Northern Ireland's top students are being called upon to reach for the stars and compete in the UK's largest youth rocket competition. Students aged 11 – 18 are invited to enter the UK Youth Rocketry Challenge (UKRoC), with the national champions going forward to take on the USA, France and Japan in an international fly-off.


UKRoC enables young people to gain practical insight into how science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects are used by the aerospace and space sectors.


Paul Everitt, Chief Executive of ADS Group, organisers of UKRoC said: "The UK's space and aerospace industries are renowned for innovation and leading-edge technology, and the UK Youth Rocketry Challenge is a great way for students to explore how science, technology, engineering and maths can be applied in these exciting sectors.


"Global demand in these industries show no sign of slowing, with a collective £33bn in UK exports in 2016 but the space and aerospace sectors' future success relies upon the next generation of engineers. There is a wealth of challenging, high-skill, high-wage careers for young people with good qualifications in science, technology, engineering and maths, who take part in competitions like UKRoC.


"Last year, national champions The Sweyne Park School came close to knocking the reigning international champions Team USA off the top spot at Paris International Air Show. It would be fantastic to see a team from Northern Ireland bring the international champions title home after competing in the international final at Farnborough International Airshow 2018".


UKRoC involves the design, build and launch of a model rocket with the aim of ensuring the 'passengers' - two raw eggs - remain intact throughout the launch and landing. The rocket must reach 800 feet with a specific target flight duration of 41-43 seconds. Rules governing the competition are altered every year to ensure old designs can't be repeated.


Teams across the UK compete regionally to qualify for the national finals with the winners representing the UK in a fly off against teams from the USA, Japan and France at Farnborough International Airshow in July 2018.


Sponsored by Lockheed Martin UK, UKRoC has strong support from the aerospace, defence and space industries as well as from MPs and famous faces such as the UK's celebrated astronaut Major Tim Peake. Last year's competition saw a record number of entrants to the competition, with more than 500 students from 98 teams across the UK taking part.


Companies such as Bombardier are major employers in Northern Ireland, supported by supply chains throughout the region. UKRoC is a great introduction to the skills used by many of these organisations which provide high-value and well paid careers locally.


Peter Ruddock, Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin said: "Lockheed Martin is supportive of the UK Government's ambition to grow the space industry and improve the STEM talent pool to find the next generation of British innovators, engineers and space explorers. We are proud to sponsor the UK Youth Rocketry Challenge as it is a great event to inspire young people in a fun and engaging way to consider careers involving science, technology, engineering and maths."

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