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A team of middle schoolers from Bellevue, Wash., nicknamed the Space Potatoes, captured the top prize at the 2016 Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) National Finals.
The five-student team from Odle Middle School outscored 100 of the best rocketry teams in the country in the finals. Nearly 5,000 students on 789 teams participated in the overall competition from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Space Potatoes team members are Mikaela Ikeda, 12, Larry Jing, 13, Karl Deerkop, 14, Srivatshan (Sri) Sakthinarayanan, 13, and Stephanie Han , 13. According to a news realease, they were awarded more than $20,000 in scholarships and funds for their school.
Sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry, the competition required students to build a rocket that flies to exactly 850 feet and safely returns a payload of two raw eggs within 44-46 seconds. At the National Finals, students were required to adjust their rockets “on the fly” to hit new flight/duration parameters for a second round of launches.