By Jeff Victor on May 09, 2007
One of my many hobbies is rocketry. Just a guess, but you've probably heard of it. If not, check out the two main rocketry associations in the USA: the National Association of Rocketry and Tripoli Rocketry Asociation. The latter is an international organization, with groups ("prefectures") in North America, Europe, Israel and Australia.
I have always been interested in rockets, ever since watching man land on the Moon back in 1969. I launched "hobby rockets" in the late 1970's, but only recently re-visited the hobby. I found that things had changed. First, they are called 'rocs' now. Also, video cameras are common, and the web is everywhere: here is a video of a large high-power rocket and a chapter in the saga of Nibbles the Astro Cat.
|My first "mid-power" rocket was an Aerotech Arreaux.
It flew on motors of different sizes, up to a G33, and to a maximum
altitude of 2,000 feet (600m). It usually carries a sampling altimeter
because... well, just 'because.'
The picture to the right is my Arreaux after a few flights. It is about 43" (109cm) tall.
Moving on (and up...) this year I am building a
Loc-Precision Vulcanite kit. My goals for this rocket are
my Level 1 Certification and to fly it to an
altitude over one mile (1.6km). While doing that the rocket
would exceed Mach 1. Achieving my L1 certification allows me to
purchase H and I rocket motors.
I chose the altitude goal "because it's there."
The picture to the right is my Vulcanite during construction. It is about 53" (135cm) tall. The red metal cylinder to its right is a machined aluminum rocket motor casing for a J motor, which can also be used to launch this roc. I might attempt to get my Level 2 certification, which would allow me to buy J motors.
If you ever launched hobby rockets, you may recognize the C6-5 motor to the right of the J casing. Back in the 1970's we thought that was a big motor... but a J motor can produce over 100 pounds (440 newtons) of thrust at liftoff, and a total impulse (thrust measured over time) of 100-150 times that of a C motor. Just in case I fly the Vulcanite on a J, I strengthened the structural components. "You never know."