2016 Rocketry Challenge : a look back at the french national finals at the Safran Museum

For the fourth year running, in partnership with Planète Sciences*, the Safran Museum in Villaroche hosted the French national finals of the Rocketry Challenge - and its 150 participants - on June 4 and 5, 2016. The winners will take part in the international finals held at the Farnborough Air Show on July 13 and 14.

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A total of 34 teams qualified for the 2016 national finals in Villaroche. Among these, 10 were supported by Group employees. The finals took place over two stages: an initial selection round involving all the teams took place on Saturday, then the six finalists launched their rockets again on Sunday afternoon to decide the ultimate winner. The day was followed by a scientific presentation.

In the end, it was the "Dragibus" team from Collège des Vallées in La Garenne-Colombes (Greater Paris area) sponsored by Charles Montez (Safran Engineering Services) that came out on top at the end of the weekend's competition.
Another team from the Collège des Vallées, also supported by Charles Montez, took second place in the national rankings. The "Les Futuristes" team from the Collège la Grange du Bois from Savigny-le-Temple (Greater Paris area), sponsored by Elric Frémont (Safran Aircraft Engines and head of the Youth Forum of the Association of Friends of the Safran Museum), took fourth place. Overall, it was a very good year for the Safran mentors and their teams.

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Inspiring vocations among young people The Rocketry Challenge is an international competition for teams from high schools and middle schools. This year, the teams had to design, build and fly a mini-rocket, which had to be longer than 65cm. The rockets had to fly to a height of exactly 259m, with the flight time lasting between 44 and 46 seconds, and then use a parachute to return to Earth in one piece.

The rockets carried two raw eggs, which had to be intact upon landing or else the team was disqualified. The GIFAS**, the CNES***, the SYMPAV**** and the Seine and Marne Departmental Council were also partners to the event.

For this event, the teams at the Safran Museum and volunteers from Planète Sciences joined forces to welcome and assist the participants - about 150 pupils - and to supervise and launch the mini-rockets. As a partner to the competition, Safran became involved in the Rocketry Challenge to promote science and aeronautical engineering among young people.

The competition has become increasingly successful since it started (10 teams took part in 2010, and over 34 teams this year), and more and more engineers from the Group are involved in supporting the teams of young people.


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At the end of the day, Dominique Beaufrère, the Director of the Safran Museum, explained that, while the Museum's and the AAMS' role was obviously to keep historical records about the Group and conserve its heritage, "one of its key objectives is also to support young people and their scientific projects, such as the Rocketry Challenge, in order to inspire professional vocations, because the aeronautics and space industry need talented people!" 

*Planète Sciences is a national association created in 1962, and organized as a network. Its aim is to encourage young people - from 8 to 25 years old - to discover and get involved in science and technology. It develops modules on astronomy, space, the environment, robotics and aeronautics, and presents them in educational structures (schools, leisure centers, etc.) or cultural centers (local-area cultural departments, libraries, etc.).

**Groupement des Industries Françaises Aéronautiques et Spatiales (French Aerospace Industries Group)

***Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (French Space Agency)

**** Syndicat Mixte du Pôle d'Activités de Villaroche (Joint Union of the Villaroche Business Park)


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