Posted On: Wednesday, April 25, 2012



Members of the Harding TARC team headed to nationals:
Front row (from left): Gunnar Stockman, Jarod Macaluso; back row (from left): Alex Grunder, Makito Otsuka, Rodrigo Corrigan, Alex Rosul.

The Harding Middle School Rocket Club has really taken off this year, as one of its teams has qualified as one of the top 100 teams in the country in the national Team America Rocketry Challenge competition. The six-member team will compete in the TARC finals in the Washington, D.C., area on May 12.
Headed to finals are proud team members Rodrigo Corrigan (team captain), Alex Grunder, Gunnar Stockman, Alex Rosul, Jarod Macaluso and Makito Otsuka.

The Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) was designed to encourage students to study math and science and pursue careers in aerospace. Harding science teacher Ann Pesta started working with seventh- and eighth-graders to field TARC teams seven years ago. Several have made the cut-off score for nationals but this year’s team is the first to make the top 100 and be invited to finals. The teams also receive guidance from Lakewood resident Pat Easter, member of the Skybusters Rocketry Club.

The Harding teams each had to design, build and fly a model rocket that reaches a specific altitude and duration as determined by contest rules developed each year. This year’s requirements specified that the rocket could not exceed 650 grams (23 ounces) at liftoff, had to include a compartment that carried two eggs without breaking them and altimeter to measure the maximum height reached. The goal was to reach 800 feet with a flight duration of 43-47 seconds.

Teams with the lowest score qualify for nationals. The Harding team headed to finals scored a 9.6 by flying their rocket 797 feet with a flight time of 40.8 seconds. The cutoff for nationals was a score of 13.2. Harding was one of only eight Ohio teams to make it.

The TARC contest is the world’s largest rocket contest open to students in grades 7-12. It is sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry.

If you are interested in helping to sponsor the team to attend the finals, which will cost approximately $3,000, contact Ann Pesta at ann.pesta@lakewood.k12.oh.us or call 529-4261.

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