DSC_0200Adjusting a rocket payload, students prepare for judges’ questions during the first stage of the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC), now part of the Spaceport America Cup. Visit for information about the event and how to be there ($10 for one day, $20 for two or more). Bulletin Photos by Elva K. Österreich

One hundred fourteen teams with 90 rockets crowd into the Las Cruces Convention Center June 20 for a morning briefing before heading out to the Spaceport America Cup competition held by the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA). Rockets will be launching from the Spaceport’s Vertical Launch Site daily through Saturday, June 24.

DSC_0125Future rocket engineers receive further education and job opportunities, and get to play with some cool toys as event sponsors set up their tables.

Collegiate rocket creation teams, like this one from Switzerland, hail from several countries and numerous states.

Students and staff from a California community college proudly talk about their entry into the IREC. This is the smallest diameter rocket entered in the event, costing less than $1,000 to build. Many rockets in this year’s competition easily exceed $100,000 in cost.

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