For Immediate Release

Shooting for the Stars: Bayer Launches Annual Alka-Rocket Challenge

Teams of university rocketeers compete for a chance to win $30,000 and break the current record of 883 feet

WHIPPANY, N.J., May 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Attention all university rocketeers who love rocket science and have dreams of being a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title holder:

Bayer has an out-of-this-world challenge for you.

For the third consecutive year, Bayer is launching its Alka-Rocket Challenge, where students compete to design and launch an Alka-Rocket for a chance to be the new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title holder for the Highest launch of an Alka-Rocket.* The challenge is open to teams of students that are attending a four-year accredited university in the United States.

This year's contest, which expects to attract universities from throughout the United States, will be held on Dec. 12 at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Orlando, Fla. Brigham Young University earned top honors during last year's Challenge when their rocket soared an impressive 883 feet into the air, earning BYU a $30,000 prize and a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title. The University of Minnesota also earned a $30,000 prize for the highest Alka-Rocket launch ending in a safe recovery.

"We are thrilled to bring this challenge back for its third year," said Raymond F. Kerins Jr., Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Bayer. "This competition challenges students to think 'outside the box' and apply basic principles of chemistry and physics to help design and launch a rocket. This program continues to highlight the talented young individuals we have pursuing STEM careers across the United States."

An Alka-Rocket is a model rocket often built using a 35mm film canister and propelled by the chemical reaction that occurs when effervescent tablets are mixed with water. Alka-Rockets are a staple experiment in Bayer's STEM program that are often used in science classes throughout the U.S. to demonstrate principles of chemistry and physics.

"The Bayer Alka-Rocket Challenge provides a unique and challenging stage for students to showcase their talents and hard work, while promoting STEM to fuel the next generation of engineers," said Machlen Polfliet, a member of the University of Minnesota Rocket Team.

An internationally recognized panel of judges will once again review the submissions and choose four finalists based on the design, execution and creativity of each rocket. The judges include: NASA astronaut and Principal of 100 Year Starship, Dr. Mae Jemison; Vice President of Quality for Bayer U.S., Karin Ann Payne and a NASA affiliated expert from Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. In addition to the three judges, there will be an official adjudicator from GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS to validate the heights of each competing rocket on-site at the final competition.

"The past Alka-Rocket teams have submitted some incredible work. The engineering creativity is impressive," Dr. Jemison said. "It is a pleasure seeing college students take a simple experiment done with elementary school kids and bolster it to achieving remarkable altitudes – literally. The Alka-Rocket Challenge highlights the ingenuity and commitment of university students. I'm honored and excited to be invited again to be a judge for this year's competition."  

The fifth finalist team will be selected through the public casting their vote from Nov. 4 to Nov. 15 to pick their fan favorite. The five finalist teams will be announced on Nov. 18. On Dec. 12 the finalists will once again travel to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for a chance to win $30,000 and break a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title.

"It was wonderful to be there last year and we are looking forward to smashing the record again," said Zach Lawless, a member of the BYU Rocket Team.

Teams have until Nov. 1 to submit their proposal by visiting Competition guidelines/rules and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are also available on the website.

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

Bayer: Science For A Better Life

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2018, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of 39.6 billion euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.6 billion euros, R&D expenses to 5.2 billion euros. For more information, go to


Carolyn Nagle
Bayer U.S.
Mobile: 201-419-0337

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