The Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) is a rocketry competition jointly run by the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) and the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) with support from other major organizations such as NASA, the Defense Department, and the 4-H Society. TARC teams may have a maximum of 15 members.
Taken from the TARC website
"This year's challenge is to design, build and fly a one-stage model rocket that reaches an altitude of 750 feet, stays aloft for 45 seconds, and returns 1 raw egg unbroken. The egg must be placed in the rocket perpendicular to the direction of flight!"
"The top 100 teams, based on local qualification flights, are invited to Washington, DC in May for the national finals. Prizes include $60,000 in cash and scholarships split between the top 10 finishers. NASA invites the top 25 teams to participate in their Student Launch Initiative, an advanced rocketry program. AIA member companies, such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have sponsored additional prizes such as scholarship money and a trip to an international air show."
The rules and goals change slightly every year.
The goal is to achieve to lowest score possible. In the 2009 competition, the score is calculated by adding the difference in recorded (by the altimeter) altitude from 750 ft to two times the difference in the average of both recorded times (by stopwatches) from 45 sec. In 2007, the cutoff score for making the top 100 teams for TARC 2007 was 19.25 and the cutoff score for making the alternate list was 26.19, however the difference in time was not multiplied by two and the target altitude was 800 ft.
Newton North Involvement
Newton North began participating in TARC in 2006. The team captain is Nathaniel Gilbert.
In 2006, the team's test vehicle was destroyed as the result of a structural failure one day before the contest deadline, resulting in the team's disqualification. In 2007, the team made 14 successful test flights, but the team's first qualification flight was not in the top 100 and the team's second test flight was disqualified when the contents of the payload bay were ejected at apogee as the result of inadequately repaired cracks in the payload bay airframe which allowed the screws attaching the nosecone to the rocket to rip out.
In both 2006 and 2007, the team used PML components to construct the rocket and Aerotech G64-7W engines.
The team designs and constructs the rocket in the mid fall. During this period the team meets at least once a week for building sessions. One the rocket has been completed, the team attends CMASS or CATO launches approximately once a month for flight testing and eventually the actual qualification flights. The launches generally occur on Saturdays and take up the morning and afternoon. The team stops launching in early April after the team's qualifying scores are due. The TARC finals are in May in Virginia, but Newton North has yet to attend these.
Team Membership Policy
Team members are expected to attend the majority of the launches and the majority of the building meetings. This policy is flexible and can be modified by the captain to fit a particular person's needs.
The construction of the first 2008 rocket was begun on October 27, 2007. The rocket was constructed using Performance Rocketry and Giant Leap components and is flown on Aerotech G61W-Ms in a Rousetech 38mm 120ns casing. Unlike in previous years, the rocket utilized a launch rail.
A second rocket was built in 2008. The rocket was constructed using Public Missiles Parts, including the PML Pre-Glassed airframe. The rocket uses Aerotech G61W-Ms in a Rousetech 38mm 120ns casing. The rocket utilized launch rail.
The team has also repaired and modified the 2007 rocket to use as a backup. The 2007 rocket was a highly modified PML Phobos which in 2007, was flown on Aerotech G64-7Ws. The rocket was be modified to carry a second egg and the cumulative damage from the fourteen 2007 flights was repaired.
2009 Launch Schedule
Qualification scores are due April 6th.
May 16 - TARC National Finals - The Plains VI
Construction underway on the rear of the 1st 2008 rocket. The motor mount is being glued in place, but the rear centering ring is not being glued to allow the fins and rail buttons to later be epoxied from the inside.
A 2008 egg carrier after being sawed in half after molding. The egg carrier was constructed by filling a phenolic coupler with insulation foam rings that match the shape of an egg. The ends were sealed with an egg inside it and then it was injected with dental impression fluid. After curing, the egg carrier was sawed in half and the egg removed.
Prepping the 2nd 2008 rocket for flight in January at a CATO launch in Durham CT. 1/19/08
The 2nd 2008 rocket sitting on the pad in January at a CATO launch in Durham CT. 1/19/08
Priming the 2nd 2008 rocket. 1/29/09
The finished 2nd 2008 rocket in its March 22nd launch in Amesbury, Massachusetts.
The qualifying launches of the 2008 rocket on March 30th in Acton, Massachusetts.
Pictures of the March 22, 2008 launch. (2nd 2008 rocket). See additional pictures here.
The finished 2007 rocket.
Preparing the 2007 rocket at a Amesbury CMASS launch.
Loading the ignitor at a 2007 Amesbury CMASS launch.
Prepping the 2007 rocket on the pad at an Amesbury CMASS launch.
Part of the 2007 team prepares the rocket for a test flight at a Amesbury CMASS launch.
The 2007 rocket takes flight at a March Amesbury CMASS launch.
The rear of the 2006 rocket showing one of the three payload bays around the fins used for holding weights. These were positioned at the rear of the rocket to prevent the rocket from becoming over stable.
The finished 2006 rocket.
The remains of the 2006 rocket after a ballistic flight was terminated by a parking lot.