Spaceport America Cup


Spaceport America Cup 2021

Join us as we host hundreds of the worlds most ambitious collegiate rocketeers in a one of a kind event.
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 2021.  Drawn by the opportunity to collaborate and compete at a world class spaceport facility, you represented the best and brightest from more than 150 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 could interact with over a thousand 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 together the thousands of moving pieces to build the worlds largest 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!


Challenge Guidelines

Guidelines for Spaceport America Cup - Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC) are hosted on our website! 

In particular, you'll want to review the following documents:

  • IREC Rules and Requirements Document
  • IREC Design, Test, and Evaluation Guide
  • Integrated Master Schedule


Challenge Timeline

Oct. 2, 2020, 12:51 a.m. PDT
Date Launched
Oct. 2, 2020, 1 a.m. PDT
This is the unofficial timeline. The official timeline is located in the released IMS document on our website at:
Oct. 16, 2020, 5 p.m. PDT
Team Entry Form Due
Registration and submittal of Team Entry Forms officially closes as of October 16th, 2020
Oct. 19, 2020, 9 a.m. PDT
Evaluation of teams begins and continues over the duration of the competition.
Oct. 26, 2020, 8 p.m. PDT
Team Acceptance Annoucement
Teams selected to compete in the 2021 Spaceport America Cup will be announced through this site, and also on the website and social media.
Dec. 11, 2020, 5 p.m. PST
1st Progress Report Due, Entry Fee Due
Deadline to submit Entry Fee and 1st Progress Report. All teams must submit this report by Dec 11th, 2020.
Jan. 21, 2021, 3:12 a.m. PST
You are here
March 5, 2021, 5 p.m. PST
2nd Progress Report Due
Deadline to submit 2nd Progress Report. All teams must submit this report by March 5th, 2021.
April 23, 2021, 5 p.m. PDT
Final Fees Due
$200 Entry Deposit fee is no longer refundable
On-time payment deadline for the $500 Rocket Fee
On-time payment deadline for the $50 individual Rocketeer Fee
May 14, 2021, 5 p.m. PDT
3rd Progress Update Due
3rd Progress Update Due
Project Technical Report Due
Poster Session Materials Due
Podium Session Materials Due
Spaceport America Cup Waiver and Release Of Liability Form Due
June 21, 2021, noon PDT
Rocketeer Check-in
Rocketeer Check-in
June 22, 2021, 6 a.m. PDT
Launch Preparations and Early Launch Day
Launch Preparations and Early Launch Day
June 22, 2021, 8 a.m. PDT
Conference Day Podium and Poster Sessions
Conference Day Podium and Poster Sessions
June 24, 2021, 6 a.m. PDT
Launch Day 1
Launch Day 1
June 25, 2021, 6 a.m. PDT
Launch Day 2
Launch Day 2
June 26, 2021, 6 a.m. PDT
Final Launch Day
Final Launch Day
Updates 14

Challenge Updates

Websites are back up and running

Jan. 6, 2021, 8:58 a.m. PST by ESRA VP

We are happy to report that the and website are both back up and running. Technical difficulties with our hosting providers. We apologize for the delays.

Tripoli Flyer of Record Requirement - COTS and SRAD SOLID teams only

Dec. 21, 2020, 6:36 a.m. PST by ESRA VP

This is a CRITICAL REMINDER - If your team is competing in the COTS or SRAD SOLID categories, please read the message below:


Beginning with this year's Spaceport America Cup (2021), COTS and SRAD SOLID category teams will be required to have a CERTIFIED FLYER OF RECORD onsite the view the launch and sign the flight card.  

  • Rockets in either category will be flying under Tripoli Safety Code and will require an appropriately certified high power member of one of the national rocketry associations.  
  • SRAD Solids must be Tripoli certified.  
  • COTS Solids can be either Tripoli or NAR certified.
  • If your team is flying on an M, N or O class impulse motor, you will need a L3 certified HPR person onsite with your team to be the Flyer of Record on the flight card.
  • If your team is flying on an L motor, you will need an L2.

ESRA Safety officials will be contacting the teams over the next month and will be confirming your team's status.  Certain international teams who cannot access a HPR association will be assisted by their ESRA Safety reviewer.  

NOTE - Canadian and Australian teams have access to many HPR certified rocketeers in their area.  If you have not already begun your search, you should do so immediately.

The following teams need to submit their 1st Interim Reports IMMEDIATELY

Dec. 18, 2020, 10:53 a.m. PST by ESRA VP

As of today, the following 11 teams have not submitted a 1st progress report:

"15 Idaho State University"
"77 University of California Los Angeles"
"91 George Mason University"
"13 Fort Lewis College"
"14 Gonzaga University"
"132 Stanford University"
Miami University (OH)
Edmonds College
"30 Pennsylvania State University"
"27 Norco College"
"68 Washington State University, Pullman"

This is the last day for submission, the form will be shut down today at 8pm pacific. 

CRITICAL REMINDER - 1st Interim Progress Report deadline was Dec 11th

Dec. 13, 2020, 9:41 a.m. PST by ESRA VP

If your team has not submitted your report, you are losing points each day that you are delayed.

The report is available on HeroX.  Check with your team leader to ensure your team has submitted their report.


1st Interim Progress Report now available - Deadline is Dec 11th

Dec. 4, 2020, 12:55 p.m. PST by ESRA VP

Please begin working on your initial progress report and submit it NLT Dec 11th.


Submit any questions via the HeroX forums.


Range Safety and Launch Operations team members will be reviewing these reports and will be contacting your teams with feedback.  Please make sure to respond asap to any questions they send you.


Hope everyone has a safe and wonderful holiday break!

-The ESRA Team

Forum 92
Teams 1.5K