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.
Project Technical Report 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

Updates 33

Challenge Updates

Poster Session Video Submission

June 9, 2021, 5:54 p.m. PDT by ESRA President

Teams, the Poster Session Video Submission Form is now live!  Be sure to add a youtube link for your poster session presentations as well as a list of team members who will be online for the Q&A session with ESRA judges.

ESRA is working on the specific schedule for presentations.  We are trying our best to accommodate international teams who are in different time zones.  We'll post the poster session and podium presentation schedule as soon as we finalize the schedule.

Just 9 days to go!

Kron Technologies Team Video Challenge

June 8, 2021, 3:01 p.m. PDT by ESRA VP

Get excited! The Kron Technologies Team Video Challenge is back for the 2021 Virtual Spaceport America Cup. Students must submit a 3-minute video with behind-the-scenes photos and videos of your entire preparation. Be sure to upload your video to YouTube and submit your video link to by June 11, 2021.


This is a fun and easy way to get your team some added recognition as we will be posting the video links to the ESRA social media feeds.  

Poster Sesssion and KRON Video Challenge Videos Due June 11, 2021 NO GRACE PERIOD

May 28, 2021, 4:30 p.m. PDT by ESRA President

All Teams,


We're excited to announce that 75 teams are competing in the 2021 Virtual Spaceport America Cup Competition! If your team has not paid for a team ticket yet, please do so immediately!  At least one team ticket must be purchased by June 4th or you will risk being eliminated.


There are several things to prepare for that I'll mention below:

  1. Poster Sessions Videos are required.  We'll re-open the submission form for these within the next week.  Youtube video links are due per the Integrated Master Schedule on on Friday June 11 1700 Eastern Daylight Time.  There is no 72 hour grace period for these!  We need time to review them and June 11'th only gives us one week.
  2. All competing teams will have one 15-minute live Q&A session with ESRA judges.  In order to make that happen, we must have names and emails of up to 15 students who will join the live Q&A session.  Names will be requested when you provide the youtube link for your poster sessions.  So start thinking about who will attend on camera, and start preparing your knowledge of your rockets.
  3. [Optional] KRON Video Challenge Videos - For those who want to compete for this challenge, your videos are due on June 11th at 1700 EDT, no grace period.  This is an optional challenge.

Project Technical Reports Due Today!

May 17, 2021, 6:29 a.m. PDT by ESRA President

Today at 5pm Pacific Standard Time (PST) is the hard cutoff for Project Technical Reports and Podium Session Abstracts!  Late papers will not be accepted so get them submitted asap teams!

[Corrected] It's Not Too Late to Compete (but will be after Friday) + News!

May 12, 2021, 11:04 p.m. PDT by ESRA President

Teams, the deadline is nearly upon us!  Your chance to compete in the 2021 Virtual Spaceport America Cup is quickly closing.  The deadline is this Friday 5/14/2021!


[Correction: Poster Session Videos are not due until June 11]

[Also, IREC Rules and Requirements have been updated to reflect some clarifications and small corrections]

The deadline for your Project Technical Reports, Podium Session Abstracts and Presentations, and School Participation Letters is also Friday 5/14/2021.  However(!), astute readers of the IREC Rules and Requirements Document will note the 72 hour grace period.  So if you're scrambling to get your papers done, you've got just a little bit of extra time >.<


In other news, Spaceport America has posted a podcast that I was pleased to be a part of.  Please share with those interested in learning about ESRA and the Spaceport America Cup Competition:


And finally, we're happy to announce that Veronica McGowan and Jameel Janjua will be joining our list of speakers for this event.  Both Veronica and Jameel are with Virgin Galactic.  Veronica is a structures engineer and Jameel is a test pilot.  Be sure to check the event agenda as it evolves so you don't miss out!


Forum 146
Teams 1.8K