The Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) Club

Students at The Vanguard School design, build, and fly low-power model rockets (as defined by the National Association of Rocketry, NAR) as part of the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) and Sport Model Rocketry Club.  TARC is a yearly competition where teams attempt to fly rockets with specific design and performance parameters (e.g., to specific altitudes with a particular payload).  The rockets are constructed from light-weight materials, such as cardboard, wood, and plastic, and recover under a parachute.  Sport rocketry involves non-competitive model rocket building and flying.  Students who have never built a model rocket are encouraged to begin in sport rocketry.  If desired, students may move to the TARC competition teams as they gain additional experience, or they may continue in sport rocketry to enjoy the hobby without competition.  TARC team dues and associated fundraising provide build supplies, electronics, and motors.  Students new to model rocketry will be given supplies to build and fly two simple rockets.  After these first two rockets, students will be responsible for purchasing their own model rocket kits and motors from local hobby shops or via mail order.

Grade Levels Eligible

Students in grades 7-12 are eligible to participate in TARC.


Rocketry has two levels of membership.

a student of the vanguard school building a rocket in the tarc club

  • TARC

Intended for experienced rocketeers who will be building and flying advanced model rocket designs using higher-power motors and on-board electronics to control the flight.

  • Sport Model Rocketry

Intended for beginner rocketeers who wish to build and fly model rocket kits without being part of the competition teams.

Rocketry at The Vanguard School

Rocketry provides a wonderful opportunity for students interested in flight and engineering.  The construction, design, and process of building a rocket equipped students with problem-solving skills and provide a unique experience of leadership and team collaboration.  Rocketry is mentally challenging, fun, and can be highlighted on a student’s college application.  We have competed every year that the national finals has run.  We have sent more teams to finals than any other program in the state over that time.  Our school’s best finish was 5th in the nation in 2008.  That team went on to complete in the NASA SLI program in 2009, and their rocket hangs in the library.

Recent achievements include:

2019 – We were one of two Colorado schools (one of three in all of the mountain west region) to make the 100-team cut from over 800 teams for the national finals.

2018 – We were one of three Colorado teams to compete in the national finals.  We finished 13th in the nation and won a special award for “most innovative approach to mission” from Raytheon Corp. High school team.

2016 – We sent a team of junior high students to national finals where they finished 13th in the nation.

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