Would you like to fly for the USA in the rocketry Olympics? Here is how these Olympics work and how you can be part of one of the US Teams that fly in them.
The World Space Modeling Championships (WSMC) is the Olympics of model rocketry competition, held every two years. The NAR selects and sends a United States Junior (age 18 and under as of the year of the WSMC) and Senior team each time, to compete against national teams from around the world. The WSMC provides a unique teamwork environment where U.S. members compete for both individual and team medals in event teams of three fliers each (four if at least one of the fliers is female), with support from every other member of the U.S. Team not flying in that particular event. Each U.S. team member flies one or two of the eight events, and supports his or her teammates when they fly the other events. It is an amazing experience of camaraderie, teamwork, and interesting travel for everyone on the team, and their accompanying family members. The Apogee newsletter attached at the bottom of the page has a great description of how valuable this experience is for young students.
About 25 countries have teams that fly in international competition. International model rocket competition is organized under the auspices of the FAI (Federation Aeronautique Internationale), the international body for aerospace sport competition and records. Under their rules it is called “spacemodeling”. An overview of international spacemodeling is provided on the FAI web site (https://www.fai.org/page/s-space-models). The latest (2022) edition of the FAI Sporting Code for Space Models is attached below.
International spacemodeling competition events are somewhat similar to NAR events (streamer duration, parachute duration, scale, and others). However, FAI events have model dimension requirements that lead to models and construction methods different from what is normally seen in NAR competition. The requirements are documented in the FAI Sporting Code for Space Models (the international equivalent of the NAR Model Rocket Sporting Code). The Space Models code is underneath the overall heading for aeromodeling on this page.
A World Spacemodeling Championships (WSMC) has been held by the FAI about every two years since 1972 (a separate class for Juniors began in 1994). Since 1992 these have all been held somewhere in Europe, usually Eastern Europe – but that will change in 2023, when the WSMC comes back to the USA!
The eight events for a WSMC are defined in the FAI Sporting Code, are normally the same every time (with one important difference in 2023), and are the following:
- S1 – Altitude (S1A where the “A” refers to power class, 2.5 N-sec for Juniors; S1B, 5 N-sec for Seniors) (see S2/P below)
- S3 – Parachute Duration (S3A for Juniors and Seniors)
- S4 – Rocket Glider (free flight) (S4A for Juniors and Seniors)
- S5 – Scale Altitude (S5B for Juniors or 5 N-sec, S5C for Seniors, 10 N-sec)
- S6 – Streamer Duration (S6A for Juniors and Seniors)
- S7 – Scale
- S8 – Radio Controlled Rocket Glider (S8D for Juniors, S8E/P for Seniors)
- S9 – Gyrocopter (Helicopter) Duration (S9A for Juniors and Seniors)
- S2/P – Precision Fragile Payload (similar to TARC) – which will also be flown in 2023
The most recent WSMC, the 23rd for Seniors and the 14th for Juniors, was held in Buzau, Romania, October 2-8, 2021. The next will be held in the USA for the first time since 1992! It will be in Austin, Texas July 1-8, 2023.
The U.S. Team for a WSMC is selected by a flyoff process that is held at the opening weekend of NARAM one year prior to the WSMC. The flyoff is open to all U.S. NAR members. Bulletin #2 for the 2023 U.S. Team, attached below, has complete details on the team selection process for the US Teams (Junior and Senior) that will fly in 2023. The 2023 team-selection flyoff was held at NARAM-63’s opening weekend of July 16-18, 2022 in Springfield, Missouri. The information in this section of the NAR website shows you how to build and fly the models needed to compete for a spot on one of the US Teams.
In between the biennial WSMC, regional FAI-sanctioned international competitions called “World Cups” are held each year, each with 4 or 5 of the 8 WSMC events. U.S. FAI fliers use these to practice their skills in preparation for a WSMC or for the US team-selection flyoff. Of the 25 or so that are held worldwide each year there are typically two of these held in the US. See the links below for more information about international spacemodeling competition and the World Spacemodeling Championships.
If you would like to communicate with an experienced US FAI flier to get help in learning more about particular events or the whole process and experience of flying at a World Championships, use the list of FAI Spacemodeling Advisors below to connect with someone who is ready and willing to halp.
Use these links to find out more about how to be part of this fun and challenging rocketry activity.
- How to build for and fly in WSMC events
- How to try out for the next US Team
- US FAI Spacemodeling Advisors (Oct 2021)
- Traveling and operating overseas
- Construction techniques, technical information, and sources for supplies
- European motor information
- Past US teams – members and results
|Bulletin #2 - 2023 US Team Selection||February 21, 2022, 2:46 am||336 KB|
|Apogee Newsletter 558 (Oct 2021)||October 23, 2021, 4:48 pm||2 MB|
|FAI Sporting Code - Space Models (2022 Edition)||January 30, 2022, 1:03 am||385 KB|