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Rocket Space
Blasting off...

Team America Rocketry Challenge
Jeff Foust - spacetoday.net
A student rocket launch at the Team America Rocketry Challenge final
competition in Virginia, May 11, 2003. The Challenge has been continued
annually since then.

Amateur rocketry now ranges from the model rockets you buy at your local hobby store to high power rockets available to qualified adults to advanced rockets, built by serious amateur rocketry groups, that are approaching the threshold of space.


Model rocketry grew rapidly in the 1950's with the wave of interest in the new space age. It introduced rocketry while using safe, commercially available motors, and thus avoided the dangers of mixing ones own propellants. It is a popular hobby both for adults and young people.

High power rocketry has grown in the past few years to become a booming hobby for adults with numerous clubs and regular rocket meets. These events must obtain a special clearance from the FAA for a given maximum altitude allowed for the day.

Amateur rocketry, however, now extends even beyond high power to Advanced Rocketry. Numerous rocketry groups are attacking amateur high altitude records and are getting close to the official borderline of space, i.e. around 100km.

Note that the participants in these efforts require advanced training and skills to deal with the dangers and complexities of building their own rocket solid rocket motors as well as liquid fuel engines and hybrids of solid and liquid propellents.

Latest Rocketry News

See the archive for previous articles & special topics

Rocketry News Sources

Getting Started

Model Rockets

Model rocketry is a great hobby for young and old (more than half the people flying model rockets are adults (ref)). You will learn the basics of rocketry and have a lot of fun at the same time.

Model rockets are constructed of non-metallic materials, e.g. cardboard or plastic. One can purchase rocket frames or build ones own. However, only commercially available solid rocket motors should be used. This avoids the serious dangers involved in making ones own propellants. Motors are limited to G or lower (see the NAR Motor Power tables).

Model rocketry in the U.S.A. must be carried out under the Model Rocket Safety Code. Rockets must comply with National Fire Protection Association Code 1122 to be classified as model rockets.

Model rockets can be purchased at most hobby stores. Most of them allow new motors to be inserted for multiple use.

Although model rockets don't reach the size and altitudes of the high power variety, they still can provide an impressive show with G powered rockets standing up to 2 meters. Furthermore, they can be quite elaborate and sophisticated with such enhancements as multiple stages, video camera payloads, radio telemetry, radio controlled glider return, etc.

For more introductory information on model rocketry, see

High Power Rockets

While still part of consumer rocketry (i.e. certified motors are purchased from dealers rather than built at home), high power rocketry is an adults only hobby that requires training and certification.

High power rockets use motors above G level (see the NAR Motor Power tables) and can reach over 6000 meters in altitude. (see Tripoli Altitude Records records.)

See the NAR -- High Power Rocket Safety Code for guidelines for using HP rockets. High power rocket launchings in the U.S.A. require an FAAWaiver. If the propellant exceeds 62.5 grams, a permit from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is required. For more information:

Events and Happenings of Interest

Rocketry Associations

National Association of Rocketry
NAR is the largest and oldest of the amateur rocketry associations was founded in 1957. Its provides numerous services to the amateur rocketry community including organizing sport events (launching for fun) and competitions (e.g. highest, longest flight, most realistic,etc), issue high-power certifications, sell liability insurance for rocket meets, and more.

The web site provides lots rocket educational pages such as a nice introductory overview.

The Technical Services section (NARTS) provides model rocket design plans, books, software, etc. They also have an extensive catalog with items for sell that include books, reports, paraphernalia, posters, scale data, rocket plans, software, etc.

Tripoli Rocketry Association
One of the largest organizations devoted to high-powered rocketry. Provides user certifications, sponsors rocketry meets such as the national LDRS event, publishes the Rockets Magazine, etc.

Independent Association of Rocketry
IAR is an organization of non-professional rocketeers to promote all levels of rocketry from low-power to high-power. Founded in 1995.

Other Rocketry Associations
Sample of Local Rocketry Groups

Club Lists
Find a rocket club near you with these lists.


Rocketry Contests

Rocketry Websites & Link Lists

This site was "created by a group of individuals affectionately know as the SRN Volunteers for the sole purpose of attracting new rocketeers into our clubs and organizations."

The site provides materials to "introduce you to every aspect of Sport, Experimental, and Amateur Rocketry. Inside you'll find easy to understand information for the beginner, information on local clubs and national organizations, a vast array of rocketry vendors, and links to other great rocketry web sites."

Rocketry Online!
This massive site provides resources on virtually every aspect of amateur rocketry. Has dozens of separate sections such as vendors, books, education links, etc.

Devoted to amateur and experimental rocketry, T.J. Patterson has created this site with lots of links and resources.

Estes Educator
Virtually synonymous with model rocketry, Estes provides a nice site with a strong emphasis on education rather simply an online product catalog.
John Coker's Rocketry
Lots of rocketry resources ranging in areas from model rocketry to advanced high power amateur projects.
Essence's Model Rocketry Reviews
Read reviews of rockets before you purchase them. This site encourages you to contribute your review of a rocket you enjoyed or was disappointed by.

European Rocketry Webring:
A web ring devoted to "model rocketry, experimental, amateur and highpower rocketry".

This site provides "a comprehensive online resource covering the technical and historical aspects of small sustained thrust micro rocket motors for use in model airplanes and other craft."
Other Sites of Interest

Hobby Rocketry:
Sample of Special Events and Projects

Steve Eves 1/10 Scale Saturn V

Believed to be the largest high-power scale model rocket ever to launch and safely return. It flew on April 25, 2009 from a site in Price, Maryland.

Parameters of interest:

The rocket weighs over 1,600 pounds, stands over 36 feet tall and will be powered by a massive array of nine engines, eight 13,000ns N-Class motors and one 77,000ns P-Class motor. The estimated peak altitude of the flight is 4,000 feet.

More info:

Proceed to the Advanced Rocketry Section

Reaction Research launch
Reaction Research Society


The Art of C. Sergent Lindsey




The Next Shuttle by Dave Ketchledge


Amazon: UK

Amazon: UK

Amazon: UK



UK Amazon
Creating Space
Creating Space: : The Story of the Space Age Through Models
Mat Irvine - 2002
Amazon: US UK
Creating Space takes us on a journey through the history of the space age, up to the present and beyond... a detailed chronicling of vehicles is given, side by side with pictures and details of models that depict the multitude of aircraft and spacecraft developed throughout the world....
extensive appendices provide details of all of the space-related models ever made and the many manufacturers and distributors who have supplied them "

Spaceship Handbook
Spaceship Handbook
Jack Hagerty,
Jon C. Rogers - 2001
Amazon: US UK

All about spaceship designs in both sci-fi and actual aerospace. Great for modelers but also for anyone interested in the history of spaceship concepts.



High Power Rocketry
Amazon: US 

Created for the adult enthusiast, each issueof High Power Rocketry comes with great model designs and instructionals, reviews of the latest equipment and technology and profiles of the people who share in your love of rocketry.
Modelers Resource
Amazon: US 

Scale Aviation Modeler International
Amazon: US 

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