A team of eighth graders from Odle Middle School in Bellevue, Wash., captured first place at the International Rocketry Challenge at the 2016 Farnborough International Airshow on July 15.
Nicknamed the Space Potatoes, the five kids bested teams from the United Kingdom, France and Japan. It’s the second straight year the U.S. has won the competition. In May, Odle captured the top prize at the 2016 Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) National Finals by beating out 789 teams.
According to a news release, last week’s challenge involved designing, building and launching rockets with a goal of reaching an altitude of exactly 850 feet within a 44- to 46-second flight window. Rockets were required to carry two raw eggs, placed perpendicular to each other in the rocket’s body, a task that complicated rocket design. Scores were determined by how close the rockets approached the required height and time; cracked eggs would disqualify the flight.
The Odle team, sponsored by the Raytheon Company, included Mikaela Ikeda, 12; Stephanie Han, 13; Srivatshan Sakthinarayanan, 14; Karl Deerkop, 14; and Larry Jing 14.
“Representing the entire country was really intimidating,” said Ikeda, captain of the Space Potatoes. “Luckily, we had each other for support and everyone did their jobs perfectly!”
See more images of the Odle team on the Team America Rocketry Challenge Facebook page. And check out this video of the winners being announced: