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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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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The NARTREK Skills Program Bronze Level

The NARTREK Skills Program is an excellent way to get exposed to different facets of the rocketry hobby.  NARTREK stands for National Association of Rocketry Training Rocketeers for Experience and Knowledge.  It consists of a set of three levels of achievement, Bronze, Silver and Gold.  Each level has four separate rocketry tasks.NARTREK Logo - The NARTREK Skills Program Bronze Level

To be eligible for the program:
  • You have to be a member of the National Association of Rocketry (It is their program after all).
  • You have to have flown a rocket before (not sure about this one).
  • Have your own launch equipment.  You do not have to use this equipment for your certification launches.
  • You must follow the NAR Safety codes and know the basics of the motor impulse coding system.  (C6-7, A8-3, etc.)

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Ode to the PerfectFlite StratoLoggerCF

To have a traditional dual-deploy high power rocket, you must have a flight computer. This flight computer has a built-in altimeter and programmable logic to fire pyrotechnic charges. To do my Tripoli Level 2 certification flight, I wanted to use a flight computer to get practice for my Level 3 attempt.  After reading reviews online I decided on the StratoLoggerCF built by PerfectFlite which I purchased from Apogee Components. I have been very happy with this computer and have flown it on numerous flights. So, without further ado here is my ode to the PerfectFlite StratoLoggerCF.Closeup - PerfectFlite StratoLoggerCF

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PVC Rocket Cradle

When I went to my first couple of launches, I noticed that a lot of people had stands to hold their rockets while they prepped them for flight.  There were metal and wooden cradles that worked well.  I also saw a PVC cradle that looked easier for me to build.Body tube on cradle - PVC Rocket Cradle

Self-priming PVC glue - PVC Rocket CradlePVC pipe is easy to work with.  It is like putting together tinker toys (that reference dates me, I know).  As this rig will not be holding any water pressure, buy the PVC glue that does not need a primer.  That eliminates a lot of the mess.

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Rocket Motor Design Class – Day Two

Rocket Motor Design Class – Day Two started with a discussion of solid rocket motors.  Interesting fact, one of the first useful American solid rocket motors was made in World War Two.  It was used to assist U.S. Army Air Corps bombers in taking off from small Pacific islands as many of the runways were very short.  The motor was made with ammonium perchlorate as the oxidizer and asphalt as the fuel.

John Wickman Burn Demo - Rocket Motor Design Class - Day Two
John Wickman in all his glory!

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Rocket Motor Design Class – Day One

I signed up for this course a few months ago and it started today.  You can find out all the details at Design & Make Your Own Solid Rocket Motors. I flew into Denver yesterday, rented a car, and drove to Caspar, Wyoming to attend this class.  After dodging a tornado, driving through a hail storm, and siting antelope; I arrived.  So let’s start with the Rocket Motor Design Class – Day One.Fun facts - Rocket Motor Design Class - Day One

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MixKwik Spray Paint Can Shaker

One of the things I hate is shaking spray paint cans when I am finishing a rocket.  I am not interested in getting a paint gun and thinning paint, cleaning, etc.  So I end up stuck using spray paint cans.

Many times, the cans have been in storage for a long time and it takes a lot of shaking to get a good paint result.  Enter the MixKwik spray paint can shaker!Basic view - mixkwik spray paint can shaker Continue reading “MixKwik Spray Paint Can Shaker”