The contest, which is open to students in sixth through twelfth grades, is sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), the National Association of Rocketry, and more than 20 aerospace industry partners including NASA, the FAA, and the Department of Defense. The event serves as “the aerospace industry’s flagship program” to encourage students to study science, technology, engineering, and math, said the National Aviation Hall of Fame—a congressionally chartered nonprofit based in Dayton, Ohio—in a news release.
Organizations eligible for the Spirit of Flight Award “serve a special need of the nation and set high standards for excellence in the utilization of aerospace assets,” the announcement said.
“The past awardees and the challenging criteria for this award put it among the most sought after in aerospace,” said National Aviation Hall of Fame President Amy Spowart. She added that the American Rocketry Challenge offers many benefits to aviation and encourages students “to consider and pursue careers in aerospace. It’s a win-win for our industry.”
AIA President Eric Fanning said that hosting the American Rocketry Challenge was an honor, and the award “recognizes our continued commitment to growing the next generation of aerospace and defense leaders. Year after year, we are inspired by the ingenuity and brilliance of our young rocketeers, and we cannot wait to see how they shape our future.”
The date has not yet been set for the award presentation. Past winners of the Spirit of Flight Award include historical groups like the World War II-era Flying Tigers (1999), aerospace icons such as the Apollo mission crews (2009), and industry leaders such as Boeing Co. (2016).