Plains, VA. These top 100 teams will be selected based on the duration and altitude scores reported from local qualification flights that they conduct in front of an NAR Senior (adult) member observer at their choice of time up until the flight deadline of April 4, 2016.

If you are curious, we have updated the team map and posted a team list to the TARC homepage.

Outreach Contest
This is another reminder of this year's TARC Outreach Program. A 101st spot at the National Finals will be awarded to a team that submits qualifying scores of at least two valid launches but would otherwise not make the cutoff for the National Finals. The criteria and other details are here.  

NAR Support for Team America

The NAR asks all of its Senior (adult) members and its Sections to take an active role in supporting TARC. This event offers a tremendously rewarding opportunity to teach rocketry skills to bright and enthusiastic young people and to "pay forward" to a new generation of rocketeers for the support that we once received from others when we were starting out in the hobby. Please use the attached publicity handout to get the word out about TARC. Details of the duties of a mentor or flight observer are available in our Mentor Guide.

Mentors are adult (age 21 and above) members of the NAR who volunteer to serve as technical advisors and instructors or coaches to TARC teams. The role of the mentor is to get teams over the initial learning hump of mastering basic rocketry skills; they are not allowed to help teams with their final contest designs. Mentors may also serve as "qualification flight observers."

TARC team members can obtain a current list of NAR Mentor volunteers.
NAR Sections help by listing all of their launches on the NAR "Launch Windows" web page and by providing free access to these launches and use of Section or personal launch equipment for any TARC team that needs to do a test or qualification flight.

Only certain NAR-certified model rocket motors of total impulse class "F" and below are approved for flight use in TARC 2016. They are enumerated in this list.

NAR Site Owner Insurance

TARC teams that need "site owner insurance" (insurance which protects the owner of the land used for a rocket launch) in order to gain access to a flying site for their local test and qualification flights may get this through the NAR, just like NAR Sections (clubs) can do. This insurance is available only for actual landowners (including schools and school boards), not for school officials who are concerned about personal liability. It is available for $15, but only to teams whose teacher supervisor is a member of the NAR, and which have at least three student team members who are members of the NAR. You can apply for site insurance using this printable form.

TARC Stars

Have alumni from your TARC program gone on to careers in aerospace or to do other cool things? We want to know! We are reviving the TARC Stars program to recognize outstanding TARC alumni. Advisors, simply fill out the information requested  here for your chance to win a gift card to help buy rocketry supplies for your teams.

Most teams should now be in the design and build phase. A list of TARC Supporting Vendors is available at Each has agreed to provide TARC specific discounts (the TARC handbook explains how to get the discount). As you decide upon and purchase your parts, take a look at their offerings to see if you can save your team some money.

Key dates

Feb. 1 - Complete first test flight (recommended) 
Mar. 1 - First TARC qualification flight recommended
Mar. 4 - Your application for the TARC Outreach Program must be received by this date to receive consideration
No Later Than Apr. 4 - Make your final official qualification flight attempt in front of an NAR Senior member observer and submit qualification form to AIA
Apr. 8 - Top 100 team selected
May 14 - National Finals at Great Meadow in The Plains, VA

The NAR website provides additional information .   There is a superb new teacher resource posted on the TARC website

Each year we have teams who wait until right before the April 4 deadline and are unable to complete their qualification flights due to weather or other delays. You have up to three qualifications flight attempts, so leave yourself enough time to use them!

Remember, there are no extensions to the deadline for flying and reporting qualification flights. Plan ahead! As a reminder, students may not be added to a team after its first qualification flight.
NAR 4322 L3
TARC Manager
Small NAR Logo NAR Scholarship Program, Robert L. Cannon Award, and Extracurricular Activity Grant Awards
Did you know that if you are NAR member between the ages of 17 and 22 attending college or a vocational school that you may be eligible to receive a scholarship?
Are you a teacher or educator who uses model rocketry in the classroom?  You are welcome to apply for a $500 grant to use in your program.
In 2001, the NAR's scholarship and Robert L. Cannon educational awards were inaugurated.  Three NAR members received scholarships and two educators received Cannon awards.  Over the years the number of award winners have grown.  In 2015, a new program, the NAR Extracurricular Activity Grant (EAG) was initiated to provide up to ten $500 grants for after-school activities, such as rocket clubs, scout, Civil Air Patrol, 4-H, or NAR section programs involving model rocketry.  TARC teams are not eligible for these awards.  This year we awarded ten $2000 scholarships, six $1000 scholarships, six Cannon $500 grants, and one Extracurricular Activity Grant (EAG).

The deadline for Scholarships and the Cannon award applications is June 1st.  

Both of these programs are ongoing.  See for details on how to apply.  If you have questions concerning either program, please contact  Joyce Guzik, via email:
Department of Defense's STARBASE Program 
The Department of Defense's STARBASE program focuses on elementary students, primarily fifth graders. The goal is to motivate them to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) as they continue their education. The academies serve students historically under-represented in STEM.  Students who live in inner cities or rural locations, those who are socio-economically disadvantaged, low in academic performance or have a disability are in the target group.  

The program engages students through the inquiry-based curriculum with its "hands-on, mind-on" experiential activities.  They study Newton's Laws and Bernoulli's principle; explore nanotechnology, navigation and mapping. They are captivated by engineering as they use the computer to design space stations, all-terrain vehicles, and submersibles.  Math is embedded throughout the curriculum and students use metric measurement, estimation, calculation geometry and data analysis to solve questions.  Teamwork is stressed as they work together to explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate concepts.
The military volunteers apply abstract principles  to real world situations by leading tours and giving lectures  on the use of STEM in different settings and careers.  Since the academies are located in different branches of the military this experience is highly varied.  Students may discuss how chemical fires are extinguished, learn how injured are transported, explore the cockpit of an F-18 or the interior of a submarine.

The academies work with school districts to support their standards of learning objectives.  A teacher whose class attended  DoD STARBASE stated, "STARBASE teaches science and math in ways that we wish we had the time, resources and expertise to do in the regular classroom.  It's experiential, exploratory learning with a direct tie to the standards." Find the STARBASE near you!
HoSmall NAR Logow to Build a Model Rocket  
NAR volunteers have produced 9 pages of excellent basic tutorial material on  how to build a model rocket and a 45-minute instructional video for rocketeers of all ages on all the steps and techniques involved in building and flying a basic model rocket other NAR volunteers have produced. This instructional video has been divided into six short segments of 4 to 9 minutes duration and posted online by the NAR's TARC partners, the Aerospace Industries Association on their YouTube site.

A sincere thanks to all!
National Coalition for Aviation and Space Education
The Mervin K. Strickler Aerospace Education Leadership Award was established by NCASE in 1995 to distinguish and honor excellence in aerospace education and to honor Dr. Stickler by recognizing individuals or organizations that share his personal commitment and lifelong contributions to aerospace education.  The 2015 award went to Aerospace Industries Association and National Association of Rocketry for creating the Team America Rocketry Challenge and making it one of the world's most successful student aerospace challenge and education programs. 

Edward W. Stimpson and Dr. Harold S. Wood Scholarships
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) announced the availability of two prestigious scholarships awarded annually to students who have excelled in or are pursuing aviation studies.

The Edward W. Stimpson "Aviation Excellence Award" is given to a graduating high school senior who has been accepted to and will be enrolled in an aviation degree core program at his or her chosen university or college. The award includes a $2,000 cash prize and is named after Stimpson, who was a founder of GAMA and served as its President from 1970 to 1990 and from 1992 to 1996. Applicants are judged on the basis of academic skills, extracurricular activities, and an essay on what aviation means to the student and how he or she plans to pursue a career in aviation.

The Dr. Harold S. Wood Award for Excellence is given annually to a college student who is a flight team member at a National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) member school. The award comes with a $2,000 cash prize and an engraved propeller trophy, and is named after Wood, founder and past executive director of NIFA. Students are judged on the basis of academic skills, both aviation-related and non-aviation-related extracurricular activities, and an essay about their future aviation plans.

Both applications are due April 15, 2016, and can be found on GAMA's Web site.

Wallops Rocket Academy for Teachers and Students (WRATS)
In June of this year, the  WRATS teacher work shop will be held for the 6th time at Wallops Flight Facility. Teachers from near  and far will attend the week long educational experi ence.
WRATS combines hands-on activities such as building model rockets, parachutes and an electronic pay load with theory on rocket propulsion, flight dynamics, and trajectory simulations.
Each teacher builds a model rocket and a payload  and designs a recovery system during the week. Flight data is recorded on-board and analyzed post flight. The payload incorporates an Arduino Micro and three  sensors; an accelerometer, a pressure transducer and  a thermistor. All payload recorded data and analysis should  show that the rockets reached altitudes of between  400 - 600 feet.

Phil Eberspeaker/Chief Sounding Rocket Program Office will be the main presenter and provide the teachers with interactive demonstrations as well as theory  of rocket flight. Educators will learn about various types of rocket propulsion, forces of flight, rocket stability and recovery system shock absorption.

  The WRATS teachers will attend the early morning  launch of RockOn! and view  the payload de-integration and experiment return.

The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project (VMMEPP) along with the Google Cultural Institute present the online Viking Mission Museum
Starting today, and for the first time, over 300 artifacts from The Viking Mars Missions Education & Preservation Project (VMMEPP) are available to people around the world via a partnership between VMMEPP and the Google Cultural Institute. Thanks to this new virtual exhibition, users will be able to see a complete set of the Viking Mission Bulletins that guided the public and press through mission preparation, launch and discoveries, a previously unpublished detailed specification for the Viking Meteorology Instrument, a unique White House document required for mission launch; a Lunar Orbiter document by the team that helped NASA Langley win the Viking Project Office, and many other treasures of the museum in just a few clicks at The Viking Mission Museum
Civil Air Patrol
Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Promotes and Supports Aerospace Education
CAP rocketry programs (for its own members and the general public) help prepare American citizens to meet the challenges of a sophisticated aerospace society and understand its related issues.

CAP offers national standards-based educational products, including a secondary textbook, Aerospace: The Journey of Flight, and the middle-school-level Aerospace Dimensions. Aerospace Education Members can get classroom materials and lessons plans from CAP. 

Civil Air Patrol Aerospace Library
Dedicated to promoting and sharing Aviation, Air Force, CAP & NASA History, the folks at the Civil Air Patrol have put together a fantastic library of rocketry resources !  

The annual National Cadet Competition provides the opportunity for cadets around the country to come together and showcase their aerospace prowess gained through the Cadet Programs Aerospace Education by assembling and launching model rockets as an elective.  

Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) Teacher Handbook

The GEMS Teacher's Handbook is both an introduction to Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) and a clear explanation of the elements included in all GEMS guides available from the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley. For the teacher considering integrating GEMS into his or her curriculum for the first time, the handbook describes the philosophy behind the series, its alignment with the National Science Education Standards, its flexibility in diverse settings, and the structure of its teacher's guides. For all teachers, including those already familiar with GEMS, the book provides teaching strategies and tips that apply to all inquiry-based science and math activities.

The handbook includes concise discussions on numerous teaching concerns, including assessing student performance, integrating GEMS activities into established curricula, and strategies for obtaining materials. It also provides techniques for handling particular challenges, such as what to do when you, the teacher, don't know the answer, or when students arrive at "wrong" conclusions. Full-page charts summarize the major skills, concepts, themes, and mathematics strands addressed in each of the GEMS guides. Recent editions of the handbook feature "blueprints" for building year-long curricula using GEMS and other activity-based programs.

GEMS Teacher's Guides are clearly organized, easy to use, and do not require any special background in math or science. Each classroom session includes an overview, materials list, and preparation steps, followed by clear, step-by-step instructions for effective classroom presentation. Background information is provided for the teacher, along with photographs, illustrations, and, often, examples of student work. Throughout each guide are comments on presentation strategies and practical advice to help the teacher, many suggested by teachers who tested the units.


NEA Foundation DonorsChoose Organization   

The NEA Foundation funds and supports educator-driven solutions to improve student performance. Through our work, we've learned that the best teaching ideas come from our greatest assets, educators. Teachers have great ideas to help their students learn more, but often lack the resources they need to bring these ideas to life. Last year, through our partnership with, we matched public donations to support 1,500 NEA member requests for classroom materials, reaching 120,000 public school students. This year, with your help, we hope to reach even more. Check it out! 


NASA Needs Educators for Microgravity Experience
NASA's Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program and the Teaching From Space Office are seeking applications for teams of K-12 educators to participate in the MicroGravity eXperience, or Micro GX, project. This project gives students and educators across the country the opportunity to work together on an experiment to be tested aboard a microgravity aircraft. This incredible opportunity is open to any current K-12 classroom educator in the United States. Educators must also be U.S. citizens.

Micro GX activities begin with students and educators developing and proposing a reduced-gravity experiment. Selected educator teams will receive online professional development on classroom resources for microgravity, collaboration with a NASA mentor and a reduced-gravity flight. With combined input from their students and mentor, educator teams will design and fabricate their experiments to be tested and evaluated aboard an aircraft that flies approximately 30 roller-coaster-like climbs and dips to produce periods of microgravity and hypergravity, ranging from almost zero gravity to 2 g.


For more information, visit or send an email to


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This Month in History:

54 Years Ago

February 20, 1962: John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth when NASA launched him into space aboard Friendship 7 on the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission. The purpose of the mission was to analyze the effects of space on the human body as Glenn completed three full orbits around the planet. 

39 Years Ago

February 18, 1977: Space Shuttle Enterprise completed its first flight test while attached to a Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. The Enterprise is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va.

34 Years Ago

February 25, 1982: NASA launched the Westar IV, a communications satellite for Western Union, using a Delta 160 launch vehicle.

29 Years Ago

February 5, 1987: The USSR launched the Soyuz TM-2 spacecraft, which connected to Russia's Mir Space Station. This mission marked the second expedition to Mir and lasted 174 days.

24 Years Ago

February 23, 1992: NASA launched Navstar 2A-03 to establish the Global Positioning System (GPS), which is used by the military, industry and the general public for reliable navigation around the globe. The GPS uses 24 spacecraft: six satellites in each of the four orbit planes.

19 Years Ago

February 11, 1997: NASA launched Space Shuttle Discovery to begin the STS-82 mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope for the second time. The crew members enhanced Hubble's capabilities by replacing two scientific instruments and upgrading other hardware. February 23, 1992: NASA launched Navstar 2A-03 to establish the Global Positioning System (GPS), which is used by the military, industry and the general public for reliable navigation around the globe. The GPS uses 24 spacecraft: six satellites in each of the four orbit planes.  
14 Years Ago

February 5, 2002: NASA launched the High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (HESSI) solar flare observatory, which was later renamed the Reuven Ramaty HESSI. This spacecraft is used to study the behavior of solar flares, including their energy release and particle acceleration


Looking for a special rocket to blend a history and science lesson?  Look no further...Dr. Zooch has a Friendship 7 Mercury Atlas rocket and a Vanguard Eagle two-stager for you! The Doctor also has a long list of other stand-off scale rockets you might find exciting as well!

Need a custom decal for your special classroom project?  Check out Excelsior Rocketry...They have decals sets for older (classic) Estes, Centuri and Cox model rocket kits as well as 
kits of all types (scale, sport, futuristic, etc.).     

Want something truly unique for your classroom rocketry demonstration?  
Art Applewhite has something for you...Check out his Cinco, Stealth, and Qubits kits!  And don't be surprised to find something for free!


Ever wonder what happened to the Soviet's efforts to beat the US to the Moon?  What did they have in mind for their big N-1 rocket?  Take a look at ARA Press' new book, N-1: For the Moon and Mars!


Just can't decide what to get?  Take a look at all the options eRockets has to offer! 

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