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Junior rocket scientists sought for New Zealand Rocketry Contest


Boosting an egg high into the air on a rocket and returning it safely to Earth may seem like one small step for New Zealand science but it could be a giant leap for aspiring Kiwi space enthusiasts.

The inaugural New Zealand Rocketry Challenge is set to take off with registrations now being called for, as KiwiSpace and the NZ Rocketry Association search for budding rocket scientists to "reach for the stars."

"The challenge is to design, build and fly a model rocket to a precise altitude, returning a raw egg - the astronaut - safely and undamaged," explained Mark Mackay, Executive Director of KiwiSpace. "Closest to the target altitude, wins!"

The competition, which is based on popular overseas contests such as the Team America Rocketry Challenge, will see participating teams compete at a public fly-off in Auckland on Saturday 17 November.

Mark Mackay said this first competition would be a pilot to gauge interest and help build a base of trained educators who can support and use rocketry in schools.

"We are running a free rocketry workshop in conjunction with Aerospace Education during the October school holidays. It's open to teachers of all age groups and parents/mentors supervising teams, and will teach model rocket safety, hands-on experience building a rocket suitable for the challenge, and ways to incorporate rocketry education in the classroom."

He believes the competition will be a roaring success. "Rockets always capture the imagination. The contest fly-off will be a blast - with lot of great rockets flying … and undoubtedly a few cracked eggs,"

But Mr Mackay emphasised that the contest wasn't just entertainment. "It's not just about blasting a rocket into the air -- students need to carefully plan their rocket and its flight parameters, just like an aerospace engineer."

Teams have until 31 October to register. As part of their $75 registration fee, teams are supplied with a huge starter pack containing a rocket launch pad, electronic launch controller, motors for test flights, a digital altimeter and more.

For more information, see

KiwiSpace Foundation is a non-profit organisation seeking to inspire the next generation of space scientists. The Foundation aims to showcase the benefits and opportunities that space applications provide NZ; highlight the many opportunities for New Zealanders to work in the global space community; and enhance national space capabilities and education programmes.

To learn more about KiwiSpace, visit


The New Zealand Rocketry Association was constituted in November 1991 to promote, foster and develop the sport of hobby rocketry, educate relevant parties in all aspects of the hobby and to manage and regulate competition events. The main NZRA affiliate is the Auckland Rocketry Club which launches both low and high power rockets on a regular basis at the club's site in Taupiri, where young rocketeers have the opportunity to see a wide range of rockets launching skywards and to build and fly rockets on site.

For more details, visit:


Mark Mackay
NZ Rocketry Challenge -- Programme Coordinator
Mobile: +64 21 622 379
Gerry Munden
NZ Rocketry Challenge -- Education Coordinator
Tel: +64 9 624 3091 Mobile: +64 27 493 2766

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