Join us this summer for an incredible engineering challenge!

The Opportunity. During a six-week challenge program, learn about the science of sounding rockets for environmental data collection. While working as teams in our lab in Vista, design a rocket and electronics payload, predict flight performance, and run experiments to test your predictions. Learn the engineering design process with a hands-on approach to solve the challenge problem.

The Challenge. Design, build and fly a rocket with the best environmental and flight data collection. Final exam: launch at the Rocketry Organization of California launch site in Lucerne Valley, CA on August 12.

The Prize. In addition to having the most awesome resume item for your college applications to make you stand out from the competition, the winning team will receive a six-month scholarship membership at Open Source Maker Labs to continue engineering research projects.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How does the program work?

Students that sign up for the challenge will work at OSML in teams of two to design, build and fly an amateur rocket with electronic sensors to collect environmental and flight data. At the end of the six-week challenge, teams will launch their rockets as part of a scheduled launch day with the Rocketry Organization of California at their launch site in Lucerne Valley, CA. The team with the best final design and recorded data wins the challenge prize.

  • Learn the science behind rockets and remote sensing of the environment

  • Design and build a working rocket with an electronics sensor payload

  • Test your prototype in the lab

  • Launch your rocket and collect data

  • Analyze the results

2. What are the dates and times for the program?

The program runs for six weeks, from July 11 through August 17. Guided instruction and lab sessions are held Tuesdays and Thursdays of each week from 1 to 4 PM. Students participating in the challenge will also have access to OSML as regular members during our open hours to continue to work on their project.

3. What’s the challenge prize for the competition?

A six-month scholarship as a student member at OSML - to design , build and test your next project.

4. What's included?

A $200 budget for each participant for materials and supplies, classroom instruction periods and guided lab sessions.


  • Intro to amateur rocketry

  • Physics

  • Telemetry

  • Remote sensing

  • Aerospace engineering

  • OpenRocket design and simulation software

Hands-on labs:

  • Soldering & electronics

  • OpenRocket lab (design)

  • Rocket building session (x2)

  • Static fire test design

  • Static fire test lab

  • Desert range launch (Saturday, Aug 12)

5. What’s not included?

Transportation to and from the launch site in Lucerne Valley (a perfect opportunity for a family outing!)

6. What are the criteria to win the challenge?

Several factors will be evaluated to determine the winning team:

  • Best flight performance

  • Best data collection

  • Best engineering design (cost vs. performance)

  • Best project documentation

7. What is the cost of the program?

$1600 for the six-week program, including all materials and supplies.

8. What are the age limits for the challenge?

Ages 14 - 22.

8. Where do I register for the challenge?

Sign up for the challenge here.