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Sky's the limit for two schools in UK aerospace contest finals

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A Northwest Airlines plane takes off from Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport in Minneapolis Monday April 14, 2008. Delta Air Lines Inc. and Northwest Airlines Corp., squeezed by record high fuel prices and a slowing economy, are combining in a stock-swap deal that would create the world's biggest carrier. The boards of both companies gave the deal the go-ahead Monday.(AP Photo/Andy King)

A Northwest Airlines plane takes off from Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport in Minneapolis Monday April 14, 2008. Delta Air Lines Inc. and Northwest Airlines Corp., squeezed by record high fuel prices and a slowing economy, are combining in a stock-swap deal that would create the world's biggest carrier. The boards of both companies gave the deal the go-ahead Monday.(AP Photo/Andy King)

A Northwest Airlines plane takes off from Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport in Minneapolis Monday April 14, 2008. Delta Air Lines Inc. and Northwest Airlines Corp., squeezed by record high fuel prices and a slowing economy, are combining in a stock-swap deal that would create the world's biggest carrier. The boards of both companies gave the deal the go-ahead Monday.(AP Photo/Andy King)

Two Northern Ireland schools have made their way to the UK final of a competition aimed at generating interest in the aerospace, defence, security and space industries.

Pupils from Longstone School in Dundonald, sponsored by Denroy Plastics and Victoria College from Belfast, sponsored by New Breed Logistics are heading to the UK Aerospace Youth Rocketry Challenge organised by trade organisation ADS Group after success at the regional event held in Antrim recently.

The competition final will be held in Farnborough tomorrow.

UKAYRoC teams have to design, construct and successfully launch a rocket, carrying a raw medium size hen's egg to an altitude of 750ft in a rocket weighing no more than 650 grams, and return the egg safely to ground within 48-50 seconds using a single 15-inch parachute.

The challenge provides secondary school student teams of three to five members, aged between 11 and 18, with a realistic experience in designing a flying aerospace vehicle that meets a specified set of mission and performance requirements.

Students have to work together in teams, just as aerospace engineers do.

The challenge is not easy, but it is well within the capabilities of secondary school students with a good background in science and maths, and craftsmanship skills.

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Dr Leslie Orr, ADS Northern Ireland manager, said the rocketry challenge is designed to spark an interest in science, technology, engineering and maths.

"We are also very pleased that so many companies participated and sponsored local schools," he said. "This is about developing talent to grow the Northern Ireland aerospace industry."

The winner of the national finals wins an all-expenses paid aerospace trip and will represent the UK at the International Rocketry Challenge against the US and French winning teams at the Paris Airshow in June.


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