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.

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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

MAPS MAPS and MORE MAPS!!!!! Finding your way to Spaceport America Vertical Launch Area can be a challenge

March 24, 2023, 8:27 p.m. PDT by ESRA VP


All of the major mapping systems (like Apple Maps and Google Maps) will get you lost on back roads which don’t really exist.

From HEROX, click on the RESOURCES tab for two detailed MAPS on how to get to the Spaceport America Vertical Launch Area.  

Maps are specific to departing from Las Cruces or from Truth or Consequences, NM

This only applies to the Vertical Launch Area for Wednesday through Saturday launches.

Spaceport America will attempt to put signs up along roadways for the first few days

Radio Frequency Management - IMPORTANT NOTICE TO ALL TEAMS - Your response is required

March 19, 2023, 12:54 p.m. PDT by ESRA VP

If your team uses ANY RADIO FREQUENCIES, such as:

  • GPS systems
  • Radios
  • Rocket Telemetry
  • UAV/Drone/UAS

You MUST complete this form for frequency allocation.


Failure to submit this form and keep your frequency allocation updated up until launch date can lead to point deductions, delayed launch windows and possibly removal from the competition.

Great Workshops for US and International Aerospace Careers

March 16, 2023, 8:12 a.m. PDT by ESRA VP

There is still time to sign up ahead of the first session this weekend!

May be an image of ‎text that says '‎Session 1: March 18, 2023 11:00 A.M. EST Topic: Astropreneurship ۔ssion 2: April 2023 11:00 A.M. EST Topic: Resume Building Session 3: April 15, 2023 11:00 A.M. EST Topic: Future Careers In Aerospace Session 4: April 29, 2023 11:00 A.M. EST Topic: How To Build Relationships With Your Local Spaceport. PARTNERSHIP BY: PATHWAYS WORKSHOP SERIES SPACEPORTAMERICA' GLOBAL SPACEPORT ALLIANCE‎'‎

2023 Policy for Drones/UAV/UAS at the Spaceport America Cup

March 12, 2023, 2:42 p.m. PDT by ESRA VP

As ESRA has mentioned previously, there are some pretty significant changes in the policy for allowing drones/UAS/UAV to operate at the Vertical Launch Area of Spaceport America.  These changes were in response to rule changes made by the Federal Aviation Administration and the state of New Mexico.


The following UAS rules apply to all UAS including deployed, rocket-launched UAS that have their own power source:

  1. UAS Pilots are required to have an active FAA Part 107 certificate. FAA Part 107 certificates will be verified at convention center check-in.
  2. Any UAS flight must be covered by at least $1 million general liability insurance (personal injury, death and property damage). This policy must be specific to the drone flight and not included in home owners or general insurance policies. Proof of this insurance must be presented to ESRA during registration on Monday, June 19th.
  3. Any UAS deployed from a rocket will have a max altitude CONOPS target of 10,000 ft. A margin of 3,000 ft is included so an ABSOLUTE maximum altitude of 13,000 ft AGL.
  4. All UAS flights must coordinate with Drone Operations (Near LCO) prior to launching.  
  5. Any UAS with CONOPS exceeding 400 ft will be required to coordinate RF frequencies in advance


Any UAS violating operations rules will block our ability to continue launching rockets and will be subject to possible disqualification of the team and removal from the site.  This would include teams who launch a micro drone from the student canopy area to get some video. Don't be the team that let a small indiscretion ruin the entire week for the team.

Pathways to Aerospace Careers Workshop

March 4, 2023, 7:58 a.m. PST by ESRA VP

In partnership with the Global Spaceport Alliance, Spaceport America will host a Pathways Workshop Series to introduce students to global spaceports and navigate a pathway into aerospace careers.

Topics will range from Astropreneurship - how to be an entrepreneur in aerospace, resume building, future careers in aerospace and how to build relationships with your local spaceport!

For more information or to register for free, visit