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Get Ready for Rocket Day!


Get Ready for Rocket Day! Janet & Charles Hoult Assured Space Access Technologies, Inc. (ASAT) 2008 AIAA Passport to the Future Teacher Workshop – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Get Ready for Rocket Day!

Get Ready for Rocket Day!
  • Janet Charles Hoult
  • Assured Space Access Technologies, Inc. (ASAT)
  • 2008 AIAA Passport to the Future Teacher Workshop
  • 21-22 July 2008
  • Hartford, CT

So, Whats a Rocket Day?
  • Objective is to encourage students to consider a
    career in science, technology, engineering or
  • A Rocket Day is a school-sponsored coming
    together of rocket enthusiasts to fly their model
  • Rocket Days sometimes include competitive events
  • Team America Rocketry Challenge
  • Coming closest to predicted apogee altitude
  • Type of rocket flown depends on student grade
  • Grades 3-5 fly water rocketscompressed air
    drives water from soft drink bottles converted to
  • Grades 6-9 fly small solid rockets
  • Grades 10-12 fly larger solid rockets
  • Rocket Day includes many activities
  • Classroom instruction on rocketry space
  • Workshop for each student to build his own model
    rocket from a kit
  • Can be done on a weekend to encourage parental
    participationIt can be a great picnic opportunity

Workshop Outline
  • Introduction to Rocket Day will focus on three
  • How rockets work
  • Rocket assembly workshop
  • Rocket Day activities
  • Overview of supplemental material
  • Wrap up

How Do We Get Started?
  • The best way to begin model rocketry is with an
    Estes flying model rocket Starter Set or Launch
    Set. You can either start with a Ready To Fly
    Starter Set or Launch Set that has a fully
    constructed model rocket or an E2X Starter Set
    or Launch Set with a rocket that requires
    assembly prior to launching.
  • Both types of sets come complete with an
    electrical launch controller, adjustable launch
    pad and an information booklet to get you out and
    flying in no time.
  • Starter Sets include engines, Launch Sets let
    you choose your own engines (not included). Buy
    motors at your local hobby store. Youll need
    four AA alkaline batteries and perhaps glue,
    depending on which set you select.

How Easy How Much Time Does It Take to Build My
Estes model rocket kits range from ready to fly
in just minutes to those that provide many
enjoyable hours of building fun. Estes kits are
classified into five categories. READY TO FLY
(RTF) No paint, glue or modeling skills
required. Rocket comes assembled and is ready for
liftoff in just minutes. E2X ROCKET KITS No
paint or special tools needed. E2X kits contain
parts that are colored and easy to assemble.
Simply glue the parts together as per the
instructions, apply the self-adhesive decals,
attach the recovery system and you are ready to
blast off! Assembly takes 1 hour or less. SKILL
LEVEL 1 ROCKET KITS Requires some painting,
gluing and sanding. Features laser cut balsa
fins, slotted body tubes, plastic nose cones and
self-adhesive decals. Step by step instructions
make building very easy. Assembly takes at least
an afternoon. SKILL LEVEL 2 ROCKET KITS First
tier of more advanced kits. Requires beginner
skills in model rocket construction and
finishing. Features laser cut balsa or plastic
fins, plastic nose cones and unfinished body
tubes. Assembly may take a complete day. SKILL
LEVEL 3 ROCKET KITS Second tier of more advanced
kits. Requires moderate skills in model rocket
construction and finishing. Features multiple
laser cut balsa fins and parts, unfinished body
tubes, complex designs and plastic nose cones.
Assembly may take a couple of days
Past and Future of Rocketry
Early History
  • In the beginning.
  • Circa first century AD China, according to
  • Casual experimentation with mixtures of powered
    sulfur, charcoal saltpeter gave off lots of
    bright light smoke
  • If this mixture was confined to a bamboo tube
    with plugged ends thrown into a fire, there
    would be a loud bang. Many evil spirits were
    thus frightened away
  • Thats how fireworks were invented
  • But, sometimes one end of the bamboo tube was
    imperfectly closed, and the bamboo went flying
  • Thats how rockets were invented!
  • Circa tenth century AD China
  • Rockets were developed as weapons of war
  • Early rocket technology diffused over East Asia

More History
  • Sir William Congreve (1772-1828)
  • British artilleryman, stationed in India,
    observed rockets used as weapons of war
  • He inspired the Royal Army Navy to adopt
    rockets as weapons
  • Most famous application was the British naval
    attack on Fort McHenry, Md, in 1814. Documented
    in Francis Scott Keys poem, The Star Spangled
    Banner with the phrase, the rockets red glare
  • After the Napoleanic wars, the British military
    abandoned rockets (only for a while) because they
    were less accurate than guns

Konstantin E. Tsiolkovskii (1857-1935)

  • A poor provincial school teacher working in
    Kaluga far from Moscow was the first to begin the
    theoretical mathematical study of rocket flight
  • In 1903, he published, in Russian, The
    Exploration of Cosmic Space by Means of Reaction
  • It included whats now called Tsiolkovskiis law
    (more later on this), one foundation of ballistic
    missile and interplanetary rocket flight
  • First proposed multi stage rocketslower stage
    velocity (DV) added to upper stage DV to reach
    very high total velocity
  • First proposed liquid oxygen (lox) hydrogen
  • Envisioned humanity spreading into space

Dr. Robert H. Goddard (1882-1945)
  • Did the work for which hes most famous while a
    professor at Clark Univ. in Worcester, MA
  • Patented a vacuum tube amplifier before de
  • First applied the de Laval steam turbine nozzle
    to rocketssignificant performance improvement
  • Built launched the first liquid rocket in
    Auburn, MA in 1926
  • With Guggenheim funding, continued to build ever
    more sophisticated rockets until 1935
  • Later rockets were launched from Roswell, NM
  • Published A Method of Reaching Extreme
    Altitudes in 1919
  • Widely scorned by the media (esp. The New York
    Times) for his errors
  • After the 1969 Apollo landing on the moon, the NY
    Times finally published a correction

Dr. Werner M. M. Freiherr von Braun (1912-1977)
  • Mother gave him a telescope as a confirmation
    present at age 12
  • While at the Technical University of Berlin
    joined the Spaceflight Society
  • Hitler came to power while he worked on his
    Doctorate, Wehrmacht funded his studies
  • Joined the Nazi Party SS and led the V-2
    development team at Peenemunde
  • Emigrated to U.S. after the war and led U.S.
    Army ballistic missile (Redstone Jupiter)
    development at Redstone Arsenal
  • Responsible for Jupiter C that launched first
    U.S. satellite (Explorer 1)
  • Joined NASA when it was established and led the
    Saturn (Apollo) development work

Von Braun Saturn V first stage
ICBMs and SLBMs The Space Race
  • The two most significant World War II
    technologies, the atomic bomb and the ballistic
    missile, were integrated by the USSR the USA
    starting in the mid 1950s
  • The object of this quest was a practical
    Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with a
    nuclear warhead. The country with ICBMs was
    thought to be secure.
  • A variant was the Submarine-Launched Ballistic
    Missile (SLBM)
  • It was possible to attack ICBM bases before they
    could launch their missiles, but the submarines
    hosting SLBMs were much harder to locate
  • The USSRs rocket program was the more extensive
    during the late 1940s and early 1950sthey first
    deployed large ballistic missile weapons
  • The West was thoroughly frightened
  • Catch up to the Russians had the highest
  • Most early space launches used ICBMs as boosters
  • Provided a public window onto secret military

Proficiency in space exploration implied
proficiency in ballistic missiles
Sergey Korolyov (1907-1966)
  • Caught up in Stalins purges and sent to Siberian
  • His identity was a state secret throughout his
    lifetimepress only referred to him as the Chief
  • Led the design bureau creating all early Soviet
    ballistic missiles
  • Responsible for building and launching Sputnik,
    the first earth satellite
  • Led the team building launching the first
    successful lunar probesLuna 3 took the first
    photographs of the Moons far side
  • Died due to a botched surgical procedure

Cosmonauts, Astronauts ( Taikonauts)
  • First man in space was Russian Cosmonaut Yuri
  • Fighter pilot
  • First single orbit flight (12 April 1961)Awarded
    the Hero of the Soviet Union
  • Died in a MIG-15 crash in 1968
  • First man to step onto the lunar surface was
    Astronaut Neil Armstrong (1930-)
  • Commander of Apollo 11, first Moon landing (16
    July 1969)
  • Taught at Univ. of Cincinnati (1971-1979)now
  • Today, hundreds from many nations have flown in
  • 294 Americans
  • 72 Russians
  • Others from Saudi Arabia, France, Canada, Italy,
    Israel, Japan, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Mexico,
    Ukraine, Switzerland, Netherlands, etc.
  • Now, the first two Chinese Taikonauts have
    orbited the earth!

Ballistic Missile Defense
  • Ballistic missile defense schemes have been
    around since the 1960s
  • In the 1970s, the US studied Sprint, Spartan
    Safeguard while Russia deployed Galosh
  • All used nuclear warheads to negate incoming
    reentry vehicles
  • Problem was, the nukes did vast damage via
    Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) to the assets they
    were trying to protect
  • Hence the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treatyIf
    you couldnt make it work, then you might as well
    sign a treaty against it
  • Modern hit-to-kill warheads make ballistic
    missile defense practicalno EMP
  • Consist of tracking systems (radars and infrared
    (IR) sensing satellites), rocket-boosted
    hit-to-kill warheads (based on dry land or on
    ships), and command, control and battle
    management elements
  • Main issue with current systems is their
    inflexibilityimprovements in the pipeline are
  • Migrating from ground-based radars to space-based
    IR satellites for vastly better coverage
  • Migrating from fixed-site silo launchers to
    ship-based launchers to better engage evolved
    threats and scenarios
  • Improved sensors for better discrimination
    between reentry vehicles and decoys

Back to the Moon, on to Asteroids Mars
  • Constellation system
  • Orion is the new Crew Capsuleslightly larger
    than that used by Apollo
  • Ares I is a two stage booster for the Orion Crew
    Capsulefirst stage is a stretched Space Shuttle
    Solid Booster rocket, second stage uses an
    improved version of the Apollo J2 LOX-hydrogen
    rocket engine
  • Ares V is an unmanned cargo carrieralso uses
    legacy Space Shuttle Apollo hardware
  • After the Space Shuttle is grounded around 2010,
    Constellation provides follow-on capability
  • Manned missions include rendezvous with the
    International Space Station, return to the Moon,
    establishment of a permanent lunar base,
    rendezvous with near-earth asteroids and finally,
    landing on Mars
  • Time frame is next two decades
  • Early testing has begunstatic firings, capsule
    drop tests, etc.

Ares I Ares V
Theory of Rockets
  • Dr. Eric Besnard
  • California State University, Long Beach
  • Project Director, California Launch Vehicle
    Education Initiative
  • http//

How does a rocket work?
  • Exercise 1
  • Take a balloon and blow it up Do not tie it
  • Release the balloon
  • What happens? Why?
  • Exercise 2
  • Take a cart with a pile of bricks on it
  • Stand on the cart and throw bricks backward
  • If there is no friction on the wheel, what
    happens? Why?

  • This effect comes from conservation of momentum
  • Momentum
  • Definition mass x velocity (speed)
  • A truck at 40 miles per hour has more momentum
    than a car at 40 miles per hour
  • A car at 40 miles per hour has more momentum than
    a car at 20 miles per hour
  • Newtons first law of motion When no external
    forces are applied on the object, momentum is
  • Mass exits backwards at a certain speed or
  • Therefore object moves forward at a speed which
    will conserve momentum
  • ? THRUST is generated

Rocket (large mass, small velocity)
Gas (small mass, large velocity)
Rocket Flight
Newtons second law of motion forces acting on
the object will change the momentum of the
object F m a - F sum of all forces
- m mass of object - A acceleration of
object Forces on our rocket Drag (air) Weight
(gravity) Thrust (engine) Fins stabilize the
rocket Launcher rail guides the rocket
Recovery Systems Deployed
Rocket reaches Apogee Altitude. Ejection Charge
Activates Recovery System
Tracking Smoke Generated During Time Delay /
Coast Phase
Motor Burns Out
Rocket Safely Returns to Earth
Rocket Accelerates Gains Altitude
Electrically Ignited Rocket Engine Provides
Touchdown, Replace the Motor, Igniter Recovery
Wadding. Ready to Launch Again!
  • Liquid Propellants
  • Fuel Oxidizer stored separately
  • Liquid oxygen (LOX) and liquid hydrogen (Space
  • LOX-alcohol, LOX-kerosene (early ballistic
  • Combined in combustion chamber
  • Combustion pressure attained by
  • Turbopumps
  • Stored gaseous pressurant
  • Solid Propellants
  • Heterogeneous, aka composites, (modern ballistic
  • Oxidizer Fuel, while mixed intimately, are
    stored as distinct molecules
  • Oxidizer (NH4ClO4) and fuel (Al) held in a rubber
    matrix (also fuel)
  • Black powderthis is what most model rockets use
    (10 powdered sulfur, 75 salt peter (KNO3) 15
    powdered charcoal)plus a teeny bit of binder
  • Homogeneous
  • Fuel Oxidizer are part of the same molecule
  • During combustion, molecule decomposes and
    components burn
  • Gun cotton

  • All modern rockets use a de Laval concept
  • Subsonic converging section
  • Sonic throat
  • Supersonic diverging section
  • Conical easy to manufacture 98
    efficientthis is what model rockets use
  • Bell more difficult to manufacture 99
  • Multiple cooling concepts
  • Regenerative Propellant flows thru hollow nozzle
    walls until its injected into combustion chamber
  • Ablative Nozzle wall chars, the char insulates
    the uncharred nozzle wall
  • Film A thin propellant film coats the nozzle
    wall and insulates it
  • Heat sink The nozzle just gets hotter during
    firingthis is what model rockets use

Rocket engines
  • Generate high velocity gas by chemical reaction
    (burning) of propellants
  • Something which burns fuel
  • Something which carries oxygen oxidizer
  • Unlike aircraft engines which take the oxygen
    from the atmosphere (air-breathing engines),
    rocket engines carry their own oxygen so they can
    fly in space (where there is no atmosphere)

LOX tank
Solid Rocket Booster
LH2 tank
  • Examples of Propellants
  • Estes rockets black powder
  • Space Shuttle Orbiter
  • Oxidizer liquid oxygen LOX ( -320 F) liquid
    hydrogen, LH2 ( -425 F)
  • Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters
  • Composite solid propellant
  • Space Ship One
  • Hybrid nitrous oxide (laughing gas) rubber

A Really BIG rocket engine
  • 5 F-1 engines were used on the Saturn V on its
    way to the Moon
  • 1.5 million pounds thrust each!

Smaller rockets, same technology
  • Designed and integrated by Long Beach State

Aerospike rocket engine static fire test
When something goes wrong
Prospector-4 flight
A slightly bigger rocket sized for 20 lb to
Model Rockets
Partial Model Rocket System Architecture
Model Rocket System
Flight Segment
Ground Segment
Data Segment
Training Materials
Launcher Anemometer
Fins Tube Nose Cone Lug Parachute
Motors Igniters
Field Ground Support Equipment
Controller Batteries
Typical Model Rocket Components
6) Shock Cord Mount
10) Fin
2) Shock Cord
7) Body Tube
1) Nose Cone
9) Motor Hook
11) Launch Lug
8) Motor Mount
5) Shroud Lines
3) Parachute
4) Tape Rings
Rocket Motor Cutaway
  • Products

Rocket Kits
  • Rocket Motors

Apogee Medalist Motors Quest Motors Estes Motors
Aerotech Single-Use Motors Aerotech Reloadable
Motors Rouse-Tech Reload Casings Igniters/Wadding
  • Rocket Software

How Model Rocket Engines Work Get a printable
version of this information in Apogee e-zine
newsletter 114.
Related Information About Rocket Motors
  • Educational

How-To Information
  • Technical Information

Clay Cap
  • Teaching Tips
  • Free Rocketry Newsletter
  • Teaching Newsletter

Paper Case
  • Free Reports
  • Rocketry Links
  • Educational Links
  • About Us

Ejection Charge
  • Downloads
  • Special Offers

For Teachers
  • For Clubs
  • TARC Teams
  • Frequent Flyers

Delay Composition
Black Powder Propellant

Clay Nozzle
Your rocket
Ejection charge for deployment of recovery system
Non-thrust delay and smoke for tracking charge
Solid propellant
High thrust charge for lift-off and acceleration
  • Nozzle

How to Read the Motor Code
This letter indicates total impulse produced by
the motor. Each succeeding letter denotes twice
the total impulse as for the previous letter.
Example B motors have twice the impulse of A
This number shows the motors average thrust in
newtons, or the average push exerted by the
This number is the delay in seconds between the
end of thrusting (burnout) and ejection charge
action. Motor types ending in 0 have no delay or
ejection charge, and are for use in booster
stages only.
Estes motors are color-coded for recommended use.
GREEN motors are for use in single stage models
PURPLE motors for the top stages of multi-stage
rockets and very light single stage rockets RED
motors for all booster and intermediate states of
multi-stage models. BLUE are plugged and are
used for rocket powered racers and radio
controlled gliders, they contain no delay or
ejection charge.
Rocket Motor Impulse Classes
Type  Total Impulse (newton - seconds)
¼A 0.31-0.62
½A 0.63-1.25
A 1.26-2.50
B 2.51-5.00
C 5.01-10.00
D 10.01-20.00
E 20.01-30.00
B6-4 Thrust Profile
Compressed Black Powder Propellant Specific
Impulse 80-83 sec Exhaust velocity 2550-2650
Thrust (newtons)
Average Thrust
Total Impulse / Duration

Ejection Charge Activates
Propellant Burnout
Delay Period No Measurable Thrust
Time (seconds)
Estes Rocket Motor Code
Each rocket engine has a code printed upon the
outer jacket. An example of one such code is
A8-3. The capital letter (e.g., A) indicates
total impulse produced by the engine. Each
succeeding letter represents a power range with
maximum total impulse twice the impulse as the
previous letter. (Example A single C engine can
produce anywhere from 5.01 to 10 newton-seconds
of impulse, a G engine 80.1 to 160
newton-seconds.) Anything over a G engine is
considered high power model rocketry. The first
number (e.g., 8) specifies that engine's average
thrust in newtons or the average push exerted by
the engine. Thus a B6-0 and a C6-0 will both
produce the same average thrust of 6 newtons, but
the C6-0, having twice the total impulse, will
fire for twice as long. The rocket engines
produce maximum thrust shortly after ignition and
thrust declines to a steady-state which is
maintained for up to 2.5 seconds prior to
burnout.2 The final number (e.g., 3) indicates
the delay between burnout and the ejection
charge, in seconds. Engines with a delay of zero
are typically used as booster engines in
multi-stage rockets and there is no ejection
charge. In this case, the burning propellant
ruptures through the top and hot bits of
propellant enter the nozzle of the upper stage
engine, thus igniting that engine and forcing the
booster assembly away, usually to tumble safely
to earth.
Estes number coding1
Thoughts on Payloads
  • A payload is something useful that flies on a
  • Even though most beginning rocket hobbyists do
    not attempt to fly payloads, the issue merits
  • Payloads considered to be acceptable to the
    larger community include
  • Eggsusually to meet a requirement that they be
    returned to earth intact
  • CamerasEstes Astrocam 110, kit no. 1327. Can
    take great pictures from altitude
  • Aircraft such as rocket-boosted gliderse. g.,
    Estes Screaming Eagle, kit no. 2117, and many
  • Any onboard sensors, including any telemetering
    system, acoustic or radio-based
  • Payloads NOT considered to be acceptable to the
    larger community include
  • Any vertebrate life form, especially mice. The
    SPCA takes a strong stand on this point.
    Insects, however, are OK
  • Anything that goes bang upon impact, and, even
    worse, any incendiary device

Typical Model Rocket Launcher Controller
Package it comes in
Package it comes in
Launch Rail
Launch Key
Launch Button
Status Light
Slot for tilting Launch Rail
Solid Rocket Motor Functionality
(No Transcript)
(No Transcript)
Rocket Day Organization
Rocket Day Organization
  • Range Safety Officer (RSO) - Yourself or the
    leader who is in charge. The RSO has the final
    say in all situations. The RSO carries the safety
    key at all times and checks the air-worthiness of
    all rockets.
  • Launch Control Officer (LCO) - This person is
    responsible for actually firing the rocket.
    Control panel set-up and dismantling is also this
    persons responsibility.
  • Tracking Officer (TO) - This person is
    responsible for the set-up, operation and
    coordination of the tracking sites (TO).
  • Data Control Officer (DCO) In competitions
    involving apogee altitude time of flight, this
    individual collects, organizes and disseminates
    all preflight and flight data.
  • 1-2 Tracking Crews - These could consist of
    several positions at each site. Positions could
    include tracking the rocket to measure its
    altitude, recording altitude data
  • Recovery Crews - Consist of several people who
    follow the flight, recover and return the rocket
    to the Preparation Table under the RSOs
  • Staffing Sources Older, more experienced
    students should be recruited for most of these
    positions. Potential sources include Boy
    Scouts, Civil Air Patrol, Junior ROTC, or members
    of a local model rocket club (see the NAR web
    site for a listing of these)

Launch Site Layout
             Tracker 1

     Tracker 2
     Range Safety Officer
     Data Recording Table Data Control Officer
     Preparation Table
     Recovery Team
     Launch Control Officer
     National or Club Flag
     Range-In-Operation Pennant (optional)
     Parking Area (optional)
     Launching Pad

Further Rocket Day Suggestions
  • In addition to the above suggestions, a table
    could be set up for preparation of the rockets
    before flight with someone responsible to
    coordinate the flow of rockets to the pad. After
    the data is recorded, the Data Control Officer is
    responsible for collecting and compiling the
    individual data cards into one report.
  • Preparing for a Rocket Day well in advance and
    rehearsing the various operations, including
    misfire responses, prior to a public performance
    will ensure a high level of safety and provide a
    well-coordinated program that everyone will
    enjoy. The importance of staging a Rocket Day has
    its value in stressing teamwork during the ground
    operations while promoting good competition
    during the flight portion.
  • Cross training your students in all of the
    various roles mentioned above will familiarize
    them with the entire launch operation and
    increase the level of interaction each student
    experiences. The possibilities of a Rocket Day
    are unlimited and it is a wonderful way to bring
    any rocket or space unit to a conclusion.

Safety ConsiderationsEstes Alpha III Starter Set
  • Whats a reasonable field size?
  • Keep in mind that most rockets will come down on
    their parachutes
  • Biggest hazard from an impact outside the field
    is it would put the rocket someplace where it
    couldnt be easily recovered
  • For an Alpha III the predicted apogee altitude is
    about 1100 ft 335 m. Then 85 of all impacts
    would fall into a square field about 85m 280 ft
    on a side.
  • What government rules must we pay close attention
  • Federal Aviation Regulations Part 101.25 require
    you notify your local FAA office at least 24, and
    not more than 48 hours in advance of launch
  • Federal Aviation Regulations Part 101.23 (mostly
    common sense) should also be considered compliant
  • This material is covered in detail in other
    reference material

A Rocket Day Logistics Check List
  • Things you the teacher should plan to provide
  • Rocket Launchers and Controller Panels (one for
    every dozen students is a good planning number)
  • Fresh batteries to power ignition circuits
  • Fire extinguishers and first aid kits If you
    bring them, they wont be needed v.v.
  • PortaPotty (if no other facilities are available)
  • A loud hailer so all can hear the count down and
    RSO instructions
  • Inclinometers (2) and either a traffic wheel, GPS
    or a long tape measure are needed to measure
    apogee altitude. A good inclinometer choice is
    Estes Industries Altitrak 302232, 23.75 each
  • A hand held anemometer to measure launch winds. A
    good choice is Edmund Scientifics SkyMate
    Windmeter 30823-43, 99.95. A nice-to-have, but
    not essential.
  • Things you should remind each participant to
  • Sun screen hats
  • Water soft drinks. Possibly food also
  • Folding chairs for the old folks. Also blankets
    in cold weather
  • Cell phones for the two Trackers to communicate
    with the Data Recording Table, the Data Control
    Officer, the Range Safety Officer, the Launch
    Control Officer yourself

Procedures for One- and Two-Tracker Estimation of
  • Based on Estes Technical Report TR-3, Altitude
    Tracking, 1988

Quest Inclinometer
Quest Skyscope inclinometer No. 7812, 7.00
Altitude Estimation with a Single Inclinometer
  • First, acquire an inclinometer, either by making
    your own from a protractor with a weighted
    string, or by buying an Estes Altitrak
  • Next position an observer up wind from launcher
    by a distance (d in the sketch) approximately
    equal to the predicted apogee altitude. Measure
    the distance d
  • Estes catalog provides predicted apogee altitudes
    for their rocket kits
  • After liftoff, the observer tracks the rocket by
    sighting along the instrument spine
  • Or by pointing the Altitrak
  • When he perceives the rocket has gone as high as
    it will, he notes the angle (e in the sketch) on
    the instrument scale/protractor
  • Use formula to estimate apogee altitude

Line of Sight
Observer Launcher
H d tan(e)
Estes Altitrak
  • How high did it really go? Next time, measure it
    with this easy to use device. Follow the rocket
    in the sights to apogee, release the trigger to
    lock the reading. Easy-to-read display gives you
    your altitude in meters along with the elevation
    angle. Use two Altitraks for greater accuracy.
    Great for school and science projects!
  • Estes 302232
  • 23.75

Two-Tracker Layout
  • Locate the two Trackers equidistant from the
    Launcher along a line parallel to the average
  • The distance from the Launcher to each Tracker
    is approximately equal to the predicted apogee
    altitude h
  • Minimizes bias error in estimated apogee altitude

Apogee Altitude Estimation
Line of Sight
Line of Sight
  • Measure maximum elevation angles e1 and e2 with
    Estes Altitraks, or Quest Skyscopes
  • Measure distance d with a traffic wheel, or tape
    measure, or GPS
  • Estimate apogee altitude h from

tan(e1) tan(e2)
h d
tan(e1) tan(e2)
Federal Aviation RegulationsPart 101
Federal Aviation Regulations
 101.21   Applicability.      top This subpart
applies to the operation of unmanned rockets.
However, a person operating an unmanned rocket
within a restricted area must comply only with
101.23(g) and with additional limitations
imposed by the using or controlling agency, as
appropriate. Doc. No. 1580, 28 FR 6722, June 29,
1963  101.22   Special provisions for large
model rockets.      top Persons operating
model rockets that use not more than 125 grams of
propellant that are made of paper, wood, or
breakable plastic that contain no substantial
metal parts, and that weigh not more than 1,500
grams, including the propellant, need not comply
with 101.23 (b), (c), (g), and (h),
provided (a) That person complies with all
provisions of 101.25 and (b) The operation is
not conducted within 5 miles of an airport runway
or other landing area unless the information
required in 101.25 is also provided to the
manager of that airport. Amdt. 1016, 59 FR
50393, Oct. 3, 1994
 101.23   Operating limitations.      top No
person may operate an unmanned rocket (a) In a
manner that creates a collision hazard with other
aircraft (b) In controlled airspace (c) Within
five miles of the boundary of any airport (d) At
any altitude where clouds or obscuring phenomena
of more than five-tenths coverage prevails (e)
At any altitude where the horizontal visibility
is less than five miles (f) Into any cloud (g)
Within 1,500 feet of any person or property that
is not associated with the operations or (h)
Between sunset and sunrise. (Sec. 6(c),
Department of Transportation Act (49 U.S.C.
1655(c))) Doc. No. 1580, 28 FR 6722, June 29,
1963, as amended by Amdt. 1014, 39 FR 22252,
June 21, 1974
101.25   Notice requirements.      top No
person may operate an unmanned rocket unless that
person gives the following information to the FAA
ATC facility nearest to the place of intended
operation no less than 24 hours prior to and no
more than 48 hours prior to beginning the
operation (a) The names and addresses of the
operators except when there are multiple
participants at a single event, the name and
address of the person so designated as the event
launch coordinator, whose duties include
coordination of the required launch data
estimates and coordinating the launch event (b)
The estimated number of rockets to be
operated (c) The estimated size and the
estimated weight of each rocket and (d) The
estimated highest altitude or flight level to
which each rocket will be operated. (e) The
location of the operation. (f) The date, time,
and duration of the operation. (g) Any other
pertinent information requested by the ATC
facility. Doc. No. 1580, 28 FR 6722, June 29,
1963, as amended by Amdt. 1016, 59 FR 50393,
Oct. 3, 1994
Model Rocketry Safety Code
  • Estes Industries

Model Rocketry Safety Code
  • MaterialsMy model rocket will be made of
    lightweight materials such as paper, wood,
    rubber, and plastic suitable for the power used
    and the performance of my model rocket. I will
    not use any metal for the nose cone, body, or
    fins of a model rocket.
  • Motors/EnginesI will use only commercially-made
    NAR certified model rocket engines in the manner
    recommended by the manufacturer. I will not alter
    the model rocket engine, its parts, or its
    ingredients in any way.
  • RecoveryI will always use a recovery system in
    my model rocket that will return it safely to the
    ground so it may be flown again. I will use only
    flame-resistant recovery wadding if required.
  • Weight and Power LimitsMy model rocket will
    weigh no more than 1500 grams (53 oz.) at
    lift-off, and its rocket engines will produce no
    more than 320 Newton-seconds (4.45 Newtons equal
    1.0 pound) of total impulse. My model rocket will
    weigh no more than the engine manufacturers
    recommended maximum lift-off weight for the
    engines used, or I will use engines recommended
    by the manufacturer for my model rocket.
  • StabilityI will check the stability of my model
    rocket before its first flight, except when
    launching a model rocket of already proven

6.PayloadsExcept for insects, my model rocket
will never carry live animals or a payload that
is intended to be flammable, explosive, or
harmful. 7.Launch SiteI will launch my model
rocket outdoors in a cleared area, free of tall
trees, power lines, buildings, and dry brush and
grass. My launch site will be at least as large
as that recommended in the following table.
Minimum InstalledTotal Impulse(Newton-seconds) Equivalent Engine Type Site Dimension Site Dimension
Minimum InstalledTotal Impulse(Newton-seconds) Equivalent Engine Type (feet) (meters)
0.00 1.25 1/4A 1/2A 50 15
1.26 2.50 A 100 30
2.51 5.00 B 200 60
5.01 10.00 C 400 120
10.01 20.00 D 500 150
20.01 40.00 E 1000 300
40.01 80.00 F 1000 300
80.01 160.00 G 1000 300
160.01 320.00 2Gs 1500 450
8.LauncherI will launch my model rocket from a
stable launching device that provides rigid
guidance until the model rocket has reached a
speed adequate to ensure a safe flight path. To
prevent accidental eye injury, I will always
place the launcher so that the end of the rod is
above eye level or I will cap the end of the
launch rod when approaching it. I will cap or
disassemble my launch rod when not in use and I
will never store it in an upright position. My
launcher will have a jet deflector device to
prevent the engine exhaust from hitting the
ground directly. I will always clear the area
around my launch device of brown grass, dry
weeds, and other easy-to-burn materials.
9.Ignition SystemThe system I use to launch my
model rocket will be remotely controlled and
electrically operated. It will contain a
launching switch that will return to off when
released. The system will contain a removable
safety interlock in series with the launch
switch. All persons will remain at least 15 feet
(5 meters) from the model rocket when I am
igniting model rocket engines totaling 30
Newton-seconds or less of total impulse and at
least 30 feet (9 meters) from the model rocket
when I am igniting model rocket engines totaling
more than 30 Newton-seconds of total impulse. I
will use only electrical igniters recommended by
the engine manufacturer that will ignite model
rocket engine(s) within one second of actuation
of the launching switch.
10.Launch SafetyI will ensure that people in the
launch area are aware of the pending model rocket
launch and can see the model rockets liftoff
before I begin my audible five-second countdown.
I will not launch a model rocket using it as a
weapon. If my model rocket suffers a misfire, I
will not allow anyone to approach it or the
launcher until I have made certain that the
safety interlock has been removed or that the
battery has been disconnected from the ignition
system. I will wait one minute (60 sec) after a
misfire before allowing anyone to approach the
launcher. 11.Flying ConditionsI will launch my
model rocket only when the wind is less than 20
miles (30 kilometers) an hour. I will not launch
my model rocket so it flies into clouds, near
aircraft in flight, or in a manner that is
hazardous to people or property
12.Pre-Launch TestWhen conducting research
activities with unproven model rocket designs or
methods I will, when possible, determine the
reliability of my model rocket by pre-launch
tests. I will conduct the launching of an
unproven design in complete isolation from
persons not participating in the actual
13.Launch AngleMy launch device will be pointed
within 30 degrees of vertical. I will never use
model rocket engines to propel any device
horizontally. 14.Recovery HazardsIf a model
rocket becomes entangled in a power line or other
dangerous place, I will not attempt to retrieve
it. As a member of the Estes Model Rocketry
Program, I promise to faithfully follow all rules
of safe conduct as established in the above code.
___ This is the official Model Rocketry Safety
Code of the National Association of Rocketry and
the Model Rocket Manufacturers Association.
Important Note G engines must be sold to and
used by adults (18 and up) only. To launch large
model rockets weighing more than one lb. (453 g)
but no more than 3.3 lbs. (1500 g) including
propellant or rockets containing more than 4 oz.
(113 g) but no more than 4.4 oz. (125 g) of
propellant (net weight), you must notify and
perhaps obtain authorization from the Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA). Check your
telephone directory for the FAA office nearest
you or contact Estes Industries for further
National Association of Rocketry Model Rocket
Safety Code
  • Ref NAR website

Model Rocket Safety Code   1. Materials. I
will use only lightweight, non-metal parts for
the nose, body, and fins of my rocket.

2. Motors. I will use
only certified, commercially-made model rocket
motors, and will not tamper with these
motors or use them for any purposes except those
recommended by the manufacturer. 3.
Ignition System. I will launch my rockets with an
electrical launch system and electrical
motor igniters. My launch system will have a
safety interlock in series with the launch
switch, and will use a launch switch that returns
to the off position when released. 4.
Misfires. If my rocket does not launch when I
press the button of my electrical launch
system, I will remove the launcher's safety
interlock or disconnect its battery, and
will wait 60 seconds after the last launch
attempt before allowing anyone to approach
the rocket. 5. Launch Safety. I will use a
countdown before launch, and will ensure that
everyone is paying attention and is a safe
distance of at least 15 feet away when I
launch rockets with D motors or smaller, and 30
feet when I launch larger rockets. If I am
uncertain about the safety or stability of an
untested rocket, I will check the
stability before flight and will fly it only
after warning spectators and clearing them
away to a safe distance.
6. Launcher. I will launch my rocket from a
launch rod, tower, or rail that is pointed
to within 30 degrees of the vertical to ensure
that the rocket flies nearly straight up,
and I will use a blast deflector to prevent the
motor's exhaust from hitting the ground. To
prevent accidental eye injury, I will place
launchers so that the end of the launch rod is
above eye level or will cap the end of the
rod when it is not in use. 7. Size. My model
rocket will not weigh more than 1,500 grams (53
ounces) at liftoff and will not contain more
than 125 grams (4.4 ounces) of propellant
or 320 N-sec (71.9 pound-seconds) of total
impulse. If my model rocket weighs more than
one pound (453 grams) at liftoff or has more than
four ounces (113 grams) of propellant, I
will check and comply with Federal Aviation
Administration regulations before flying. 8.
Flight Safety. I will not launch my rocket at
targets, into clouds, or near airplanes,
and will not put any flammable or explosive
payload in my rocket. 9. Launch Site. I
will launch my rocket outdoors, in an open area
at least as large as shown in the
accompanying table, and in safe weather
conditions with wind speeds no greater than
20 miles per hour. I will ensure that there
is no dry grass close to the launch pad, and that
the launch site does not present risk of
grass fires.
10. Recovery System. I will use a recovery
system such as a streamer or parachute in
my rocket so that it returns safely and undamaged
and can be flown again, and I will use
only flame-resistant or fireproof recovery
system wadding in my rocket. 11. Recovery
Safety. I will not attempt to recover my rocket
from power lines, tall trees, or other
dangerous places.
Installed Total Impulse (N-sec) Equivalent Motor Type Minimum Site Dimensions (ft.)
0.00--1.25 1/4A, 1/2A 50
1.26--2.50 A 100
2.51--5.00 B 200
5.01--10.00 C 400
10.01--20.00 D 500
20.01--40.00 E 1,000
40.01--80.00 F 1,000
80.01--160.00 G 1,000
160.01--320.00 Two Gs 1,500
Revision of February, 2001
Tripoli Safety Code for Advanced Rocketry
  • Tripoli Safety Code - August 1, 1987

Tripoli Safety Code for Advanced Rocketry
  • 1. ROCKET MOTORS 1.1 Tripoli members will use
    commercially manufactured motors that have met
    Tripoli's Motor Listing Committee's requirements
    for performance and fitness for rocket
    propulsion, and listed as such on the Recommended
    Motor List.
  • 1.2 An Advanced Rocket Motor will be electrically
    ignited as the manufacturer suggests using
    ignition materials supplied or approved by the
  • 1.3 Advanced Rocket Motors will not be altered or
    modified to change their thrust performance, nor
    will they be reloaded once spent.
  • 1.4 Commercially Manufactured custom designed or
    new experimental motors may be used without being
    listed on the Recommended Motor List provided the
    manufacturer supplies proof of satisfactory
    static tests.
  • 2.1 Advanced Rockets will be built as light as is
    reasonable for the intended purpose of the
    rocket. The use of metal will not be permitted in
    the nose cone, airframe, motor mount, or fins of
    an Advanced Rocket.
  • 2.2 An Advanced Rocket will have a suitable means
    for providing stabilizing and restoring forces
    necessary to maintain a substantially true and
    predictable upward flight path.
  • 2.3 An Advanced Rocket shall be constructed so as
    to be capable of more than one flight. It will be
    provided with a means of slow and safe descent.
    If a rocket is to descend in more than one part,
    then the parts should conform to this code

Tripoli Safety Code for Advanced Rocketry
  • 2.4 Any equipment, devices, or material which
    relies upon flammable, smoldering, or otherwise
    combustible substances, which is not a motor,
    shall be designed, built, and implemented, or
    otherwise used in a manner which will minimize
    the possibility to cause a fire after launch.
  • 3.1 A launching device, or mechanism, must be
    used which is sufficiently rigid and of
    sufficient length to guarantee that the rocket
    shall be independently stable when it leaves the
    device. This launching device shall be
    sufficiently stable on the ground to prevent
    significant shifts from the planned launch angle,
    or the accidental triggering of any first-motion
    ignition devices.
  • 3.2 The launch pad, or device, shall have a blast
    deflector sufficient to prevent damage, or fire
    hazard, to surrounding equipment, the launch pad,
    or the surrounding area.
  • 3.3 A launch angle of less than 30 degrees from
    vertical must be used when flying Advanced
  • 3.4 Any and all ignition systems on Advanced
    Rockets must be remotely activated electrically.

Tripoli Safety Code for Advanced Rocketry
  • 3.5 The launch of any rocket must be completely
    under the control of the person launching it.
    When flying alone, the individual person is
    responsible for range safety, and launch control
    safety. When flying at a non-Tripoli sponsored
    meet it is recommended that a Range Safety
    Officer (RSO), in control of the launch range be
    present. The RSO will turn over control of the
    launch, for the duration of the countdown to the
    designated Launch Control Officer (LCO) when the
    launching range is deemed safe to launch. When
    flying at a Tripoli sponsored meet, a Tripoli
    approved RSO must be present in addition to the
  • 3.6 Minimum requirements for a Tripoli approved
    RSO are (a) Confirmed Tripoli membership in good
    standing, (b) Advanced Rocketry experience
    similar or equal to that expected at a particular
    launch, and (c) Satisfactory completion of
    Tripoli's RSO Training Program, or equivalent.
  • 3.7 The launch system firing circuit must return
    to the off position when released if a mechanical
    launch system is used or reset if an electronic
    launch system is used. A permissive circuit
    controlled by the RSO at all times, and capable
    of releasing the firing circuit is advisable.
  • 3.8 Excessive lengths of fuse, or complex
    pyrotechnic ignition arrangements should be
    avoided. The simplest and most direct ignition
    trains are encouraged to promote range safety.
  • 3.9 Igniters should be installed at the last
    practical moment, and once installed, electrical
    igniter wires should be shorted and/or
    pyrotechnical systems mechanically protected to
    prevent premature ignition from EMI or heat

Tripoli Safety Code for Advanced Rocketry
  • 3.10 When flat blast plates are used on a launch
    pad, a stand- off will be used to keep the
    nozzles of the motors a minimum distance from the
    blast plate of one body diameter.
  • 4.1 All launches of Advanced Rocket vehicles must
    be conducted in compliance with Federal, State,
    and Local law.
  • 4.2 Rocket flights must be made only when weather
    conditions permit the average person to visually
    observe the entire flight of the rocket from
    lift-off to the deployment of it's recovery
    system. No Advanced Rockets will be launched when
    winds exceed 20 miles per hour.
  • 4.3 No Advanced Rocket shall contain an explosive
    warhead, nor will they be launched at targets on
    the ground.
  • 4.4 An Advanced Rocket flying field must be
    equipped with an appropriately rated fire
    extinguishing device. Each launch pad must have a
    five gallon container filled with water within 10
    feet of the pad. A well stocked first aid kit,
    and a person, or persons, familiar with their use
    must be present.
  • 4.5 Advanced Rockets shall be launched from a
    clear area, free of any easy to burn materials,
    and away from buildings, power lines, tall trees,
    or flying aircraft. The flying field must be of
    sufficient size to permit recovery of a given
    rocket within its confines.

Tripoli Safety Code for Advanced Rocketry
  • 4.6 At no time shall recovery of an Advanced
    Rocket vehicle from power lines or other
    dangerous places be attempted. Any rocket that
    becomes entangled in a utility line (power,
    phone, etc.) is a hazard to the utility line and
    untrained persons who may be attracted to it. The
    owner of the vehicle will make every effort to
    contact the proper utility company and have their
    trained personnel remove it.
  • 4.7 No Advanced Rockets shall be hand caught
    during descent.
  • 4.8 All persons in the vicinity of any launches
    must be advised that a launching is imminent
    before a rocket may be ignited and launched. A
    minimum five second countdown must be given
    immediately prior to ignition and launch of a
  • 4.9 All launch pads will not be located within
    1,500 feet of any permanent structures. A
    spectator line will be established parallel with
    the launch controller's table. No vehicles will
    be parked within 50 feet of the spectator line.
    Launch pads for class B motors will be no less
    than 150 feet from the spectator line. Launch
    pads for motors exceeding J class, or clusters of
    G, H, and/or I's shall be set 200 feet from the
    spectator line.
  • 4.10 No one will be permitted to sit within the
    area between the parked vehicle line and the
    spectator line, other than the RSO, LCO, and
    designated assistant(s) at the launch control

Tripoli Safety Code for Advanced Rocketry
  • 4.11 No one will be permitted in the launch area
    between the LCO table and the launch pads except
    vehicle crew for prepping purposes. Crew
    photographers or event photographers permitted in
    the launch area will maintain a distance of 75
    feet from the launch pad.
  • 4.12 All rockets to be launched must be presented
    to the RSO for inspection, assignment, and logged
    into the flight record with the LCO. A copy of
    the flight records will be sent to Tripoli
    Headquarters for documentation purposes.

National Fire Safety Protection Association
  • Developed and adopted ANSI/NFPA 1122 Code for
    Model Rocketry setting standards for the safety
    of the activity of model rocketry. To purchase a
    copy of NFPA 1122 write or call
  • NFPAOne Batterymarch ParkQuincy, MA
    022691-800-344-3555 In addition, many states
    have adopted their own model rocketry laws and

Safety Security
  • We have provided files for you to read off line
  • Model Rocketry Safety Codes
  • Estes Industries
  • National Association of Rocketry (NAR)
  • Tripoli Safety Code (High Power Rockets)
  • NAR Range Safety Officer Training
  • Safety Laws (Federal State)
  • Federal Aviation Agency Federal Aviation
    Regulations, Part 101
  • National Fire Safety Protection Association
  • Range Safety Real Estate (Use only this
  • Security (Homeland Security)
  • It Should Be Obvious
  • Note also that closely related material is found
    in the Rocket Day Organization file
  • Key things to remember
  • Notify the FAA at least 24 hours in advance of
  • Rehearsal is the key to safe flight operations

Homeland Security Act and Model Rocketry
The Homeland Security Act includes the "Safe
Explosives Act" which has placed even more
responsibility on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco
and Firearms in an effort to keep explosives out
of the hands of terrorists. As would be expected
there are now more explosives regulations.
However, some of the information that has been
provided to and reported by the media has several
issues confused. Visit http//
plarson/safexpact/modelrockets.htm to obtain
accurate information with regard to the ATF and
model rocketry. UPS, FedEx and other carriers
continue to carry model rocket engines (model
rocket motors that contain no more than 62.5
grams of propellant per device) that are properly
packaged, marked, labeled and documented in
accordance with the regulations of the U.S.
Department of Transportation (49 CFR). The same
is true with regard to the United States Postal
Service for Toy Propellant Devices (Model Rocket
Motors and Igniters that are pre-approved for
mailing by the USPS) that contain no more than 30
grams of propellant per device.
It Should Be Obvious, But
  • The experience-based rules are
  • Everyone should stand at least (15 feet for
    Motors D size, or smaller) or (30 feet for
    Motors E size or larger) away from the launcher
    before starting the countdown
  • Dont pick up a freshly fired rocket
    motortheyre very hot, and they will burn you.
    Remember they can burn other things also
  • Dont ignite a rocket while holding it in your
    handthe fumes are very stinky, and if you drop
    it, Heaven knows where itll go
  • If your rocket comes down in power lines, tall
    buildings, etc. and becomes tangled there, buy a
    new one
  • Never launch your rocket toward a low blue-black
    cloudlightning could follow the exhaust plume
    back down to the launch rail, and hence to the
    poor dumb sod who just pushed the button
  • Never attempt to reload a model rocket motor!

Field Size Needed
Field Size Needed
Motor Type Code Total Impulse, Newton-sec Max. Altitude, meters Min. Field Size, meters Max. Field Size, meters
¼ A 0 0.625 lt75 15 lt75
½ A 0.625 1.25 lt120 15 lt120
A 1.25 2.50 lt250 30 lt250
B 2.51 5.00 lt400 60 lt400
C 5.01 10.00 lt600 120 lt600
D 10.01 20.00 lt700 150 lt700
E 20.01 40.00 lt800 300 lt800
F 40.01 80.00 lt1000 300 lt1000
  • Min Field Size is the Estes recommendation
    (nominal case)
  • Max Field size is the greatest distance the
    rocket could fly (worst case)

Field Size Depends on Apogee
Aim Point
  • Considerations are safety ease of recovery
  • Field width needed is proportional to apogee
  • Higher capture (impact in the green area)
    probability implies bigger field
  • Apogee is predicted for each Estes kit, or can
    be estimated knowing motor type

Model Rocket Competitions
Altitude Competition
  • No, this isnt about seeing whose rocket can go
  • Bigger rocket motors (brute force) will always
    dominate this kind of competition
  • But, one can define a variation on this Its a
    class competition in which all competitors build
    from a common kit design, and compete for the
    highest apogee altitude
  • Significant factors will be
  • Surface finish (drag)
  • Best rocket weight
  • Most nearly vertical trajectory
  • Coming closest to predicted apogee altitude is a
    favorite competition
  • Metric used is (predicted apogee
    measured apogee)

  • predicted apogee
  • Careful testing and adjustment is the most
    significant factor
  • For more ideas, see Model Rocket Contest Guide
    by Robert L. Cannon, Estes Catalog No. 2815
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