Spaceport America Cup

Spaceport America Cup 2020

Spaceport America Cup 2020

The world's largest intercollegiate rocket engineering competition.
1st Progress Report Due, Entry Fee Due

Challenge Overview


Over 1,500 students and faculty will gather in Southern New Mexico for the fourth annual Spaceport America Cup in 2020.  Drawn by the opportunity to collaborate and compete at a world class spaceport facility, you represented the best and brightest from more than 70 institutions located all across the USA and around the world. 

Join us as we host hundreds of the worlds most ambitious collegiate rocketeers  in a one of a kind event. Part academic conference and part design-build-fly style competition, the Spaceport America Cup has something to offer students, faculty, industry representatives, and amateur aerospace aficionados alike.


The future beckons. 
​How will you answer the call?

Whether you are an academic, an industry representative, a retired professional, or simply a passionate amateur supportive of young minds who seek new horizons... there are many ways you may become a part of an event impacting the future of aerospace...

As a Sponsor...

You will meet with hundreds of talented STEM students from top ranked schools in a professional setting. You will see both them and their hardware perform in real world conditions. Furthermore, you will be helping make possible an event which helps make the best possible candidates for your company! 

As a Volunteer or Judge...

You will join the highly motivated team which brings order to the mess of small puzzle pieces required to build the worlds biggest collegiate rocket engineering conference and competition. From directing crowds to directing launches, and everything in-between, we need your volunteerism at the Spaceport America Cup! 

As a Student... 

You will demonstrate your hard work on an international stage, in front of hundreds of your peers, professors, and prospective employers. You will engage in design-build-fly style rocket and payload engineering competitions in a professional setting, at world class facilities, where the sky is not the limit!

Updates 23

Challenge Updates

New event for 2020 - Team Video Challenge

Dec. 22, 2019, 6:34 p.m. PST by Andy Berger

For the 2020 Spaceport America Cup, a new mini-event will be taking place for the best team video. Teams will submit a compilation video that includes onboard video footage. This video must be between 3-5 minutes long that reviews your team’s year-long journey to the Spaceport Cup, with a finale of your onboard launch video.

In this video, you should include the following

  • A good combination of photos, video and music:
  • Should clearly show a progressive timeline of your team participating in the design, build, test, travel and launch of your project
  • Any community outreach events
  • Answer the question “Why did your team enter the Spaceport America Cup competition?”
  • Answer the question “How has this competition prepared you for a future career?” 
  • Onboard video of launch at the Spaceport Cup - Not required but points will be deducted. 


  • Professional, entertaining, and inspirational 
  • Quality editing, transitions, artistic scenes, strong story line
  • Visual appeal (good combination of still photos versus live video)
  • Highly recommended to include the boost and recovery portions of the onboard launch video 


Videos must be submitted on a USB stick with your team name and ID number to the Launch Operations Information table no later than 9 a.m. on Saturday 6/20/2020. 


The top three videos will receive prizes at the closing ceremony. All videos will be played before and after the closing ceremony. The winner will have their video played during the closing ceremony.

2nd Reminder - $200 TEAM ENTRY FEES DUE December 13th (4 days to go)

Dec. 9, 2019, 7:52 a.m. PST by Andy Berger

We have entry fees from 26 teams so far (out of more than 150)...

Please do not wait until the last minute to submit these.




Attention all 30K teams: ESRA Ballistic Entry Tracker payload for your rocket

Dec. 4, 2019, 3:25 p.m. PST by Andy Berger

All 30k teams will be receiving ESRA Ballistic Entry Tracker payloads prior to launch.  This payload is a highly specialized (and very small) system for tracking incoming rockets which have failed to eject their parachutes and are returning in a ballistic, high speed trajectory. 

This system alerts us and allows us to predict potential danger zones for impact.    

30k solid COTS and SRAD teams should plan for including this payload into their projects.


For a detailed set of diagrams of the payload, click on the Resources Tab and select the ESRA Ballistic Tracking Package Diagrams

Online Design Reviews - Please announce these on the forums a week beforehand

Dec. 3, 2019, 6:24 p.m. PST by Andy Berger

Many of the judges and other teams my be interested in watching and learning.

Using Facebook live is a pretty easy and free option.


Reminder - $200 TEAM ENTRY FEES DUE December 13th

Nov. 30, 2019, 11:24 a.m. PST by Andy Berger

All IREC fees are located on this website:


The Entry Fee is necessary for ESRA to make down payments on facility rentals, equipment rentals, and purchasing of new equipment before the event. The deadline for payment of Team Entry Fees is Friday, December 13th.  Each team's Entry Fee should be paid as soon as possible/practical after submitting their entry form, and is refundable up until Friday, April 24th. After this date, no refunds will be given.

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