Spaceport Rocketry Association

Premier rocketry organization serving the Florida Space Coast since 1973


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Spaceport Rocketry Association Educational Information 


A mission of SRA is to aid and encourage by all suitable means all people interested in sport, amateur and experimental rocketry, and its related sciences, in a safe, fun and enjoyable family environment. The SRA has a long and proud heritage of supporting student groups and activities. 


Rocketry Educational Information - This is rocket science!

Forces on a Model Rocket

Flying model rockets is a relatively inexpensive way for students to learn the basics of aerodynamic forces and the response of vehicles to external forces. Like an aircraft, a model rocket is subjected to the forces of weight, thrust, drag, and lift.

Fundamentals of Rocket Stability

Following the liftoff the rocket often turns into the wind. This maneuver is called weather cocking and it is caused by aerodynamic forces on the rocket. During the flight of a model rocket small gusts of wind, or thrust instabilities can cause the rocket to "wobble", or change its attitude in flight. When disturbed by external forces a stable rocket will always tend to return to it's original flight path.

Model Rocket Stability: The Basics

The principle of air pressure blowing against an object and causing it to turn is well demonstrated by a weathervane. The swing test is a basic test to give you a rough idea how your model rocket will fly.

Wind Caused Instability

Rocketeers intending to fly on windy days should learn more about their rocket's stability than merely whether or not the CG is at least 1 caliber forward of the CP. It is not a good idea to launch rockets in winds between about 15 mph and the 20-mph limit unless their stability characteristics are particularly favorable for these conditions.

Download OpenRocket

Don't have a wind tunnel handy to check your rocket stability? No problem, today's technology enables us to run sophisticated rocket simulation on the typical desktop computer. OpenRocket is a free, fully featured model rocket simulator written in Java. It can be used to design and simulate rockets before actually building and flying them. OpenRocket features a full six-degree-of-freedom simulation, realistic wind modeling, a multitude of different components including free-form fins and canted fins, clustering and staging.

Fundamentals of Rocket Motors

To move a model rocket through the air, we must use a propulsion system to generate thrust. All rockets rely on some type of engine to generate power. Rocket engines depend on the burning of fuel to produce power. There are two main categories of rocket engines; liquid rockets and solid rockets. In a solid rocket, the fuel and oxidizer are mixed together and packed into a solid cylinder.

High Power Rocket Motor Basics

Reloadable solid rocket motors basically consist of a motor casing which is lined with heat resistant material and filled with a combustible propellant. The propellant is burned to provide high volumes of expanding gases, which are accelerated through a nozzle at one end of the motor to provide thrust according to Newton's third law. The motor casing contains these very hot expanding gases so that they can be directed towards the nozzle.

Launching Safely in the 21st Century

NAR Special Committee Final Report on Range Operation and Procedure

Sport rocketry has been an exceptionally safe hobby for a half century, with roughly four hundred million flights conducted without a rocket-caused fatality. However, from time to time people have been injured and property damaged by both model and high power sport rockets. Hobby rocket fliers have an ethical imperative to act responsibly toward children, spectators, and those off-site, as well as towards our own fliers and equipment. This report is the result of recognition by the National Association of Rocketry that continued safety in sport rocketry requires periodic thorough evaluation of the hazard potential of the hobby as currently practiced and the measures used to mitigate these hazards.

Dual-Event Recovery Information
Two-event recovery is electronic based apogee (drogue) and main recovery. It adds complexity to the rocket, increases the cost, and increases the rocket preparation time. However, these disadvantages are quickly overcome by the desire to decrease recovery time (and therefore drift) as the rocket altitude increases.

Motor Clustering Information

Motor clustering is the use of more than one motor fired at the same time. Clustering adds together the thrust level, and thus the lifting or pushing power, of all the motors used. This makes it a good technique for lifting heavy payloads and large rockets. 

Motor Staging Information

Motor staging is the use of more than one motor, each fired in sequence, and typically with each motor (stage) being discarded after it is used. Staging extends the thrust time which makes this technique especially effective for achieving higher altitudes.

Anatomy of a Successful Failure

High power rockets are capable of causing significant damage yet the High Power Rocketry hobby has an excellent safety record. "Anatomy of a Successful Failure" was an article written by one of our members that shows safety is no accident.


Rocketry Educational Web Sites

Beginner's Guide to Rockets 

The Beginner's Guide to Rockets will help you learn the basic math and physics that govern the design and flight of rockets. At this Web site you can study how rockets operate at your own pace and to your own level of interest. 

Beginning Model Rocketry 

This site is for anyone interested in space, rockets, and model rocketry. These pages will give you some background on the hobby, hopefully answer some questions, and get you started on your way to becoming a rocketeer. 

HobbyLinc Guide to Model Rockets 

HobbyLinc has a guide to model rockets that includes everything from the anatomy of a model rocketry, to choosing, building and launching your own rocket.

Rocketry Online INFOcentral 

The online hobby rocketry resource. Designed to assist old and new enthusiasts alike, INFOcentral presents commonly referenced industry terms and definitions together with graphical representations of the subject matter. 

r.m.r FAQs 

The rec.models.rockets (r.m.r) list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is an attempt to compile a number of questions and suggestions into a single document. Although this document is not a 'how to' on any form of rocketry, it's hoped that it might be of use in answering some of the more commonly asked questions, summarizing some good tips and suggestions, and directing the reader to other documents, books, sources, etc., where more information may be found.


Rocketry Educator Packs

 

NAR Rocket Teacher Certification Program

This is a program to train teachers to have the skills to build and fly model rockets and the confidence to lead a rocketry lesson in the classroom. A teacher will build and launch a simple model with a NAR member or section and receive formal recognition to be a ‘model rocket science teacher.’

 

Rocketry Educators Pack by Apogee Rockets

In this document, you’ll find a stockpile of resources that you can use in your rocketry unit at school. There are great things like overhead transparency images, handouts, award certificates, coloring pages, and quizzes that you can print out and give to your students. Pick and choose what works for you; the overhead transparencies will also work great in PowerPoint presentations! 

 

Rocketry Educators Pack by NASA

The Rockets Teacher Guide builds on classroom experience and presents a suite of improved and activities that prepare students for the future of space exploration. It has found widespread use because of the exciting nature of the topic and because of its dynamic classroom activities that match and support both national and state education standards for science, mathematics, and technology. This revision of the guide, by the original authors, updates educators on NASA’s 21st Century Space Exploration Policy and the vehicles that will make this vision possible. 


Student Rocketry Competitions 

 

Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC)

TARC gives students opportunities to apply their math and science skills to a real world project outside of the classroom.  For many students, this experience yields their first significant personal realization of how what they are learning in school is relevant to endeavors that are fun, challenging, and represent potential future career pathways.  Through TARC, students have discovered that they enjoy solving math and science problems in the context of resolving difficult and complex design issues.  Often TARC is also their first exposure to the aerospace industry.  They learn what aerospace engineers and skilled technical workers do and what it takes to become one of those professionals.

 

Rockets For Schools

Rockets for Schools provides an opportunity for students to learn about aerospace technology, scientific experiments, and space launches. Student teams construct a rocket equipped with a powerful motor that lifts it to high altitudes. Besides constructing their rocket, students design a payload experiment to fly on their rocket. In addition, students give an oral presentation and prepare a visual display of their experiment to exhibit at the event. 

 

Student Launch Initiative

The NASA Student Launch Initiative (SLI) involves middle and high school students in designing, building and testing reusable rockets with associated scientific payloads. This unique hands-on experience allows students to demonstrate proof-of-concept for their designs and gives previously abstract concepts tangibility. Teams can qualify to participate in the SLI by placing in the top level two teams at the Rockets for Schools competition or by placing in the top at the Team America Rocketry Challenge, or TARC.




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