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RCS places second at TARC

It was a close second for Russellville City Schools when the rocketry program’s Team 2 – or Team Tigers – landed in second place at the Team America Rocketry Challenge National Competition.

Russellville boasted two of the 100 teams that made it to nationals last month out of hundreds across the country attempting to qualify. Program sponsor Gabe Willis said it was a competitive time for the teams.

“It’s not just about winning for them, but it’s something they can figure out,” Willis said. “They’re really focused and honed in on the engineering side of the challenge.”

Russellville’s Team 1, the Bears, and Team 2 Tigers both qualified in the first round of launches. Team 1 came in 14th place.

“For two teams from our school to be able to go this far in the competition, it’s impressive,” Willis said.

In honor of their placement, RHS Team 2 received a $15,000 prize and an invitation to participate in NASA’s Student Launch program. Team 1 brought home the esteemed Lockheed Martin Best Rocket Craftsmanship Award, which came with a prize of $500.

During their time in Washington D.C., the RHS students got to visit the Senate office building, meet an astronaut, meet government officials and sit in on the House floor while the House voted on a bill. Congressman Robert Aderholt personally spoke with the students and took them to the House floor for the experience.

Russellville’s teams were joined on the leaderboard by two other teams from Alabama: Cullman Area Technology Academy, which placed 11th, and Franklin County’s Tharptown High School, which placed 23rd. Both these schools also secured invitations to NASA’s Student Launch Program.

The Team America Rocketry Challenge, which this year honored the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, required each team to launch a rocket carrying three raw eggs that had reach an altitude of 856 feet before separating and returning the un-cracked eggs to earth – all within 43-46 seconds and with strict height and weight requirements.

For round two at Saturday’s finals, the height requirement was lowered, forcing teams to adjust their measurements and launch calculations.

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