Rocketry: Getting Started

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Hello and welcome to Rocketry: Getting Started! This page will cover what you'll need to know before your first countdown!

If you want too, you can buy an off the shelf rocket kit and engines, throw it together and let it go, but its hard to learn anything and progress further from there. This guide will be focused on laying a foundation for how to go from complete novice to a beginner, because rocketry is much more than reading some words on a wiki page and watching YouTube videos (even though that's a large part of it!). The sections listed below go over, How to Build an Amateur Rocket, Learning from Failures, Safety and General Procedures for Success, and achieving your Rocketry Level Certifications!

How to Build an Amateur Rocket

Before you build anything, you'll need to gather your supplies. Although not sponsored in any way, I highly recommend looking at Apogee Rocket Components. Apogee Rocket Components has everything you'll need from building your first rocket, to building an advanced, duel stage, duel deployment rocket. Aside from Apogee, feel free to look at any other rocket component supplier website or even better! Go into your local hobby shop, most of the time the employees there will be extremely helpful in helping you find the right parts.

Next, you'll need to know the basic fundamentals of putting a rocket together. UNH SEDS created a simple slideshow that lays out what you'll need, and some tips and tricks along the way. Check out UNH SEDS Rocket Building 101!

Safety and General Procedures for Success

Safety first! We've all heard about "Safety First!", and when it comes to rocketry its no exception. We are working with explosives and projectiles traveling at high speeds. General Rules, Regulations & Safety Information

Field Safety The golden rule with respect to selecting a launch field is the 1 to 1 ratio. Your field should be as large across, as your expected max altitude. Meaning, if your rocket is expected to reach 300 meters (1000 ft), then your field should have a diameter of 300 meters (1000 ft).

Be mindful of weather conditions. The best days to launch rockets are on clear days, with little to no wind. Hazards associated with overcast and windy days include:

  • High wind speeds, taking your rocket outside your launch field.
  • Loose of sight of your rocket. You become increasingly dependent on your recovery system to prevent injury from "lawn dart" rockets.

Rocketry Level Certifications

General Level Certification Information

Terminology and Key Concepts

Specific Impulse