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Ping Pong Parachute

Division: C – High School

NC Essential Standards Alignment: Science as Inquiry

Event Rules: See National Rules Manual

Event Score Sheet: See National Rules Manual

National Event Page: Here

Required Materials:Teams must provide up to two rockets, unaltered ping pong balls, and parachutes. Parachutes may be attached to ping pong balls with tape only. Safety glasses must also be worn.

Clarifications: None


Prior to the tournament, teams will design, build, and bring up to two bottle rockets to the tournament to launch a ping pong ball to stay aloft for the greatest amount of time.


Teams must provide up to two rockets, unaltered ping pong balls, and parachutes. Parachutes may be attached to ping pong balls with tape only. Event supervisors must provide the launcher, air pump, pressure gauge, and timing devices. All rockets must be launched using the launcher provided by the supervisor. Teams may bring their own manual bicycle pump to use. This event should be held inside with a high ceiling (greater than 20 feet recommended). Tournament directors must provide the ceiling height and max psi to teams at least 1 month in advance. Launch pressure range is from 20 psi to 60 psi. Extreme care must be taken to protect the floor and ceiling of any inside facility used for practice and competition. In order to prepare for the event teams may need to practice outside to test in the higher pressure range.


See Rules

Common Mistakes:

– Be sure that the pressure bottle remains intact. Repeated testing and hard landings can damage your pressure bottle. Check it frequently for scratches and weak spots that may compromise the structural integrity, and replace the bottle as needed.

– You must have a data log to show the event supervisor or you will not be able to launch you rocket.

– If you remove the label from your pressure bottle, be sure to bring it to the competition or you will not be allowed to launch the rocket.


– This event only requires safety glasses, meaning the kind that look like sunglasses will work just fine. These are MUCH easier to see out of. Your local home improvement store carries cheap versions for under $4. Safety goggles (the chemical splash kind that most schools have) have a tendency to fog up, making it hard to see.

– For transporting rockets with less risk of damage, glue/screw a bottle cap to a cardboard or wood base and simply screw your rocket onto it to make it stand up. For added protection, place this entire setup inside a 5 gallon bucket to protect fins, etc.

– Angling your fins slightly to one side will cause the rocket to spiral on its way up, creating stability much like throwing a football in a spiral.

Event Resources:

How to Make a Parachute


2018 indoor Ping Pong Parachute launch