Rio Rancho students to represent New Mexico at national rocketry competition

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE)- Students from one local school district will be representing New Mexico in a national rocket competition.

Flying hundreds of feet in the air, this rocket belonging to Team Sigma of Rio Rancho Public Schools is reaching to new heights.

They beat out more than 700 teams throughout the country to earn a top spot at the Team America Rocketry Contest.

“We painted it into a Zia symbol onto the payload because we are the only team representing New Mexico this year,” said Jeremy Long, a freshman at RRHS.

There’s something else unique about this team. Team Sigma is made up of two sets of siblings: Jeremy and Alli Long, and Aiden and Isabelle Weinstein.

Each one plays a specific role.

“I think of myself as the math guy,” said Aiden Weinstein, a sophomore at Cyber Academy.

“I am the data specialist you could say,” said Isabelle Weinstein, a 7th grader at Cyber Academy.

Their dynamic is what helped these students reach this point in the competition.

The world’s largest student rocket contest challenges middle and high school kids from around the country to build and fly a rocket.

That rocket must carry a raw egg at least 775 feet into the air. That’s about three-fourths as tall as the Eiffel Tower. It must land 41 to 43 seconds later with the egg unbroken. It’s a difficult process that took the students nearly eight months to perfect.

“You just have to make sure you get all the parts right. You have to make sure you get all the weight right. You have to set up a good payload system,” said Alli Long, an eighth grader at Lincoln Middle School.

Team Sigma will be leaving Wednesday, May 10, for the competition.

Members say a factor they’ll have to deal with is the difference in air pressure. These students are accustomed to flying in New Mexico at 5,000 feet above sea level. But, the students will be in Virginia, which is at sea level. This means they’ll have to adjust the weights.

Team Sigma will compete against 99 other teams at nationals. Top placing teams will split more than $100,000 in cash and scholarships. The winning team will travel to Europe to compete in the International Rocketry Challenge.

For more information on the team, click here.

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