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hpr2254 :: Introduction to Model Rocketry

Steve talks about the hobby of model rocketry including some of the advanced aspects of the hobby.

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Hosted by Steve Saner on 2017-03-23 is flagged as Clean and is released under a CC-BY-SA license.
hobbies, rockets, models, rocketry. 5.
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Duration: 00:54:08


Introduction to Model Rocketry

In this episode I introduce the hobby of model rocketry. I specifically highlight some of the advanced elements of the hobby to show how model rocketry goes from being a fun activity for kids to a serious hobby enjoyed by many adults.


  1. History of model rocketry.
  • Early amateur experimentation with rocketry.
  • G. Harry Stine develops the model rocket motor.
  • Vern Estes develops a way to mass produce motors.
  1. Basic model rocket components and flight.
  • Airframe, nose cone, and fins.
  • The part of the model rocket motor.
  • Recovery mechanism (parachutes and streamers).
  • The launch pad
  • The basic flight profile of a model rocket.
  • Building a typical model rocket kit.
  1. Scratch building your own designs.
  • Using commercial components.
  • Using ordinary materials for rockets.
  • Fabricating components: Lathes, laser cutters, CNC machines, etc.
  • Using CAD and simulation software.
  1. Craftsmanship and scale modeling.

  2. Model rocket competition.
  • Regional, national, and international meets.
  • Events: Altitude, duration, advanced recovery methods, payloads, egglofting.
  1. High power rockets.
  • Large rockets.
  • High altitude rockets.
  • Supersonic rockets
  • Composite motors.
  • Regulations
  • Certification
  • Materials
  1. Complex rocketry.
  • Motor clustering.
  • Staging.
  • Dual deployment.
  1. Electronics
  • Altimeters
  • Flight computers
  • Tracking
  • Cameras
  1. Experimental motors.

  2. National associations.
  • National Association of Rocketry (NAR).
  • Tripoli Rocketry Association (TRA).
  • Safety codes.
  • Liability insurance.
  • Local clubs.
  1. Safety.

  2. A little about my personal interests in model rocketry.


The following is a non-exhaustive list of companies that manufacture and/or sell model rocket kits and suplies. I've primary listed those that I'm most familiar with. There are certainly others.

These are some of the major manufactures of high power composite motors.

These are the two United States national model rocketry associations.

Resource for competition rocketry.

Here are a number of other interesting links


In the show I said that G. Harry Stine worked at the White Sands Missile Base. The correct name for that facility is White Sands Missile Range. But, during the time that Stine worked there, it would have been called the White Sands Proving Ground.


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Comment #1 posted on 2017-04-01 01:08:47 by Christopher M. Hobbs

Excellent show (and detailed show notes)! This was exactly what I needed. My son has been asking me about model rockets for a long time and I wasn't sure where to start looking for information.

Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a club in my area but I may have some friends who would let me launch on their property. It may be time to look for a kit!

Thanks for the show! cmh

Comment #2 posted on 2017-04-19 17:39:16 by Roan

ahh the memories

Hi, was thinking about your show last night, and the memories of building model rockets as a kid.

There was a hobby shop near my home, and at one point it had a row of model rockets, motors, starter kits etc. One of the most exciting times was building a two stage rocket that used either C or D motors. I remember the thrill of watching the two stages go off and then chasing it across fields as the wind caught the parachute on its return to earth.

Thanks for a great episode.

Comment #3 posted on 2017-04-23 16:32:43 by nstr


Thanks for a wonderful show on a subject I had no idea could be so interesting. I hope to hear more on this. Keep it up!

Comment #4 posted on 2018-04-04 15:38:58 by John E Thompson

Great Show

I am an avid rocketeer and enjoyed listening to your show.

How have your future rocket projects been?

Comment #5 posted on 2018-04-04 17:47:44 by Steve

Re: Great Show

I'm glad you enjoyed it. The project that I referred to in the episode didn't go quite as planned, but I'll give it another try at some point. Several other projects in the works as well. I'd be interested to hear about some of your projects.

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