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.
Team Acceptance Annoucement

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

Updates 10

Challenge Updates

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

HeroX Team Updates and Communications

Nov. 30, 2020, 10:55 a.m. PST by ESRA VP

It is critical that ESRA can quickly and clearly provide communications to all competing teams throughout this event.  Our PRIMARY tool for handling this is HEROX.


To ensure your team receives these communications, you must have your student team members create HeroX accounts.  At a minimum, all leaders of your team should have accounts so that multiple people will receive any urgent updates should they be sent out.  Faculty advisors and Mentors should also have HeroX accounts and be part of your team.


Finally, please review the COMMUNITY area of the HeroX site:


Check to make sure your team is listed and that the team includes BOTH your team logo as well as the University Name.

Thank you!

So your University team wants to attend a High Power Rocket Launch

Nov. 24, 2020, 6:40 a.m. PST by ESRA VP

The Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA) recognizes that many student teams have begun seeking mentors and acquiring High Power Rocketry (HPR) certifications through organizations like the Tripoli Rocketry Association(TRA) and the National Association of Rocketry(NAR).  Student rocketry organizations are vital to the hobby and to the aerospace industry.  TRA prefectures and NAR clubs are very important to student teams for meeting mentors and flying certification flights and project launches. Here are some general guidelines to follow to ensure your visit is successful.  Please review these with your team before you attend a high power launch.

Before you arrive:

  • Use the NAR and Tripoli web sites to determine which clubs and prefectures are within your “local area”.
  • In advance of attending a launch, contact the club or prefecture and let them know what your plans are. Discuss with them your certification and launch requirements.
  • Make sure you and your team review and understand the NAR and or the Tripoli safety codes. 
  • Clubs and Prefectures have different membership and launch requirements. Be sure you understand them before attending the launch.
  • If you have a high-altitude project or certification attempts, make sure to contact the group at least a week before the launch.   The larger the project, the more lead time the group will need.
  • Make sure to have a packing list and flight prep checklists. Review them before heading to the launch. Follow them when preparing your rocket
  • Bring food and water for your group
  • Remind your team to dress appropriately for the weather and field conditions at the launch site.
  • Test your recovery gear, GPS systems, batteries etc.  Don’t get caught by surprise.

When you arrive:

  • Arrive early and offer to help set up the range.  Do NOT TRESPASS on other property without permission!
  • Check in with the club leadership before you start unpacking your own gear. Ask them where you can set up.
  • Pay any flight fees or membership dues needed.
  • Be ready to launch your projects.  Do not show up with half-built rockets and constantly asking other members to borrow items. DO NOT wait until late afternoon to begin prepping your rocket.
  • If there is an onsite vendor, please make sure to consider buying something from them.
  • If you or any of your members regularly attend this group’s launch, you should consider becoming members.

Before you leave:

  • Check out with the launch director and make sure there are no leftover items, concerns or questions
  • ALWAYS ALWAYS assist in putting away the launch equipment. Leave the site cleaner than you arrived!
  • Be grateful and appreciative for these clubs.  It takes a lot of effort to organize and run a HPR launch.

HeroX Community - Please update your Team's information

Nov. 12, 2020, 11:11 a.m. PST by ESRA VP

Click  the link below to access the listing of teams.  

  • Your team captain will need to correct your team name so that it shows the University and the Club Name (ex: Texas A&M Sounding Rocket Team).   
  • Begin adding your student leads and all students who intend to attend the Cup to the Team.
  • Ensure that your team logo and graphic are included.  We will be using these for our marketing, social media and online streaming.

Official Spaceport America Cup 2021 Participants Announced!

Oct. 28, 2020, 8:58 p.m. PDT by ESRA President

Thank you for your patience, it took longer than we had originally planned, but the team list is now up! Congratulations to the 150 teams selected to compete in the 2021 Spaceport America Cup!
The complete list of teams and team IDs is available on the Spaceport America Cup 2021 event page.

Here is additional information regarding the team selection process:

Criteria for team selection – This year, a small number of teams will receive unfortunate news that their team was not accepted. ESRA will not provide specific answers to any team but will instead refer to the following rubric:

a.   Complete well detailed applications, no empty fields, proofed and well worded (not due to language differences), strong and correct data, no vague references. Essentially, an application that looked well-prepared to compete.

b.   Teams competing in an appropriate category to their skillset. For example, 1st-year teams wanting to compete in the SRAD and 30k events, complex 2-stage rockets. These teams received very strict reviews to determine if they had the certifications, experience and mentoring needed to safely compete at that level.

c.   Only a single team chosen from the same school. To avoid having a school monopolize entry slots, ESRA strictly limits teams to one entry per school even if they are in different categories. Different campuses of the same school are acceptable.

“My team was not accepted. What options do we have?”

a.   Prepare for next year by developing your team’s certifications, experience and expertise. Many countries have HPR associations that will allow rocket launches and certifications. Use this to your advantage and make sure to include this information in your future applications.

b.   Develop a strong social media presence and keep it active with your group’s latest activities and accomplishments.

c.   1st year teams are HIGHLY encouraged to enter in the 10K COTS category. ESRA judges, volunteers and launch operations leaders recognize strong, qualified and safe teams from previous years.

d.   Unfortunately, there are no options for reconsideration for entry. Selections are final.

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