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

Team Acceptance Annoucement

This challenge is closed


Challenge Overview


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!


Challenge Guidelines

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

Spaceport America Cup Fee increases for 2023

Nov. 27, 2022, 4:49 p.m. PST by ESRA VP

ESRA and Spaceport America have worked very hard managing costs since 2017.  ESRA has completed a thorough review of our finances and we have determined that we must raise the 2023 Spaceport America Cup fees for the first time ever.  These increases will help to ensure the financial viability of the competition.

The Cup brings in income two ways; through student team fees and also through corporate sponsorships. Since 2017, our sponsorships have risen to cover the growth in our expenses. To minimize our expenses, the ESRA team is 100% volunteer and most of us cover our own travel and lodging expenses.

The ESRA Board has approved the following new fee structure for 2023 and moving forward:

Entry Fee: $300
Rocket Fee: $700
Rocketeer Fee: $75/student

Late Rocket Fee: $900
Late Rocketeer Fee: $90

Payment of the fees will be made through the website.   The links for payment will be activated as soon as possible.

Please stop contacting Spaceport America staff or website with questions about the Cup

Nov. 8, 2022, 8:47 a.m. PST by ESRA VP

All Cup questions must be submitted to the HeroX forums.

  Team Leaders, Update your teams about this immediately. 


Continued failure to comply with this simple process will lead to teams losing points.

My team has questions! Where do I get answers? What about updates from ESRA?

Nov. 2, 2022, 8:54 a.m. PDT by ESRA VP

ALL questions should be posted to the HeroX forums.  ESRA monitors these channels closely so you will get a faster response.


DO NOT send questions/messages to Spaceport America, in any method.  Whether directly to their staff or through their website, do not request assistance. Spaceport America staff will simply forward it to us which will delay your answer.


ALL CRITICAL UPDATES will be posted to HeroX.  ALL of your team leads (at a minimum) should have HeroX accounts and belong to your HeroX team.  Your HeroX account should be linked directly to your primary email account to ensure you receive critical announcements.  


Additional Updates will be submitted to all of our social media channels.  Please ensure that all of your team leads (at a minimum) are subscribed to our social media channels.

2023 Spaceport America Cup - Team Selection Announcement

Oct. 28, 2022, 10:31 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! NEW MEXICO BOUND!!!!

Out of 175 submitted applications, 158 teams have been selected to compete in the 2023 Spaceport America Cup.

HeroX, as well as website and our social media sites will all celebrate this announcement.

Based on feedback from student teams, ESRA will provide an email with details as to why a team's application was declined. This information will be emailed directly to the contacts listed in the application submission.  

Typically, application are declined for one or more 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 other 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, Mexico etc. are all fabulous opportunities to gain critical experience and expertise to enhance your application for the 2024 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.

For international teams seeking a formal acceptance letters, please send a request to

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

-The ESRA Team

2023 Spaceport America Cup Application Period is now CLOSED. Application Reviews are underway!

Oct. 20, 2022, 9:52 a.m. PDT by ESRA VP

Thank you to everyone who have submitted their applications.  Overall, I have noticed (with a few exceptions) much improved quality and detail level.  That makes our jobs so much easier to review.  


Rest assured that the ESRA Range Safety Leadership team have begun reviewing and evaluating all of the applications.   Formal announcements of the listing of accepted competing student teams for 2023 will be communicated out via social media near the end of October.


Teams (who are accepted) should be prepared for a lot of updates and changes.  The DTEG, Rules and Regs, processes and many other areas will be updated.