I tried launching a few of my model rockets today. And, like NASA, I got a scrubbed launch due to weather. The wind was whipping around too fast for a lot of launches. I got one in, but it took off and instead of going straight up, it leaned into the wind and had a large amount of horizontal distance involved. It landed about 3/4 of a mile away, in chest high soybeans. If I didn’t have a locator beacon on it, I never would have found the rocket.
There are three different subsets to model rocketry. There is the true model rocketry, which the rockets are generally 6″ to 24″ in size and use A to D powered motors. Then there is mid-powered rocketry, where the rockets are 2 to 4 feet long and use E to G motors. Then there is High Powered Rocketry, where rockets start big and go toward massive. These use H and up motors. I included motor sizes because I wanted to tell you about them. Every letter you go up, you double the total power of the motor. Two C’s equal one D, Two J’s equal one K. But, one K equals 256 C’s.
When I say High Power Rockets are big, I mean big. As in 1/3rd scale, 1/2 scale, in one instance full scale of a real life missile. It is not out of the ordinary to see a 1/3rd scale V2 rocket at some of the larger launches. The difference is we build ours out of cardboard tubes and Fiberglas, not metal. Instead of a warhead, we have a parachute so we can recover the rocket intact and fly it again. Rockets also have no guidance system, they just go up and come back down again, hopefully the take off and landing sites are close together.
I have a high power project of my own underway. The last one didn’t fare too well, you can see before and after shots of them with me. The landing on this one was a little rough. The parachute didn’t come out like it was supposed to and it fell straight down from 3,000 feet, driving the nose cone about a foot deep into hard packed soil. It was a total loss. Hey, it happens.
Now comes the fun part. I am a rocket scientist. I must understand and harness the same principals of construction and flight dynamics as those big boys at NASA. The only significant difference is their budget is bigger than mine, so of course their rockets are bigger.
Rocketry is a fun sport that can be enjoyed by children and adults, boys and girls, and it is frequently a family event. Try it today and see!