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Rocket Space
Part 3: More rocketry resources
Redbird 9-H built and launched by Fredericksburg, Texas

In August of 2000, the Aeroscience Progam students at Fredericksburg
High School
in Texas, launch their Redbird 9-H at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.
The students designed and built the 185kg, 7m solid fueled rocket,
which reached over 10km in altitude. NASA MSFC PR - Aug.2.00

Rocketry Stores & Companies
Vendor List at Rocketry Online!
Rocketry Online provides a huge list of online sites of rocketry stores, rocket and parts manufacturers, and other related companies.

Apogee Model Rocketry
A rocket company that specializes in combining model rocketry with education about rocketry. Some of their many pages include:
Educational Literature, RocketKits, Software, and more.

Rocketman Inc.
Ky Michaelson is "The ROCKETMAN". The Rocketman website sells high-power rockets kits, recovery systems and videotapes of rocket meets but also much more.

Rocketman supports the Civilian Space Exploration Team, which claims to be the first amateur team to fly an advanced amateur rocket to space after its GoFast two stage rocket reached a 77 mile altitude in May of 2004.

Wickman Spacecraft & Propulsion Co., CP Technologies and The Rocket Camp
John Wickman, based in Casper, Wyoming, runs a veritable rocketry empire that spans several NASA contract projects, sounding rocket development, and various amateur rocketry education programs.

More Rocketry Stores

Photos & Videos

Video Rocketry - Clay Brother
Installing a low cost wireless web cam in a rocket, Jamie Clay provides some great videos from the cameras looking back at the launch sites as they shoot skyward. Also, the site offers design information, plans for future improvements, etc.

Rocketman Videotapes
Videos of highlights of recent high power rocketry events such as Big Bad Rockets 2 and Balls 007.
More sites

Sample of Interesting Rocketry Sites
Astrosaint's Recycled Rocket Page
Manuel Mejia shows how to create rockets with " household discards and other recycled parts". While using standard safe motors , he shows how a bit of imagination and effort can produce something nice and different from the usual store boat structures.
George Gassaway's Rocketry Page
George Gassaway's site includes lots of scale information for various launch vehicles. In particular, check out his Shuttle Model Homepage. His shuttle models not only are meticulous models of the real ones, but they also fly, including dropoff boosters.

Evel Knievel's X-1 Skycycle
Doug Malewicki describes the rocket powered motorcycle that he designed to allow the famous daredevil Evel Knievel to jump (almost) over the Snake River Canyon in 1972. The vehicle used a steam rocket motor from Robert Truax.

He also offers 2 steam rocket publications for sale:

  • Steam Rockets-2 by Jim Humphreys and F.B. Wagner III, 1972.
  • Hot Water Rockets, development and applications by Robert Truax - 20pp.
More Sites & Projects

Education & Training

Aerospace Education
The New Zealand Rocketry Association provides program packages for teaching rocketry.

Amateur Rocketry Link Library - Education
The Amateur Rocketry Links Library provides these links related to amateur rocketry education.

ASGP Student Rocket Program
The Alaska Space Grant Program sponors this project at the Univ. of Alaska at Fairbanks to fund university student research with sounding rockets.

Apogee's Model Rocket Education Guide
Apogee Rocketry provides lots of reports, software, and other educational resources about model rocketry. Designing and building your own model rocket kits

Estes Educator
The leader in low cost model rockets offers teachers guides, intro to rocketry, etc.
Girl Scouts: 3..2..1 Blastoff!
Introduction to rocketry and model rockets for girl scouts.

Ignite - Education in Motion
An educatonal project aiming to spread the lessons of the Fredricksburg High advanced rocketry program in Texas to other schools.

Millennium Academy - Rocket DesignClasses
Online classes in computer drafting concentrates on rocket design, with special emphasis on small rockets.

"The Clarkston Christian Association, in partnership with the McMath-Hulbert Astronomical Society is now offering classes in Unigraphics computer drafting (CAD). Our classes will be working with teams of amateur and professional rocket builders to design actual rocket projects. "


National Association of Rockety
NAR sponsors various rocketry training courses and other educational programs.

NASA Rocketry Resources

RRS Rocket Propulsion Courses
The Reaction Research Society occasionally offers courses in rocket propulsion:

".. is a unique "hands on" three day class in beginning composite solid propellant motor technology. Students will spend the first day in classroom work covering theory, materials, procedures, and safety. The second and third days of instruction will be held in the field at the Society's Mojave Test Area."

Rocket and Space Technology by Robert Braeunig
Includes tutorials on rocketry & orbital mechanics as well as specifications of many rocket systems worldwide.
JP Le Rouzic's Rocketry Site
Le Rouizic provides lots of introductory info on rockets and includes some simulators such as a Rocket Equation Calculator and Rocket Simulator.
Space Exploration Merit Badge
In support of the Boy Scouts space exploration merit badge, this site provides a nice introductory course on both space and rocketry. The badge requirements include the building and flying of a model rocket.

Rocket Propellants
Some resources and tutorials dealing with rocket propellants

Pendulum Rocket Fallacy
Though Goddard tried it on his early rocket designs, you cannot use gravity alone to keep a rocket pointed upward. Follow these links to understand why:

Rocket Calculations
More Rocketry Education Resources   

Project 463, Chuck Sackett's 43 foot, 1200 lb two-stage rocket.
Launched at FireBALLS 005, August 1995.
Courtesy of Dave Redell.

Rocketry History

Rocketry Through the Ages
MSFC History Office presents this history of rocketry.

Rocket Boys By Homer Hickam
Homer Hickam's autobiography about his growing up in a small coal mining town in West Virginia. Hebecame inspired by Sputnik and the space race to build rockets himself. This book was made into a movie called October Sky.

G.Harry Stine
Here is interesting documentary short video about the late G. Harry Stine - the leading co-founder of the model rocketry hobby, sport and industry. He authored The Handbook of Model Rocketry, now in its seventh edition.
More sites

Miscellaneous Articles & Issues
Regulatory Issues in Rocketry
Consumer rocketry involves very safe fuels that have been used for decades. Small model rockets, which typically use a blackpowder based fuel, are often found in toy stores and have been deemed safe by various state and federal agencies such as the FTC.

High Power Rocketry involves motors rated H and higher (see motor codes) and use composite fuels, particularly ammonium perchlorate composite propellant or APCP. A rubber binder is mixed with the ammonium percholate and renders it non-explosive. Instead, "it burns in a controlled, predictable, and focused manner" as needed for rocket propulsion.

Despite these known physical properties and a history of safe use, the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) decided to put ammonium percholate on its list of explosive substances and since 1994 has sought to regulate its use in high power rocketry. HPR enthusiasts must now pay for permits, must store rockets in certified magazines, etc.

In response to this unwarranted and burdensome regulation, the National Assoication of Rocketry and the Tripoli Rocketry Association brought a lawsuit against the ATF.

Subsequent to Sept.11, the ATF went further to place several new registration and other requirements on the use of ammonium percholate. This led to various political action campaigns to change the regulations.

The following links provide more information about the legal situation:

Though the above court case is going well, unfortunately the recently passed Homeland Security Law adds even more legal burdens for rocketry.

It subjects any substances listed as explosive by the ATF to even further restrictions. For example, previously, moving a composite motor across state lines required a permit. Now moving it even within a state will require a permit.

BATFE - The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives is responsible for issuing licenses and permits for high power rocket fuels and motors.

Consumer Protection Agency treating rocketry fuels and components as fireworks materials:

Amateur Rocketry - FAA
The FAA has specific definitions and rules governing amateur rocketry. Those rules were modified in 2008. See following:

Controversy: Rocketry fuels misclassified as explosives

Liability Issues
In the USA suing over any accident, regardless of personal responsibility. has become a way of life. Insurance is needed to protect oneself even in a hobby as safe as rocketry. See these pages for info on liability related questions:

Rocketry Resources
Popular Sites

Water Rockets
A pressurized tank of water won't compete with LOX/LH2 but it can give a good kick for low altitude booster and a big kick for those who build and fly such things.

A two stage water rocket project by Air Command Rockets:


Dunn Engineering
Offers various rocketry related resources such as


Rocketry Books


Rocket Science by Dave Ketchledge

Rocket Science
A CD set by Dave Ketchledge Available from his website and from ARA Press. See Introduction and Table of Contents (pdf)

Endorsed by The Space Show, our latest effort in Rocketry and Aerospace Engineering is the 910 page book called Rocket Science. Built from hundreds of resources, it represents some of the key topics in Propulsion both solid and liquid, High Power Rocketry and Aerodynamics. We also cover vehicle guidance control and Structural Design. You will not find a better textbook for your hobby or professional interests. At only $35.00 its a bargain. It represents a two year effort to give you the best in aerospace design. So you can fly any vehicle at peak performance and safely. Included the telemetry chapter that offers a full range of projects and payloads from the industry. The R/C chapter is focused on proven designs and construction. Rocket Science will be a tool for you today and into the future. Besides the book the additional Augustine Committee Report and NASA documentation makes this a resource above all others. Further we give you a copy of a spaceflight simulation to see how Orbital Mechanics works on vehicles like the X-15, X-20, Gemini capsule and Space Shuttle. And the graphics are nothing short of impressive.
This writeup (pdf) provides addition information about the book

The Next Shuttle
CD-ROM by Dave Ketchledge. As described in the PR posted at "The Next Shuttle" by Dave Ketchledge - RLV News - Sept.18.05, the CD contains lots of articles, data, drawings on rocketplanes that have been built like the X-15 and on concept vehicles like Dynasoar and Venturestar. Some chapters are specifically aimed at modelers.


Peter Alway
Author of Rockets of the World and publisher of Saturn Press (see next entry), Alway's home site includes a lot of model rocketry resources.

ARA Press
ARA press publishes a number of rocket and space related books, including those formerly available at Saturn Press, which shut down in 2007. They specialize "in rocketry publications, offering books, posters, and booklets for modelers and space enthusiasts." Many of these are by Peter Alway (see previous entry).

Publications include


EM Rocketry
Use electromagnetic induction effect to catupult rockets.

More resources

Rocketry Software 

Model Rocketry Software - Apogee Rockets
RockSim allows the amateur rocket maker to design rockets "by pointing and clicking at the parts". Then the rocket can be run through a flight simulation which will describe how fast it will travel, how high it will go, when and where during the flight the parachute is deployed, and most importantly, it determines if the model will be stable and therefore safe to fly."

1021 Designs
The Rocket III Model Rocket CAD software allows non-professionals to design and simulate model rockets:

"You don't need to be a rocket scientist or a computer expert to use it. Just select the parts to create your design. When your design is complete open the stabilizer window and watch as the system checks and stabilizes your design automatically. If your design is stable run the performance test and see how high and fast your rocket will go. That's all it takes now you can build your model rocket and launch it."

Aerorocket Aerodynamics Software
AeroRocket "specializes in high speed aerodynamics, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and aerospace technology related software development. Other services include Visual Basic/C++ computer programming, structural analysis and wind tunnel testing using AeroRocket's subsonic wind tunnel."

VisualCFD 2.7 and other software + wind tunnel testing service

SpaceCAD Model Rocket Software
This prorgram allows you to build your own rocket designs, predict flight and stability , center of gravity and pressure (CP). The program description:

"SpaceCAD allows you to design and build your rockets very quickly and easily - the perfect rocket tool for both expert and novice rocketeers. More than 7,000 people are using it today to design real, flying rockets!"

Flight Dynamics 4
Flight Dynamics 4 is

"a complete trajectory simulation program for both unguided and VTS (vertical trajectory systems). The built in chart recorder captures over 29 variables during launch and flight. The program has a 17 motor database in MS Excel to select from or you can customize, The flight manual that comes with the software is more than a review of the Barrowman equations, its a fully documented course in flight mechanics and the methods of performing vertical trajectory control. "

This is an open source model rocket simulator written in Java by Sampo Niskanen as part of his Master's thesis work at Helsinki University of Technology.

Virtual Model Rocketry
This prgoram from Prowler Studios allows you to do a detailed simulation of your model rocket flight.

Features include:

Customize your rocket: Change the appearance of your rocket by choosing from 10,000 possible combinations of nose cone, fins and colors. You can select from 3 rocket sizes and a total of 45 rocket engines to soar through the sky in style!

Challenge your skills: Play in simulator mode and choose the difficulty level you want by combining engine power (altitude) with the diameter of the safe landing zone (from an easy 150 ft to only 15 ft) and wind force level (from 1 mph up to 30 mph).

Go for points: In arcade mode you have three launches (one for each scale) to try to land as close to the center of the target as possible to rack the largest amout of points and beat the high score for each difficulty level.

Accurate physics: Wind and gravity play a major role, so put on your thinking cap and calculate the optimal launch angle and direction according with the rocket's altitude and chute delay.

Realistic Environment: Launch rockets in two different realistic environments: desert or country. Realistic sound effects complete the atmosphere.

Model Rocket Altitude Predictor Programs 
NERO Software
Software available from the NERO rocketry club in the Netherlands

Rocketworkbench Project
This project seeks to develop "open source high quality software tools for the design of experimental rockets."

More Software & Software lists


The Art of C. Sergent Lindsey






Amazon: UK

Amazon: UK

Amazon: UK


The Next Shuttle by Dave Ketchledge


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