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March 24, 2020

Spaceport America, NM – Spaceport America and the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA) have made the difficult decision to cancel the fourth annual Spaceport America Cup that was scheduled for June 16 – 20, 2020 at Spaceport America. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision was made based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for canceling large events in order to keep the students, spectators and sponsors safe and healthy. The event was set to engage over 1,700 college students from 17 countries on a week- long rocket design and launch competition.

“Having groups of students working together to build their team’s rocket is contrary to the COVID-19 protocol released by the CDC, and the State of New Mexico’s proactive leadership on this issue,” explained Dan Hicks, CEO of Spaceport America. “As much as we looked forward to having 154 universities participate, it is not the appropriate course of action at this time.”

“We are aware that this is incredibly disappointing news for the students, the universities, the communities of Sierra and Dona Ana Counties and our sponsors,” Hicks added. “It is important that the students respect and abide by their state and country guidelines for the health and safety of all,” Hicks said.

Last year, the 2019 Spaceport America Cup had 124 teams, 1,500 students, and representatives from 14 countries. The University of Washington took first place in the Spaceport America Cup and the University of New Mexico won the inaugural Spaceport America Chile Cup. Information on the 2021 Spaceport America Cup and possible actions with the 2020 Cup will be available at www.spaceportamericacup.com.

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, has a rocket friendly environment of 6,000 square miles of restricted airspace, low population density, a 12,000-foot runway, vertical launch complexes, and about 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, Boeing, UP Aerospace, EXOS Aerospace, and SpinLaunch.

About 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 primary focus is providing safe and exciting opportunities for academic groups to compete in aerospace challenges.

Media Contact for Spaceport America

Spaceport America
Susan Raitt
(575) 202-2464
media@spaceportamerica.com

Media Contact for ESRA

Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA) Lydia Berger
(832) 296-5661
media@esrarocket.org

Spaceport America, NM – June 27, 2019 –Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport and the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA), announced the University of Washington Society for Advanced Rocket Propulsion as the Champion of the Third Annual Spaceport America Cup. Champions were selected in each category, and the University of Washington team was chosen by judges from the group of category champions as the overall winner.  

From June 18–22, thousands of students and spectators flocked to southern New Mexico from all over the globe, creating an economic and tourism boost for surrounding communities as part of their attendance at the 2019 Spaceport America Cup. This year’s competition was the largest to date, with over 120 teams registered, including a large international presence from 14 different countries.

The weeklong event kicked off on June 18 at the Las Cruces Convention Center, where students displayed their rockets to judges and spectators, and had the opportunity to network with top commercial space companies and recruiters. From June 19–22, students competed, launching liquid, solid and hybrid rockets from Spaceport America’s Vertical Launch Area.

With over 90 rockets launched, the majority reaching their intended altitudes, this year marked more successful launches and increasing ingenuity from students, as well as continually improved experiences for spectators.

“We’re honored to have Spaceport America serve as the host site for the world’s largest intercollegiate rocket engineering competition,” added Dan Hicks, CEO of Spaceport America. “This competition showcases some of the brightest minds of Universities from around the world, and we know that the rockets launched at the Spaceport America Cup are the result of months of hard work and planning. As evidenced by their teamwork, dedication, innovations, and tremendous successes this week, the future workforce of the World’s space industry sector is in good hands!  We congratulate all of the 2019 Rocketeers and extend our deepest gratitude to the sponsors, volunteers, and those who traveled to New Mexico to be a part of the Spaceport America Cup.”

Following the final launch day on Saturday, June 22, students and spectators attended the 2019 Spaceport America Cup award ceremony at the Las Cruces Convention Center, featuring keynote speaker George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company.  He related to the students that they are entering the workforce in such an exciting and perfect time in the Space Industry. He added that while Virgin Galactic will soon pilot the spaceship Unity to bring more astronauts into space; the students at this competition will soon enter the workforce to develop unique capabilities and be responsible for piloting the spaceship known as “Earth” into the future.

Competitors competed in various technical categories of design, payload, and performance objectives. The winner from each of the six categories then competed for the honor of the prestigious Spaceport America Cup, which demonstrates exceptional excellence of achieving their performance objectives. A complete list of this years winners is below: 

Spaceport America Cup Champion:

University of Washington (Team 52), Seattle, Washington

Category Awards for the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition:

10K Commercial Of The Shelf Components:

First Place 10K COTS: University of Sydney (Team 06), Sydney, Australia

Second Place 10K COTS: ETH Zurich (Team 37), Zurich, Switzerland

10K Solid Rocket-Student Research and Developed Components:

First Place 10K Solid SRAD: The George Washington University (Team 01), Washington, DC

Second Place 10K Solid SRAD: West Virginia University (Team 19), Morgantown, West Virginia

10K Hybrid/Liquid Rocket-Student Research and Developed Components:

First Place 10K Hybrid/Liquid SRAD: Polytechnique Montreal (Team 40), Montreal, Canada

Second Place 10K Hybrid/Liquid SRAD: AGH University of Science and Technology (Team 02), Poland

30K Commercial Of The Shelf Components:

First Place 30K COTS: Georgia Institute of Technology (Team 24), Atlanta, Georgia

Second Place 30K COTS: ETS Montreal (Team 04), Montreal, Canada

30K Solid Rocket-Student Research and Developed Components:

First Place 30K Solid SRAD: University of Minnesota Twin Cities (Team 69), Minneapolis, Minnesota

Second Place 30K Solid SRAD: University of Minnesota – Duluth (Team 66), Duluth, Minnesota

30K Hybrid/Liquid Rocket-Student Research and Developed Components:

First Place 30K Hybrid/Liquid: University of Washington (Team 52), Seattle, Washington

Second Place 30K Hybrid/Liquid: University of Waterloo (Team 45), Waterloo, Canada

Payload Category Awards:

First Place: University of Louisville (Team 67), Louisville, Kentucky – Finely Engineered Folding Wing Autonomous UAV

Second Place: Stanford University (Team 29), Palo Alto, CA – Lysozyme Dialysis Crystallization Experiment

Third Place: The George Washington University (Team 1), Washington, DC – VIBE (Vibration Isolation B-field Experiment)

Honorable Mentions:

University of Akron (Team 68), Akron, Ohio – Surveillance System

Brigham Young University (Team 15), Provo, Utah – Cold Gas-Wind Rider System

West Virginia University (Team 19), Morgantown, West Virginia – Space Weather Thin Sat + STEM Partnership

University of Washington (Team 52), Seattle, Washington – Plasmo

University of Central Florida (Team 113), Orlando, Florida – Moondust Experiment

Clark College (Team 91), Vancouver, Washington – Ground Station + 3U Cubesat 

Team Sportsmanship Award: 

Winner: University of Waterloo (Team 45), Waterloo, Canada

Honorable Mention: University of Sydney (Team 06), Sydney, Australia

Team Spirit Award: 

Winner: Samsun University (Team 103), Turkey

Honorable Mention: University of Wisconsin – Platteville (Team 25), Platteville, Wisconsin

Honorary Awards:

Jim Furfaro Award for Technical Excellence: AGH University of Science and Technology (Team 02), Poland

Dr. Gil Moore Award for Innovation: The George Washington University (Team 01), Washington, DC 

Charles Hoult Award for Modeling & Simulation:  Georgia Institute of Technology (Team 24), Atlanta, Georgia

James Barrowman Award for Flight Dynamics: University of Louisville (Team 67), Louisville, Kentucky

The Spaceport America Cup is an annual event that will be held each year during the third week of June. For more information visitspaceportamericacup.com.

For pictures and broll of the event visit the Spaceport America Media Center: https://www.spaceportamerica.com/media/

Photo/Video Credit: Spaceport America.

About Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA)

The Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA) is a partner on the Spaceport America Cup and 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 they define as between “experimental” or “research” high-power rockets and sounding rockets capable of achieving space altitude, generally defined as 100 km. 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, has a rocket friendly environment of 6,000 square miles of restricted airspace, low population density, a 12,000-foot spaceway, vertical launch complexes, 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, Boeing, UP Aerospace, EXOS Aerospace, HyperSciences, and SpinLaunch. Visit https://spaceportamerica.com and http://gatewaytospace.com for more information. Spaceport America is #NewMexicoTRUE.

Follow Spaceport America on

Twitter: @Spaceport_NM

Facebook: @SpaceportNM

Instagram: @spaceport.america

Event photos and video: https://www.spaceportamerica.com/media/

Video/Photo Credit: Spaceport America

Media Contact:

Rosa Banuelos, Spaceport America

1.575.202.4524

media@spaceportamerica.com