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Requirements - Launch Event

Now that you have built and finished your model rocket, it is understandable if you wish to launch your model rocket!  This is not hard to do, but it doesn't just happen by itself.  You must prepare for it.

In order to successfully launch your model rocket, you will need the following:

  • Excited students with a built, finished, ready to fly model rocket!
  • Suitable launch field - A field large enough to contain your model rockets during their entire flight, from launch to landing.  (You can review the Launch Site Dimensions chart in the NAR Safety Code for minimum site dimensions)  A good sized sports field is good for larger models like the Rhino or when using smaller motors (A and B).  Larger fields may be needed when launching smaller (faster) models or using larger motors.  PLEASE NOTE: You MUST seek and secure permission to use any field that you feel would be suitable for your launch.  Please do not trespass.
  • Glue: Due to the high probability that a model will loose a fin or be missing a critical part on the day of launch, it is very important that you bring glue to the field to do quick repairs.  It is recommended that you obtain a bottle of CA (super) glue and a spray bottle of accelerator (makes it dry even faster) for such repairs.  CAUTION! Do not let the kids play with or use the CA glue.  This should be for the teacher only.
  • Model rocket motors - Recommended motor type/size can be found on the front cover of the kit artwork
  • Model rocket motor igniters - provided with the motor when purchased, however it is recommended that you purchase an extra package or two in the event of misfires (where the igniter burns but the motor doesn't ignite)
  • Flame proof recovery wadding - This is a tissue like material that can be purchased at the hobby shop that goes into the model rocket between the motor and the parachute to protect the parachute from the heat of the motor ejection charge.  DO NOT use regular tissue as this can start fires.  Another (inexpensive) alternative is to use cellulose insulation available from any home improvement store.  It is flame proof, bio-degradable and inexpensive.
  • Launch pad - This is a stand that sits firmly upon the ground and has a 3 foot long by 1/8" diameter steel rod that slides through the launch lug on the model.  The function of the pad is to guide the rocket for its first 3 feet of flight until it is moving fast enough for the fins to keep the rocket stable.  The use of a launch pad is not optional.   It is required for safe flight.
  • Launch controller - This is a control box for launching the model rocket.  All model rockets are launched electrically as required by the NAR Safety Code.  A controller contains the following features:
    • 15 feet (or more) of duplex cord (lamp cord works great) from the controller box to the launch pad, with small micro or alligator clips on the end.   15 (fifteen) feet is the MINIMUM safe distance from the launch pad while launching model rockets.
    • Safety interlock (some method of breaking the connection to the battery.  This can be a key (for internal powered units) or simply unplugging the battery (for external powered units)
    • Launch switch - A momentary switch that is ON when pressed and returns to OFF when released, like a door bell button.
    • Battery - Either an internal battery pack or a cable ending in battery clips that can be hooked up to an external battery.

Motors, igniters, recovery wadding, launch pads and controllers can all be obtained at any hobby shop and many toy stores.  FlisKits does not currently carry such items, but we hope to in the future.

Motors and igniters are single use only and must be replaced with every flight.  If you have 20 students who want to fly 2 times each, you will need 40 motors.  Most of the motors called out in our Skill Level 1 kits can be purchased in educational bulk packs.  Ask your local hobby shop about discounts to schools and youth groups.  Also, if you are local to the central New England area, FlisKits may be able to help you obtain motors at a discount if provided with 4-6 weeks notice.

Recovery wadding can be purchase where ever you purchase your motors or, to save money you can purchase a small bale of cellulose insulation at your local home improvement store

Launch pads and controllers can be used over and over again and only need to be purchased once.  They can be purchased at local hobby shops but tend to be expensive.  It is also possible to construct your own pad and controller for much lower cost if you have experience with working with wood and electricity.  FlisKits provides plans for a simple set up and a more complex set up (see below) that you can consider as an additional element to your rocketry class.   Building your own equipment can teach you even more than just purchasing it.   For one thing, it can expose you to what NASA has to do (on a much smaller scale, of course) as they have to not only BUILD a Space Shuttle, but they also had to build the launch pad and the launch controller for the shuttle.

PLEASE NOTE: Your Skill Level 1 kit will come with instructions on preparing your model for flight, installing the igniter into the motor, the motor into the rocket and the rocket onto the launch pad.

Construction Plans!

Now, on to Wrap up Requirements!

If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.  Our goal is to help you be successful and to have fun with your group!  You can send inquires to:

FlisKits, Inc.
Education Dept
6 Jennifer Drive
Merrimack, NH 03054

or send us an email at:



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