La Verne rocketry team heading to NASA

Cadets from Civil Air Patrol Squadron 64 (L-R) chief master sergeant Michael Hurwitz, senior airman Lyle Mideiros, staff sergeant Ivan Alfaro, and airman first class Luke Desrosiers, were part of the team that finished 12th at the recent American Rocketry Challenge national finals in Virginia. Not pictured are airman first class Malia Torres and airman first class Gabriella Torres. Photo/courtesy of Raegan Gall

The Rocket Ducks rocketry team of young cadets from La Verne’s Civil Air Patrol Squadron 64, finished 12th out of 100 teams from across the country at the May 19 national finals of the American Rocketry Challenge, the world’s largest student rocketry competition.

More than 5,000 students from 922 teams in 45 states competed overall.

With the 12th place showing at Great Meadow Foundation in Virginia the Rocket Ducks secured an invitation to participate in NASA’s Student Launch initiative. It was the team’s first top 25 finish.

“This was our fourth invitation to the National Finals and our best performance to date,” said Captain Doug Stahl, assistant aerospace education officer, Civil Air Patrol Brackett Composite Squadron 64. “We’re very proud of our cadets and their accomplishments.”

The finish follows months of preparation and testing of a rocket capable of meeting mission parameters set by the Aerospace Industries Association, National Association of Rocketry, and more than 20 industry partners who sponsor the contest. To qualify for the finals, participating teams designed, built, and launched model rockets that could safely carry a payload of one raw egg with a target flight duration of 43 to 46 seconds at an altitude of 820 feet.

Full results from the competition are at


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