Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition Winners to Celebrate at Astronaut Hall of Fame

The four national winners (age 10 to 18) of the 9th annual Reach for the Stars ~ Rocket Competition will travel with their families to Kennedy Space Center - Visitor Complex, Cape Canaveral, Florida to celebrate.
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March 15, 2016 - PRLog -- Contestants in the ninth annual Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition had to build and launch their own solid-fuel powered rocket at an event held in their area by schools, scouts, youth groups and Challenger Learning Centers. The closest average landing by parachute to a target after two launches wins. Local winner's results are entered into the national Competition.

The four national winners; Walter Eckenrod , Greg Hammock, Samuel Mansfield, Linda Jo Nutt qualify to celebrate on April 16th at Kennedy Space Center - Visitor Complex. They will get to launch their rockets from the field at the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame - only a short distance from Pad 39a where the Apollo and Space Shuttle missions launched.

The winners will also be presented a Space Shuttle Challenger commemorative medal with certificate signed by Astronaut Jon McBride. Captain McBride piloted the Challenger on her early missions. With their families, the winners will continue their celebration; seeing the Space Mirror Astronaut Memorial, standing in the world famous Rocket Garden, watching an IMAX movie, riding the Shuttle Launch Experience and visiting the new Forever Remembered exhibit - honouring the memories of those lost in the conquest of space.

Competition director, Jack Colpas says, "We promise the national winners - memories to last a lifetime and bragging rights for generations to come. Launching their rockets from a historical location and receiving a medal presented by an Astronaut allows us to fulfill our promise."

Walter Eckenrod competed in Missouri at North Kansas City High School under the direction of teacher, George Allen.

Greg Hammock launched at University High School in Orlando, Florida with teacher, Danielle Miller.

Samuel Mansfield won his local event while competing during a USAF STEM Camp at Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee. STEM Educational Outreach Specialist, Jere Matty was the Competition host.

Linda Jo Nutt took top honors while launching with Girls Inc. of Greater Houston. This Texas event was run by Assistant Program Director, Sarah Essaied.

Several companies have joined together to provide unforgettable memories for the national winners of the annual Reach for the Stars ~ National iaoqj Rocket Competition.

«  Gammons Charitable Foundation provided launch supplies to each of the host organizations.

«  DNC Parks & Resorts at KSC, Inc. is providing tickets to the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame and Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for the winners and their families.

«  Estes - the world leader in educational rocketry has provided each winner with $150 in travel funds and a rocket kit.

«  Hampton Inn - Cocoa Beach is offering discounted lodging.

Without the generosity of these businesses, this winners' celebration would not be possible.

Sponsors receive national recognition and the satisfaction of Helping Kids Reach for the Stars. More information is available at

Jack and Kathy Colpas, co-directors of the Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition are retired public school educators. "Our goal is to give kids the educational experience of building and launching a solid-fuel powered rocket. Our purpose is to foster an interest in model rocketry, STEM subjects and aeronautics. Our mission is to keep alive the memory of the first Teacher-in-Space, Christa McAuliffe."

Jack Colpas co-director
Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition
(941) 955-3958
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