University of Maryland wins world's largest college rocketry competition

a large group of people is gathered outside by a road for a photo. People in the front few rows are wearing blue. In the back rows, which number more than a dozen, many flags on poles are being held up, but they lay flat without wind.
2024 Spaceport America Cup group photo. (Image credit: ESRA Media)

The world's largest intercollegiate rocketry competition ends this year's tournament with a record-setting number of teams competing from around the world.

122 teams, composed of thousands of students at colleges and universities globally, traveled to southern New Mexico to compete in the Spaceport America Cup from June 17-22. 

Spaceport America and the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA) started the event in 2017 where students have to design and build a rocket that they can launch to target altitudes of 10,000 and 30,000 feet (3,048 and 9,144 meters).

"The continued growth of the Spaceport America Cup is a testament to the passion of thousands of students from around the world as well as the dedication by the staffs of ESRA and Spaceport America to put on a world-class event," Scott McLaughlin, Spaceport America Executive Director, said in a statement. "Being able to directly impact the future members of the space and aerospace workforce is something we are proud of, and we can't wait to see the growth opportunities which await our organizations in 2024." 

Participants in the 2024 Spaceport America Cup watch a rocket launch in the distance above Spaceport America in New Mexico.  (Image credit: ESRA Media)

Team 121 from the University of Maryland was the overall winner this year taking home the Genesis Cup Trophy. Past winners include Brigham Young University in 2023, The University of Sydney in 2022, the University of Minnesota in 2021, the University of Washington in 2019, McGill University in 2018, and the University of Michigan in 2017.

"It never ceases to amaze me how much energy these students bring to the event," Steve Taylor, ESRA President, said in the same statement. "The global community is one of the things we bring together for this event and I'm proud of what we have built over the years."

The full list of the 2024 Spaceport America Cup winners can be found here.

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Meredith Garofalo
Contributing Writer

Meredith is a regional Murrow award-winning Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and science/space correspondent. She most recently was a Freelance Meteorologist for NY 1 in New York City & the 19 First Alert Weather Team in Cleveland. A self-described "Rocket Girl," Meredith's personal and professional work has drawn recognition over the last decade, including the inaugural Valparaiso University Alumni Association First Decade Achievement Award, two special reports in News 12's Climate Special "Saving Our Shores" that won a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award, multiple Fair Media Council Folio & Press Club of Long Island awards for meteorology & reporting, and a Long Island Business News & NYC TV Week "40 Under 40" Award.