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Spaceport America Cup Brings Aerospace Engineering Teams Together from Universities Around the World


  Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport located in southern New Mexico in the USA and the Experimental Rocket Sounding Association (ESRA), today announced inauguration of the annual Spaceport America Cup.

The Spaceport America Cup is designed around IREC—the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition for student rocketry teams from all over the country and around the world. With over 110 teams from colleges and universities in eleven countries, 2017 will be the competition’s biggest year yet. Students will be launching solid, liquid, and hybrid rockets to target altitudes of 10,000 and 30,000 feet.

The IREC has been in annual occurrence since 2006. The competition achieved international status in 2011 – when schools from Canada and Brazil joined – and has doubled in size every year since 2013. More than 600 students participated in the 2016 competition, representing over 50 schools from 6 different continents.

“Together with our outstanding partners at ESRA, we are pleased to launch the first annual Spaceport America Cup, welcoming aerospace engineering students from all over the world for a week of rocketeering and comradery,” said Daniel Hicks, Chief Executive Officer Spaceport America. “We hope to inspire future generations to consider a career in space exploration and encourage spectators from all walks of life to join in.”

“Thank you to the astounding 110 teams who have already entered this year’s competition,” said Matthew Ellengold, President Experimental Sounding Rocket Association.“With an awe-inspiring venue like Spaceport America and the expert support of the Spaceport America Crew, we are taking the International Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC), to a whole new level.”

Presentation and Conference Day – June 20, 2017
Spectators are invited to see the rockets (unarmed) on display at the Las Cruces, New Mexico Convention Center. The event is free to the public and attendees can interact with rocket teams, watch team and industry sponsor presentations and speak with recruiters from aerospace companies.

Flight Preparation Day – June 21, 2017
The second day of the Spaceport America Cup takes place at the Spaceport America Vertical Launch Area. Teams will have the entire day to assemble their rocket in the field and test components as needed while being judged.

Launch Days – June 22 – 24, 2017
Teams will be launching and recovering rockets all three days. Spectators are welcome to come and join in the excitement. There will be viewing areas set up and teams will be able to show off their rockets after recovery. $30.00 for a three-day spectator pass or $10.00 for a one-day pass.

Under the Stars Awards Banquet – June 24, 2017
Participants, family, friends, faculty, sponsors and media are welcome to attend the awards banquet on the night of the last launch day. Enjoy dinner, music and fun under the stars out on the Spaceport America Gateway to Space apron. $30.00 per person.

Rocket team registration is still open
Rocket teams are welcome to enter ‘late’ into the competition, however, in the interest of fairness; they will not receive points for their entry form submission. Teams entering late into the competition should accompany their DropBox™ submission with an email to the ESRA org box (experimentalsoundingrocket@gmail.com) alerting us to check for the late entry.

About Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA)
The Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA) is a non-profit organization founded in 2003 for the purpose of fostering and promoting engineering knowledge and experience in the field of rocketry. ESRA’s current focus is in the field of experimental sounding rocketry, which we define as roughly between “experimental” or “research” high-power rockets and sounding rockets capable of reaching space (generally defined as 100 km altitude). Visit http://www.soundingrocket.org/ for more information.

About Spaceport America
Spaceport America is the first purpose-built commercial spaceport in the world. The FAA-licensed launch complex, situated on 18,000 acres adjacent to the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico, boasts 6,000 square miles of restricted airspace, low population density, a 12,000-foot spaceway, and 340+ days of sunshine and low humidity. Some of the most respected companies in the commercial space industry are customers at Spaceport America: Virgin Galactic, SpaceX, UP Aerospace and EXOS. Visit http://spaceportamerica.com and http://gatewaytospace.com for more information.