Featured AIRFest Flight Line - Return to Model Rocketry

Return to Model Rocketry

I came across high power rocketry while searching on the web a couple of years ago. I had not flown a rocket since the 1970s.  So, I started doing some more reading, contacted the local Tripoli Prefecture (Tripoli Tampa) and ordered my first kits.  As a result, I have gotten my Tripoli certifications, contributed to the local club leadership, and started this blog.  This post will detail some of the resources and knowledge I have gained in my return to model rocketry.

Estes Rockets on launch pad
Model Rockets on the Pad

When I started this article, I was thinking that it could be covered in one post. As it turned out, it is going to take multiple articles to cover everything. At the end of each article, I will post the link to the next. Here is a list of all the articles in the series.

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AIAA Rocket Testing Workshop Attendees

AIAA Rocket Testing Workshop

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) holds a propulsion exposition every year.  Part of the exposition are ancillary workshops on topics in the propulsion arena.  One of these workshops was held at the Zucrow Laboratories on Purdue University’s Lafayette, Indiana campus. I attended this workshop with about 50 other scientists, industry professionals, students, and two hobbyists (one which was me).  What follows are some of the highlights from the AIAA Rocket Testing Workshop that interested me as a rocket hobbyist and space enthusiast.

Zucrow Labs - AIAA Rocket Testing Workshop
Purdue University Zucrow Laboratories
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Sled Layout - BOTC84 Electronics Bay

Model Rocketry Electronics

Back in my childhood, there were no electronics for model rocketry.  Integrated circuits and semiconductors were just starting to be produced commercially.  Although Estes did have a manual camera rocket, I never purchased one.  Today, it is a different story.  Model rockets are flying altimeters, flight computers, GPS radios, high-definition video cameras, and even remote-control gliders.  So, let’s take a look at some model rocketry electronics that I have used.

Electronics Sled - Model Rocketry Electronics
Electronics Sled
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Solid Rocket Motor Static Firing - Model Rocketry Propulsion

Model Rocketry Propulsion

In the first article of this series, Return to Model Rocketry, I discussed some of the kits and kit manufacturers that exist today. However, a rocket without some way to propel it into the sky is just a cardboard, fiberglass, or carbon fiber tube. This article will talk about model rocketry propulsion in its various forms.

Various Motors
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Gus Grissom's Liberty Bell 7 - Tripoli Tampa May 2019 Launch

Tripoli Tampa May 2019 Launch

It was a beautiful day at the Varn Ranch for the Tripoli Tampa May 2019 launch. The winds in the morning were very light and they picked up slightly around midday. Consequently, a lot of large impulse launches were conducted. Notably, two of the M impulse launches were Tripoli Level 3 Certification flights. Both flights were successful

High Power Pads - Tripoli Tampa May 2019 Launch
High Power Launch Pads
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It was a cold, rainy day when I drove into the town of Plymouth, Wisconsin. The GPS said to go to the big blue building. An email from Jason said to enter the door with the karate sign over it and look for the sign. Finally, I saw the sign over the door. The door that started my LOC PRECISION factory visit.

Sign - LOC PRECISION factory visit
The “Sign”
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USF SOAR Two-Stage Rocket Launch

In my report yesterday, I mentioned the fact that the winds were too strong for any high altitude launches. One of the rockets scheduled to launch was the University of South Florida Society of Aeronautics and Rocketry’s huge two-stage rocket project (Codename: TAURUS). So, here are the pictures and video of the USF SOAR Two-Stage Rocket Launch.

USF SOAR Team - USF SOAR Two-Stage Rocket Launch
USF SOAR Construction Team
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Tripoli Tampa April 2019 Launch

With a major weather front passing through the area on Friday, it was a very windy day! Consequently, the decision was made to get all the pads set up and hope for the best from the winds. The skies were perfectly clear. So, the Tripoli Tampa April 2019 Launch was a go!

American Flag - Tripoli Tampa April 2016 Launch
Tom’s Rockets American Flag in the winds.
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NARCON 2019 Report

NARCON is the National Association of Rocketry‘s annual technical conference. The site for this year’s NARCON was the launchpad of America’s space program, Cape Canaveral. So, what follows is my NARCON 2019 report.

Spaceman - NARCON 2019 Report

Held once a year at a different location, NARCON is a great way to make new friends and reconnect with old friends. Attendees can learn about developments in the model rocketry hobby, rocket history, build techniques and the current status of the United States Space Program.

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