Metro teen’s passion for rockets earns him recognition from Kennedy Space Center

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NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The sky is the limit for one North Kansas City High School 11th grader with a love of rockets. He launched his way to the top after winning a national rocket competition.

He was to accept an aware at the Kennedy Space Center but unfortunately, he wasn't able to go.

17-year-old, Walter Eckenrod started building rockets last year and since then, his passion has only soared higher.

“It’s pretty fun to build rockets and everything,” he said.

Eckenrod doesn’t let his autism stop him from soaring to the top. He received top honors with his rocket in the Reach for the Stars – National Rocket Competition. The competition requires the rocket to land as close as possible to a target that’s 50 yards away from the launch site.

The winners will test their rockets at the Kennedy Space Center. But he won’t be there. Eckenrod is recovering from a recent car accident.

“I feel bummed out. Really wanted to go,” said Eckenrod.

Though he won’t get to travel, the school plants to set up an assembly to celebrate his achievements.