From the sands to the sky, New Mexico launched one of its BIGGEST events of the year! From Monday to Saturday last week, teams from all over the globe came to New Mexico to compete in the 2024 Spaceport America Cup at Spaceport America. They began the competition on June 18 at the Las Cruces Convention Center to present their designs and show off their hard work.

There was a total of 152 teams that traveled here from all over the country including Duke, Princeston, and Cornell Universities. New Mexico State University and New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology are just a few from the state that showed up to launch their rockets! New Mexico even welcomed teams from Canada and Mexico and other teams from countries as far as Brazil, India, the Philippines, and more. With so many participants, local hotels became so full that NMSU opened the dorm rooms for teams to stay in during their time at Spaceport America.

The Lead Engineer for the Atomic Aggies, Aryanna Llanez, who is one of many female leaders in the competition, stated that they had begun building their rocket in August of 2023 and worked on it up until the competition with test launches in between. The Aggies named their rocket “3-Pete”, referencing their mascot Pistol Pete, their two consecutive Chile Cup wins from 2022 and 2023, and their ambition to win it for a third time in 2024. The Chile Cup is local competition within the Spaceport America Cup that only involves teams from New Mexico along with the team from UTEP.

Atomic Aggies

Teams began launching their rockets Wednesday, June 19 at the Spaceport and continued until Saturday afternoon. These rockets may be small scale, but they can still reach the same heights as a commercial airplane. At the launch site you could feel the anticipation from teams eager to set their rocket into the skies and spectators thrilled to watch and support the spectacle. Each time a rocket left the ground there was a shared enthusiasm all around. Throughout the launches the teams have faced delays and harsh weather conditions such as the heat, wind, and rain which had organizers scrambling late Wednesday and early Thursday. Sportsmanship is a major part of the Spaceport America Cup. Teams could be seen assisting organizers in setting up, cleaning, and handing out some of their own water and other hydrating beverages. Spaceport America Cup Intercollegiate Experimental Rocket Competition is a public event held here in Southern New Mexico every year. The competition concluded with UNM winning the Chile Cup and the Genesis Cup Trophy going home with the University of Maryland making them the overall winners of the 2024 Spaceport America Cup.

For a more firsthand look at the teams experiences go to .


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