An all-girls team from Nazareth Academy in Philadelphia is one of 100 national finalists in the American Rocketry Challenge taking place this month at regional launch sites across the U.S.

In addition to competing for the title of national champion, teams will be competing for $100,000 in prizes.

Nazareth’s all-sophomore team, advised by Gregory Severino, previously competed in the national finals in 2019. The 2020 competition was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Nazareth will compete in the regional launch event June 13 in Virginia.

More than 5,000 students on some 600 teams from 27 states submit scores on their rockets’ performance. The rules require teams to design, build and launch a model rocket that carries one raw egg to three different altitude and time goals.

In the qualifying flights, a rocket must travel 800 feet within 40 to 43 seconds. In the national finals, the flight must be 775 feet within 39 to 42 seconds and 825 feet within 41 to 44 seconds — all with the rocket and egg returning to the ground intact.

The American Rocketry Challenge is the Aerospace Industry Association’s flagship program designed to encourage students to pursue study and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

In addition to the task of launching a rocket 800 feet into the air, teams competing this year had to overcome new obstacles created by the pandemic. From Zoom practices, virtual launches and calculations, to new distancing protocols and procedures, the 2021 finalists overcame challenges as future engineers and problem solvers.