Spaceport America Cup


Spaceport America Cup 2022

Join us as we host thousands 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 2022.  Drawn by the opportunity to collaborate and compete at a world class spaceport facility, you represent the best and brightest from more than 150 institutions located all across the USA and around the world. 

Join us as we host thousands 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!

Updates 5

Challenge Updates

For all Accepted Teams - Please update your HeroX Team Name and Logo on the Teams Page

Oct. 26, 2021, 8:26 p.m. PDT by ESRA VP

Here's the correct format:

Round Logo   University Name   Rocketry Team Name

All team captains should check their HeroX Team ASAP.


2022 Spaceport America Cup Team Selections

Oct. 25, 2021, 4:24 p.m. PDT by ESRA VP

Congratulations to all of the selected teams.  ESRA and Spaceport America look forward to working with you over the next 8 months and celebrating your launch at the Vertical Launch Area next June.   NEW MEXICO BOUND!!!!

2022 Cup Team Selections to be made Monday evening (~7pm CST).

Oct. 24, 2021, 9:12 p.m. PDT by ESRA VP

HeroX, as well as website and our social media sites will all herald the announcement.


150 teams have been selected, and 40 have unfortunately been declined.


Before the announcements are made, please be reminded that ESRA will not provide specific details to why an application was declined.  But rest assured, it was one of the following reasons:

  • Poor overall quality of the application, lacking detail, incorrect or missing data
  • Team lacked sufficient experience to safely design, build and launch a rocket in that specific category
  • Team did not follow rules and regulations or standards set forth in the DTEG

For teams who were declined, it is highly recommended that you seek similar opportunities to compete and/or launch in your region.  The number of international rocketry competitions has "skyrocketed" over the last 3 years.  Latin America, Australia, Canada, Europe, Turkey, etc. are all fabulous opportunities to gain critical experience and expertise to enhance your application for the 2023 Spaceport America Cup.  In the US, teams should look to compete in the Argonia Cup or any of the great events at the Friends of Amateur Rocketry (FAR) site in southern California.

For those teams who will be competing this year, ESRA is working hard to make this not only the largest, but the best Cup event ever held.  Over the next few weeks, there will be many updates and requests to student team leaders.  Please respond to these as quickly as possible to ensure your team is 100% prepared.

June is only a short 8 months away.  Get busy with your designing, building and testing! 

-Andy Berger


Launch Director, Spaceport America Cup

1 day left to submit your applications

Oct. 14, 2021, 5:56 a.m. PDT by ESRA VP

ESRA has only received 30 applications so far even though there are well over 150 teams in our HeroX teams section.


To answer a very common question - YES - ALL 2020 and 2021 teams (including those who rolled over their applications) MUST SUBMIT A NEW APPLICATION!


PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, do not wait until the last moment to submit these.  Don't miss out on this opportunity!

Greetings from the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association

Oct. 2, 2021, 1:35 p.m. PDT by ESRA VP

Welcome everyone!

I cannot tell you how excited we all are to begin working again on plans for the 2022 Spaceport America Cup!   This will be the largest and most exciting event we've ever attempted!


With the growth of the event, ESRA has noticed some possible issues with some of the groups applying.


As a reminder to everyone, the Spaceport America Cup is a COLLEGIATE competition. Each team must submit a School Participation Letter from school officials which validates all students are all actively attending the same university.  

  • Teams with high school students included are not allowed
  • <CORRECTED> Teams with students from multiple universities are allowed. However, the need for this must be consistent with significant geographic challenges of forming a team at a single school. No "All-Star" teams will be allowed.
  • Only recent graduates (for example, graduating in Dec 2021) would still be allowed to compete in 2022.


Forum 47
Teams 1.5K

Frequently Asked Questions

There has been a lot of confusion on this topic, even within the leadership of ESRA.  It's important that teams understand the following roles:

Team Mentor - ESRA HIGHLY RECOMMENDS all teams have a team mentor. This mentor should be considered an expert with experience flying high power rocketry projects similar or greater in scope to the rockets being designed and built by the team. 

  • The MENTOR does not have to be an employee of the university, but it is highly recommended that your mentor should reimbursed for time and travel expenses involved in supporting the team.
  • The MENTOR should provide active onsite supervision of all major design reviews, manufacturing and testing activities as well as participating in all launch operations by the team.
  • The MENTOR is not required to be HPR certified but it is highly recommended. The Mentor's expertise and experience should be substantial enough to be considered a senior technical authority.
  • The team's FACULTY ADVISOR can be the MENTOR if he/she is qualified to do so.
  • ESRA Range Safety Staff can be a MENTOR as long as they are actively involved with the team year round.

Level 3 Certified HPR Flyer of Record - The L3 Flyer of Record is a new requirement for all COTS and SRAD Solid category rockets beginning in the 2021 Cup.  

  • All COTS or SRAD solid rocket teams MUST HAVE an appropriately HPR certified flyer of record ONSITE at the launch who will be the official Flyer of Record.
  • This Flyer of Record must provide up to date credentials for an approved HPR certification that is accepted by TRA. A full listing of reciprocity certified rocketry organizations can be found here: 
  • The Flyer of Record DOES NOT have to be the TEAM MENTOR but they must be very familiar with the specific project being launched in order to sign the flight card onsite just prior to launch.

ESRA support for the L3 Flyer of Record requirement

  • ESRA acknowledges that many international teams (Europe, Middle East, etc.) have no ability to gain access to a L3 Flyer of Record.  ESRA Range Safety Reviewers will work directly with these teams to address possible options to have ESRA provide the L3 Flyer of Record.
  • Teams in the United States, Canada and even in Australia have access to a large number of potential Flyers of Records. ESRA cannot commit to provide L3 Flyers of Record for all teams.
  • International teams should MAKE SIGNIFICANT EFFORTS to find a local/regional Flyer of Record for their project.

No, but it is highly encouraged.  Critical communications and updates are provided through the HeroX platform.  If your team fails to monitor these official communications, your team may be penalized or removed from the competition.  Team leads and delegates are required such that entry, progress, and final reports can be submitted prior to the deadlines.

All teams MUST read the IREC Rules and Requirements Document as well as the IREC Design Test and Evaluation Guide available on our website at   


For any specific questions, post a question on the HeroX forums and an ESRA staff member will respond.

Yes, but it’s quick and easy. Just click the “Accept Challenge” button on this page and follow the instructions to complete your registration. All you need to provide is your name and email address.

The Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA) is a non-profit organization founded in 2003 for the purpose of fostering and promoting engineering knowledge and experience in the field of rocketry. ESRA's current focus is in the field of experimental sounding rocketry, which we define as roughly between "experimental" or "research" high-power rockets and sounding rockets capable of reaching space (generally defined as 100 km altitude).

ESRA hosts Spaceport America Cup - Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC) for teams from across the USA and around the world.

More information can be found at our website

ESRA hosts the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC) for student rocketry teams from across the USA and around the world. With a payload size of 8.8 pounds and target altitudes of either 10,000 or 30,000 ft. above ground level, competing rockets are typically 4 to 8 inches in diameter and 8 to 20 ft. long. Multistage rockets and all chemical propulsion types (solid, liquid, and hybrid) are allowed.

Beginning in 2017, ESRA's Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC) became the flagship activity of a new annual event called the Spaceport America Cup (SA Cup).

More information can be found on our website at

If you have a question not answered in the FAQ, we recommend that you post it in the Forum where someone will respond to you. This way, others who may have the same question will be able to see it.