This week, Stowe Maries Aerodrome in Essex hosted the UK Youth Rocketry Challenge national final. Organised by ADS and sponsored by Lockheed Martin, the UK’s largest youth model rocket competition is in its eleventh year.

Designed to encourage teamwork, creativity and innovation, the UK Rocketry Challenge enables young people to gain practical insight into how science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects are used by the aerospace, defence and space industries. The competition demonstrates the value of studying STEM subjects which can lead to rewarding and successful careers.

The Challenge is aimed at students aged 11 – 18 from secondary schools, colleges and/or higher education to design, build and launch a model rocket with a payload of one raw egg. The rocket must reach 775 feet with a specific target flight duration of 41-43 seconds.

UKRoC had a record number of entrants from across the UK this year, with more than 500 students from 98 teams taking part in preliminary regional rounds.

Before parliament dissolved ADS held an event in parliament to promote to MP’s the importance of STEM and how to engage their local schools in the competition. Following this, many of the schools cited the that the reason they took part in the competition was due to promotion from their local MP.

This made for a highly competitive national final with just one point between first and second place, and the runners up closing following.

The Sweyne Park School team from Essex came out on top to become UKRoC’s National Champions 2017.

They will now go on to represent the UK in the International Finals in June at Paris International Airshow, competing against the USA, France and Japan.

The high standard of the competition this year was further propelled by Monmouth School; their rocket had 3D printed components and a camera attached to it, sending video footage back to the teams’ smartphones.

It has been great to see so many students engaged with and excited by STEM. For one of The Sweyne Park School team members, the Paris International Final will be his first trip abroad, demonstrating the opportunities that are possible as a result of engaging in STEM subjects.

You can read more about the competition on our Storify.