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The Rocketry Challenge at the 2019 Paris Air Show: Team France ranked 3rd


The Rocketry Challenge international final, organized by Planète Sciences* and GIFAS**, took place at the Paris Air Show on June 21st and 22nd this year. Team France, which was backed by ArianeGroup (a 50/50 joint company between Safran and Airbus), won third place behind Team America and (2nd place) and Great Britain (1st place).

3D loom : carbon fiber

The Rocketry Challenge is an opportunity for middle-school and high-school youths to build a mini rocket that can fly, carry three raw eggs and return it to land intact. The rocket needs to climb to 253 meters (or as close to that height as possible) and stay in the air for 40 to 45 seconds.

The final, as usual, took place at the Paris Air Show. The French, Japanese, American and English teams pitted their mini rockets against each other in a bid to make the top of the podium. France was represented by Baril d'Humour 2, a team backed by ArianeGroup via Jeunesse Sciences Espace Passion (AJSEP), a non-profit.

Victor, a member of the team from Sud Médoc high school in southwest France, said at the end of the ceremony, “We’re a bit disappointed; one of our parachutes went wrong, it didn’t open properly, so our eggs plummeted.” His teammate Pierre added, “We should have put more work into protecting the eggs; that’s something we overlooked a bit.”

The students were nevertheless excited about the experience: “Besides consolidating our theoretical scientific knowledge, we were able to improve our English and learn to work more efficiently in a group.” The team, which won the French championship in Biscarrosse last month, adds, “We’re really thrilled to be here. It’s our first visit to the Paris Air Show. We’ve already decided to try again next year and we’re determined to win first prize!”


* Planète Sciences is a non-profit established in 1962, organized as a France-wide network. It aims to interest 8-year-olds to 25-year-olds in science and technology. It prepares modules dealing with astronomy, space, the environment, robotics and aeronautics, and presents them in schools, recreation centers and cultural centers (municipal culture departments, libraries, etc.).

** Groupement des Industries Françaises Aéronautiques et Spatiales, the French Aerospace Industries Association.