COLEMAN, Texas (KTAB/KRBC)- It’s T-MINUS 27 days until the Coleman High School rocketry team blasts off to Washington D.C. to compete against 99 of the nations best teams in the American Rocketry Challenge.

Physics Instructor and team mentor Gary Strickland says this team has put in the work and he feels good about their chances.

“Oh I’m confident with them because you practice like you play, right? So that’s the way we run our class I’m a mentor I’m a manager and the rockets that these students have built and the success they’ve had has been their success not mine.” Strickland says.

For the past school year the 8 student team has been designing, testing, and redesigning their rocket, preparing for anything the officials might throw at them.

“I’m feeling confident, we’ve had really good scores, we know what we’re doing,” says Coleman senior and 2nd engineer Chris Ely.

“We’ve been working really hard towards it and i think it’ll pay off,” Coleman senior and team captain Lukas Puryear says.

And though successful launch and landing is the ultimate goal, Strickland says it’s the skills they use to get there that he’s focused on.

“We’re not really trying to create aeronautical engineers. This is the class of ‘What do you do when you don’t know what to do?’ You have to have something to do research on, so I tell people that rockets are the sandbox we play in,” says Strickland.

While on their 4-day trip, the students will be able to sight-see in the nation’s capitol, as well as go on a contestants only tour of the Boeing facility there.

First prize in D.C. is hundreds of thousands in prizes and an all expense paid trip to London for the international finals.

Strickland says win or lose, he knows his team is in it for the love of the craft.

“We chose rocketry because it’s cool when it works and it’s even cooler when it doesn’t,” says Strickland.