Book review Make: High-Power Rockets

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Front cover of Make: High-Power Rockets - book review make: high-power rocketsWhen I decided to get back into model rocketry, I really did not know a lot about high-power rocketry.  After attending a launch, this facet of the hobby really excited me.  Surfing the internet led me to many sites and sources.  One source was this book.  Here is my book review Make: High-Power Rockets by Mike Westerfield.

Book Review  Make: High-Power Rockets


This book is a great resource for new and experienced rocket hobbyists.  It offers concrete examples and uses actual kits and supplies that are available today.  The layout of this book helps the reader advance in the Tripoli or NAR high-power certification program.


Level One

Level One certification is the entry level in the high-power rocketry discipline.  It requires the hobbyist to build, launch, and successfully recover a rocket that uses an H or I impulse motor.

In the book, the level one chapters cover basic construction techniques.  It also has a nice section on the simulation software choices that you have.

The author chose to scratch build his rocket for level one with parts from LOC Precision.  It is a cardboard and wood fin design.  He details how to attach fins, bulkheads, and shock cord.

The author lists tools and equipment used in the rocketry hobby and explains their use in the build.  He offers a lot of hints and techniques to use in rocket construction and launch preparations.

Additionally, this section covers the assembly and preparation of reloadable rocket motors.   This part of the book was of great value to me.  It has pictures and instructions for every stage of motor assembly.  He has instructions for both primary motor manufacturers, Aerotech and Cesaroni.

Level Two

When the author moves on to level 2 certification (motor sizes J, K and L), he discusses dual-deploy recovery strategies.  Dual-deploy is an electronically-controlled parachute deployment system.  The usual way it is set up is to deploy a small drogue chute and rocket apogee and then deploy the main chute at a programmed altitude.

To make a dual-deploy rocket, a space in the rocket needs to be created to house the electronics and separate the rocket to create two parachute compartments.  Additionally, the book explains altimeter selection and parachute size calculations.

This section of the book also introduces fiberglass as a construction material.  The author takes about preparing and gluing fiberglass components.  He also covers health safety concerns when working with fiberglass.

A written exam is required to certify as level two and this book covers study materials and test preparation.  He discusses a lot of the concepts, theory and regulations behind the technical and safety test questions.

Level Three

Level 3 ( motors M, N and O ) is the final tier of high-power rocketry certification.  Sanctioning bodies prefer that the candidate design their own rocket.  The candidate will produce a large engineering package that has to be approved by a review board to continue forward with the build.

The book explains the creation of the engineering package and launch checklists.  Finally, this capstone project uses all the building techniques described in earlier chapters.

There is a nice section on telemetry systems for use in high-power rocketry.  He looks at radio equipment, sensors, and GPS systems.


This is a great book for the high-power rocketry enthusiast.  It has a nice section at the end that sources all the components used in all the projects he built for the book.  It is a good read and well worth the money as it will save you hundreds or maybe thousands of dollars in mistakes.


Make: High-Power Rockets by Mike Westerfield
Copyright 2018 978-1-4571-8297-6

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Make: High-Power Rockets back cover - book review make: high-power rockets
Back Cover

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