The Firefly International Rocketry Event, or FIRE 2019, is a match-type competition for model rockets from Ukrainian and American teams. They are among the strongest teams in the world, and at FIRE they competed in the 5 most spectacular and complex classes of rocket modelling. The event was held March 7-9. It was organized by Noosphere, Firefly Aerospace, the Ukrainian Spacemodelling Sports Federation, and the National Rocketry Association of USA.
Unfortunately, due to scheduling issues, the Ukrainian national team was incomplete at the event. It may be remembered that the Ukrainian rocket model team has been supported by both Noosphere and by Max Polyakov personally since 2014. At FIRE, only six athletes were able to represent the team: Denis Khmil, Olga Khmil, Serhiy Serdyukov, Valery Bidovsky, Oleksandr Radchenko, and Mykhailo Ryabokon. These athletes brought the model rockets with them from Ukraine.
As a result of the competition, the American team took over all the overall rankings.
In the end, the American team took the overall awards, but the Ukrainian team seized some awards:
- Valery Bidovsky took first place in S6A / P class (flight duration with ribbon)
- Olga Khmil took second place in S2 class (rocket models for flight altitude with loads)
- Sergey Serdyukov got the third place in S2 class (rocket models for flight altitude with loads)
- Alexander Radchenko got the third place in S7 class (multistage large-scale copies of real rockets)
Altogether, 18 rocketry athletes took part in the FIRE 2019 competitions.
Noosphere and Firefly are planning to make this a recurring competition and invite more countries, according to Michael Ryabokon, a co-founder of Noosphere and first VP of Ukrainian Spacemodelling Sport Federation. “We’re also planning to organize world championships here, at Firefly’s test site in Texas, in 2022,” said Mr. Ryabokon of the planned expansion.