High-flying pupils' rocketry challenge
School pupils in Northern Ireland will get an insight into the aerospace industry and get the chance to win a trip to Paris Air Show or even to Nasa in a design competition next week.
The United Kingdom Aerospace Youth Rocketry Challenge (UKAYRoC) goal is to encourage young people to enter the world of aerospace, engineering and science.
UKAYRoC is the largest model rocket showcase in the UK with the top prize of competing in the International Fly-Off against the American, French and Japanese winning teams at the Paris International Air show 2013 and an all-expenses-paid aerospace trip to Nasa in Houston, Texas.
The challenge has been running in the UK since 2005 and in Northern Ireland is supported by ADS, the aerospace, defence and security trade body headquartered at the Bombardier factory in Belfast.
The challenge is to design, construct and successfully launch a rocket, carrying two raw medium-size hen's eggs, to reach an altitude of 800ft and weigh no more than 650 grams, returning the eggs safely to ground within 43-47 seconds using a single 15in parachute.
As well as perfecting their scientific and design skills, students have to work together in teams, just as aerospace engineers do and must also hone their business skills, having to meet deadlines and raise funds to participate.
Last year the team from Longstone Special School in Dundonald beat others from Victoria College and St Dominic's in Belfast, Lisneal College in Derry and Our Lady's in Newry to become the UK Aerospace Youth Rocketry champions. The rocket built by the team from Longstone reached an incredible 796ft, and pitted against international teams.
The 2012 winners of UKAYRoC were The Perse School, Cambridge, while in 2011 the UK team placed second overall.
This year the Northern Ireland final will be held on March 8 at the RLC Langford Lodge Engineering factory in Crumlin outside Antrim.
The schools participating in the Northern Ireland final are St Patrick's Academy in Dungannon, Longstone School from Dundonald, Victoria College Belfast, Lisneal College from Londonderry, St Dominic's Grammar, Belfast, Lagan College of Belfast, Ballymena Academy and Rathmore Grammar School in Belfast.