It's an out-of-this-world competition, and BYU Rocketry just won first place.
BYU Rocketry set the new Guinness World Record for the highest launch of an effervescent tablet rocket on December 12th after launching a rocket 883 feet in the air, more than double the last record set by University of Minnesota in 2017.
In addition to earning a Guinness World Record, the team was awarded $30,000 by Bayer for receiving top honors at the event.
The team set the record at the annual Bayer Alka-Rocket Challenge held at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Merritt Island, Florida.
BYU Rocketry was one of five finalist teams competing for the record, including California Polytechnic State University, University of Minnesota, Texas Tech University, and the University of Georgia.
Created by pharmaceutical and life sciences company Bayer, the competition challenges teams of college students to design and launch Alka-Rockets to new heights. Alka-Rockets are propelled by the chemical reaction that occurs when effervescent tablets are mixed with water.
The four members of BYU's team, Riley Meik, Mark Johnson, Alex Laraway and Zach Lawless, built their launcher and projectile in fall of 2018. When the projectile launched nearly 700 feet in the air, they knew they were in the running to set a Guinness World Record.
"We spend every day thinking about rockets," Rocketry team member Riley Meik said. "When we heard about this challenge we thought it was a great opportunity for us to not only work toward earning the prize money to fund future projects, but also to test what we'd already been working on."
Raymond F. Kerins Jr., Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Bayer, congratulated BYU Rocketry for their innovative work and new world record.
"This competition celebrates incredible collegiate talent and our next generation of STEM leaders," Kerins said. "It is amazing to see the imagination of these talented teams and the creative rockets that they generated....we congratulate all the finalists who participated and Brigham Young University for setting the new world record."
In conjunction with the Alka-Rocket Challenge, the Rocketry club has been writing about their experiences participating in the competition on the Bayer Blog.
Jordyn Crowley Watts
Bayer, BYU Rocketry