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.
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 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!


Challenge Updates

Important update - NMSU Dorm Rooms - DEADLINE for Payment

May 18, 2022, 2:33 p.m. PDT by ESRA VP

Any team that has contacted the NMSU Dorms about reserving rooms for your team, you have less than a week to contact them and confirm payment.


Also, any team who has not confirmed hotel arrangements for their team, you should do so immediately.

Frequency and GPS Management Form - All teams must COMPLETE BEFORE June 1, 2022

May 16, 2022, 12:30 p.m. PDT by ESRA VP

This is a simple form and will only require a few minutes to complete.


Deadline to submit the form is no later than June 1st, 2022.


Davinci (Mission Control Center) will be reviewing each team for compliance with the COTS GPS requirement and coordinating frequency usage by the teams. Please use an email address that is checked frequently. The point of contact listed will be contacted via email. Make sure "" is not directed to your SPAM folder. THIS FORM MUST BE COMPLETED to ensure your team can fly!


Information you will need to complete the form

1. What types of tracker and altimeters are you using?
2. How many RF transmitters are you using and what are their frequencies and protocols?
3. Team number?
4. University Name?
5. Rocket name?
6. What type of inter-team radios will be used, if any?
7. Is your rocket multi stage?
8. Any team members having HAM callsigns or other FCC approvals
9. List of team members and their Tripoli Rocketry Association numbers
10. Information required to download altimeter data


There will be no extension of the Technical Report deadline

May 11, 2022, 9:22 a.m. PDT by ESRA VP

ESRA understands and appreciates the pressures all of the teams are experiencing.  Your requests have been professional and courteous.  But with that being said, ESRA will not be extending the deadline for this critical report.

We look forward to seeing all of the teams in New Mexico next month.  It will be the largest gathering ever for IREC and our 15th anniversary!

Congratulations to all of the teams who have made it this far.  Press on and do your best!



May 10, 2022, 7:10 a.m. PDT by ESRA VP

Continue to get a lot of messages from student teams stating that they have not received any feedback on their Interim Progress Reports.


PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE - If your email address is included as a contact on your Interim Progress Report, check your email system to make sure these critical emails were not caught in your SPAM folder.   This seems to be resolving about 50% of the issues reported.

Requirement for Project Technical Report "Weights, Measures, and Performance Data" Appendix

May 9, 2022, 7:15 a.m. PDT by ESRA Competition Rules


For this appendix, please include updated information from the following sections of the first and second progress updates:

  • From the second update: Rocket information
  • From the first update: Propulsion information
  • From the second update: Predicted flight data including charts as needed
  • From the second update: Recovery information

Note: For all of the above, please leave out the narrative/discussion sections.  Just include the numbers and charts.  

Bill Hanson

ESRA Competition Rules


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.