For Immediate Release

Brigham Young University Makes History, Sets New World Record in Bayer Alka-Rocket Challenge

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Dec. 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Brigham Young University student rocketeers blasted their way into history today, setting a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for Highest launch of an Alka-Rocket* in the 2018 Bayer Alka-Rocket Challenge.

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A panel of judges, along with a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS Adjudicator, affirmed the Brigham Young University team broke the record after the team's Alka-Rocket soared 883 feet into the air – a height more than double the record set by the University of Minnesota in 2017 – during finals held here today at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. In addition to the world record, BYU also received $30,000 from Bayer for receiving top honors.

Created by Bayer, the Challenge is an out-of-this-world competition to design and launch an Alka-Rocket as high as possible. Alka-Rockets are model rockets often built using a 35mm canister propelled by the chemical reaction that occurs when effervescent tablets are mixed with water. 

The Cougar team competed with the four other finalist teams from California Polytechnic State University, Texas Tech University, the University of Georgia and the University of Minnesota. More than 50 Florida-area school children were also on hand to witness history in the making.  

Bayer today also awarded the team from the University of Minnesota a $30,000 prize for the highest Alka-Rocket launch ending in a safe recovery.

"It has certainly been a blast being a part of this annual competition," said Dr. Mae Jemison, former NASA astronaut and the first woman of color in space. "My fellow judges and I are continuously impressed with the creativity, design, execution and commitment of each team to develop their Alka-Rockets."

"We're certain that each of these students will make their mark in science, engineering or innovation – the areas that are extremely critical for our country's success," she added.

In addition to Dr. Jemison, judges of the Challenge were Cliff Ransom, Executive Editor of Scientific American Custom Media, and John Hochheimer, President of the National Association of Rocketry.

Bayer created the Challenge to generate awareness about the country's need for more scientists, engineers and innovators. For more than 20 years, Bayer has had a longstanding commitment to science literacy and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education.

"This competition celebrates incredible collegiate talent and our next generation of STEM leaders," said Raymond F. Kerins Jr., Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Bayer. "It is amazing to see the imagination of these talented teams and the creative rockets that they generated with Alka-Seltzer effervescent tablets and water."

"We congratulate all the finalists who participated and Brigham Young University for setting the new world record," he added.

Alka-Rockets are often used in American science classes to demonstrate principles of chemistry and physics. For more than a quarter century, Alka-Rockets have been a staple experiment in Bayer's award-winning science literacy initiative in the United States.

*The official title recognized and recorded by GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS is Highest launch of an effervescent tablet rocket.

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Brigham Young University students prepare to launch their rocket at the 2018 Bayer Alka-Rocket Challenge.


Brigham Young University student rocketeers blasted their way into history today