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
- 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
- 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.
Now, on to Wrap up
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:
6 Jennifer Drive
Merrimack, NH 03054
or send us an email at: