Spaceport America Cup


Spaceport America Cup 2023

Join us as we host thousands of the world's most ambitious collegiate rocketeers in a one-of-a-kind event.

This challenge is closed

2023 Spaceport America Cup - Closing Awards Ceremony

This challenge is closed




Over 1,500 students and faculty will gather in Southern New Mexico for the fourth annual Spaceport America Cup in June of 2023.  Drawn by the opportunity to collaborate and compete at a world class spaceport facility, you represent the best and brightest from more than 150 colleges and universities located across the USA and around the world. 

Join us as we host thousands of the world's 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 world's 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!


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

You'll want to review the following documents:

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


Challenge Updates

2023 Cup Mass Group and Team Photos

Aug. 8, 2023, 5:57 p.m. PDT by ESRA Executive Director

<As was posted on Social Media back on June 26th)

2023 SA Cup Group Photos We have the group photos and team photos posted. I am actively working on getting more media uploaded including video of the group photo from the drone. Please continue checking back. Also, ESRA now has a brand new Flickr Account!

2023 SA Cup Group Photos

Group Photos for the 2023 Spaceport America Cup

Lost Rocket information and recovery status

July 15, 2023, 11:08 p.m. PDT by ESRA Executive Director

Many teams were unable to recover their rockets during the 2023 Cup.  ESRA and Spaceport America have listened to your requests for assistance.  ESRA and Spaceport America staff are organizing a rocket search event in the near future.  

If your team was unable to find your rocket, the search team will need as much information about the predicted location as possible to localize a possible landing location. Maps and GPS coordinates would be very helpful and greatly increase the chances of success.  Photos of the rocket would also be very helpful

A special forum on the HeroX system has been set up for teams to submit their search information, and a description of the rocket, parachute colors, etc.  This information will be forwarded to the search teams.  Updates on search status will be posted in the HeroX forums.  

Any found rockets will be shipped back to the team.  Teams will be responsible for all shipping expenses.

Spaceport America Cup 2023 Scoring Updates

July 13, 2023, 8:40 p.m. PDT by ESRA Executive Director

ESRA received reports that some scoring anomalies were identified by teams for the 2023 Spaceport America Cup competition.  Upon investigation, we determined that some points were not properly assigned in all cases for some teams.  We have posted the corrected and updated scores on our website at  

In this update, Team 130 University of Minnesota, Twin Cities overtook Team 7 BYU by 1.2 points.  ESRA recognizes Team 130 for their achievement; however, the judges choice selection of overall Spaceport America Cup winner remains with Team 7 Brigham Young University.

Additionally, Team 118 - University of Canterbury now has more points than Team 22 - Ecole de technologie superieure (ETS) in the 30k COTS Category.  Both teams have done an outstanding job in their category and ESRA congratulates both teams as winners in this category.

Rest assured, our all-volunteer ESRA team takes these errors very seriously.  We have received a lot of feedback on ways we can improve our scoring accuracy and transparency to identify errors sooner for all teams.  These changes will be considered carefully as we look forward to the 2024 event.  Thank you all.


Cliff Olmsted

President & Chairperson

Experimental Sounding Rocket Association 

Ready to publish your rocketry project research? AIAA can help you!

July 3, 2023, 1:09 p.m. PDT by ESRA Executive Director

The best place to start for students and professors to get published is to have them go to one of the AIAA student conferences in the spring time. ESRA HIGHLY recommend this course of action because the opportunity for students to get published for the first time is exceptional - this program is designed to give students a leg up in the publishing world, so please encourage consider getting involved.

In particular, the non-US deadline is September, and the conference location is Australia.  US deadlines and regional conferences will be Spring 2024.

A note from Blue Origin - Our Lead Sponsor of the 2023 Spaceport America Cup

June 29, 2023, 12:10 p.m. PDT by ESRA Executive Director

<From Blue Origin>

Congratulations to you and your team for all the hard work that went into the Spaceport America 2023! 

We enjoyed connecting with you and want to invite you to stay connected with us so that we can let you know when our internship applications open and include you in our virtual events. 


To let us know that you were at Spaceport America Cup 2023, please complete this brief sign up form.

By registering, we’ll know that a member of our team connected with you and we’ll be sure to reach out with upcoming opportunities.


Congrats again and we look forward to staying in touch!


Mary Clements, Melissa Edwards, Maddy Jacobs, Raleigh Salazar & Emily Smith


University Recruiting