Fly Rockets!

Backyard Ballistics (tm)

High Power & Model Rocketry
Content Copright 2001 - 2006 by Private Data, LLC
Mike holding Periwinkle's Pride & L1 Cert Papers
Mike holding Periwinkle's Pride & signed TRA Level 1 Cert Papers

High Power & Model Rocketry

I  obtained my TRA Level 1 certification on 09/19/2002 with Periwinkle's Pride.  It is a PML Black Brant VB with a Blues Clues paint scheme. Visit Periwinkle's Prides' webpage for construction details, launch report(s), a certification flight video, etc.

I am looking forward to acquiring RockSim 6.0 from Apogee Components and using it to design my next rocket. Update: I acquired RockSim 6.0 for my 2002 Christmas present. And 7.0 for my 2003 Present :) What a wife!

I also have PML BullPuppy 2.1 that I also received for Christmas that year. While my intention is to either scratch or heavily bash kits, I requested this as a Christmas build to cover me while I wore out RockSim designing my L2 hybrid rocket. Due to Whitaker rainouts I have not yet flown this rocket. I'm planning on flying it on Kosdon G-40 through G-155. Interestingly RockSim says it should be comparable to the PML BullPuppy on a AT H138 so I've challenged my friend to a drag race.

The BullPuppy 2.1 flies great on the AT F20 SU motors (minimum I'd say), up through those great, inexpensive Kosdon reloads. Unfortunately, some skywriting due to a "very slow" Kosdon G40 shortened the body tube - and it was marginally short enough for that Kosdon motor - so I lengthened it and bashed it for dual deploy for the RATT H-70 Hybrid. It'll still fly the Kosdons well enough too and with dual deploy now too. I don't have a page for her yet so here she is ( *finally after two years a picture of her!)

For my next rocket, I am considering  something V2ish. Consider a PML Lil Lunar Express with a stretch, 3 fins, and perhaps a ring fin.  I'm fantasizing, but I'd like to have a middle section that deployed several parachutists (at either apogge or main deployment).  I was thinking of bashing the Lil Lunar Express, but seeing a friend's, it seems like a heavy model as is from PML. I think I could build it lighter and with the mods I'd want, would need to replace many parts. So I'll likely use some custom PML parts - leveraging their work but purchasing parts specifically tailored for my project.

I would also like to have some smaller rockets for smaller fields as well as for the windier days. These two are sometimes mutually exclusive. I do like the Art Applewhite UFOs, and the SWARM, but these aren't good for windy days. So perhaps also some tubes  in the D-G range.

I'm  also very interested in Hybrids. I've purchased a Propulsion Polymers I160 from Pratt Hobbies. And I'm intererested in one of  Rene Caldera's Micro Hybrid. It offers something unique but also inexpensive flights as well. Plus fancy hardware for my tool fetish page. Roy Trzeciak-Hicks and Caveman Rocketry are producing finished motors. Since I don't have a lathe to finish a kit, I bought an assembled motor from Caveman Rocketry on a Rocketry Online Auction.

I would also like to experiment with different deployment schemes: Magnetic Apogee Detection and also Dual Deployment
Magnetic Apogee Detection was pioneered by Robert Galejs. His page is here. His kits are sold by Aerocon. And they have a nice article here. The kits are only about $30, and I think it'd make a great backup to motor ejection for non dual deployment rockets.

Dual Deployment would also be nice. Periwinkle's Pride's first flight, and my Level 1 Cert flight, was on a very windy day at Higgs Dairy Field (an MDRA launch). Due to Aerotech production and supply issues to Ken of Performance Hobbies, I ended up flying a Cesaroni H153 which propelled my rocket to a RocSim Altitude of 3650 ft. On a windy day. She was recovered (phew!) about a mile away on the far edge of a treeline.
Support Equipment under consideration
Horizontal Field Stand from RocketReviews

Rocket Fleet

Periwinkle's Pride
Periwinkle's Pride Hybrid bash (Periwinke's Pride Gets N2Oxious)
Ingergalactic ObjN2Oxious Space Explorer
Ignorant Of My Destiny
Upscale Snarky (RATTFINK)

L3 Standard Arm Project

Hybrid Rockets and Motors

This page covers my interest in designing, building, and flying hybrid rocket motors. Review the page, but the quick gist is I've got a Propulsion Polymers I-160 motor, have ordered a Caveman Rocketry Micro-Hybrid, and hope to L-2 on a PP J-140. Well, I didn't L-2 on the Hybrid due to GSE issues, but I do fly the PP tubes a lot and like them. 

I also bashed my BullPuppy 2.1 for a RATT H-70 and like that combo. There's a picture in the Bullpuppy section.

I have a RATT K-240 in the wings waiting for a rocket. I'll probably build a new lower fin section for my EX rocket (no link yet) . Maybe paint it yellow with yellowjacket black stripes for the Screaming Yellow Jacket? Or some RAT(T) theme.

I'd like to do my L-3 on a Hybrid. I was leaning towards the RATT but there are other options coming out so I'll see what's available when I actually have time to start on it. She'll likely be a STD ARM AGM-62.

Recovery Electronics

This page discusses rocket recovery electronics. The focus is on altimiters, timers, tracking transmitters, beepers, etc. Look elsewhere on this index page for other electronics.

Recovery Retention

This page discusses retention devices - such as Blacksky AARD, Tethy, homebrew devices.

Igniters & controllers

Ejection E-Matches and Motor Igniters describes ignition initiators: Compositions and construction.

Controllers This page discusses controllers including a CD ignitor controller I built from disposable flash cameras.There is some barely organized information on compositions that will move to the Igniters page.

Instrumented Load Cell

I'd like to build an instrumented static test stand and am gathering information for that project. Professor Terry McCreary's book on Composite Motor Design has an excellent, simple, implementation, and Paul Kelley's page has some good coverage.

Experimental Rocketry.

I'm getting into Experimental Rocketry.  I've played with Candy in 54mm, haven't twiddled with Epoxy, and have made  APCP for 38, 54, and now 75 & 98mm .

I've got McCreary's book Experimental Composite Propellants. Also Wickman's book, and then the Nakka web cd. Of course there's a-rocket, r-sol.

I've finished a PBAN curing oven / box, and have the vacuum processing setup to go as well as the mixer. PBAN because my wife is a Toxicologist and prefers the PBAN chemistry over the HTPB chemistry (due to the isocyanates as an allergic sensitizer).

Here's my poor Experimental Rocketry Web Page - mostly a collection of incomplete motor and o-ring specifications.

Composite Rocket Component Construction.

Composite Rocket Components are very lightweight and strong, Here's my page on Composite Rocket Component Construction and resources.

Level 3 Project L3

My Level 3 rocket project is done but the link likely doesn't point to the correct project or page.

Candy Rockets - so named since the fuel is sugar. Also AP, AN, ... stuff tossed in here too.

My goal is to characterize some candy PVC motors and also candy reloads for Aerotech or Kosdon casings.

Richard Nakka's " Nakka Rocketry Page " - Richard is the king of candy!
Jimmie Yawn's re-crystallized candy page
And there's the DAARK refererence here.
Some Flemish VRO books VRO Research Publications including work on micrograin and other topics .

There are now a number of other good candy references on the web; I'll update with those. sometime.

Since I didn't have a lathe at the time, I purchased some pre-made hardware for candy experimentation. Some folks, like Jimmie, are using AT cases. The EX folks, in general, tend to prefer Kosdon, Loki, or AMW cases  for pre-made cases.

I bought a Kosdon 29/150 case and a 1" "E" case from Performance Hobbies. I plan on using this for both APCP and Candy. One advantage of Kosdon hardware is that it uses a graphite nozzle that is good for many firings whereas most AT hardware requires new nozzles for each firing. The Kosdon does come with an unplugged closure so it must be plugged for candy use.

I also bought Caveman Rocketry "Basterd" engines in 24mm & 38mm sizes. The price and workmanship both looked decent. These use INOX (Euro stainless steel) nozzles which are reusable. The come with a casting mandrel.  An advantage of the INOX nozzle is durability; a disadvantage is fixed nozzle size, I've also heard the stainless nozzles are hard on o-rings - even silicone ones. Everybody always comments on the nozzle.

I've also picked up a Loki 54mm 4 grain case with the standard nozzle drilling and a couple sets of 5/8" casting tooling sets.

There are other suppliers, Aerocon sells the Purple Stuff D-I-Y hardware (made by PRO-X), there's the Thunderflame hardware, and also some nice hardware from Mostly Missiles. There's actually quite a few suppliers, though they seem to be hard to find even with Google. For example, MissleWorks has Ex stuff. I found that off another EX link here.

Rocket Motor Parts carries AT components and other EX related components (intersecting with Aerocon's EX supplies) as do others (Missileworks Experimental, ...)

Be sure to check my my poor Experimental Rocketry Web Page as it'll eventually be the root of all of this EX stuff.

Reloading ESTES Motors With Candy

I have been experimenting with reloading spent ESTES {A, C} cases with Candy. I have tried cored, loadings and free standing grains. The free standing grains have proved the best performing so far. More details will be provided, but the gist of it is to roll a candy slug, trim to 4.5cm or so, insert, and use 1/2 dia x 1/2" dowel for aft closure. No motor ejection charge but great for UFOs and other rockets not requiring staging or motor ejection. I don't have a load cell but performance is estimated in the high B / low C range. I was heading down other tangents to do this reloading but Jimmy Yawn suggested I review his success with free standing grains in small motors. I created a page with more details - check it out here.

AN Rockets

I have CP Technologies nifty book and intend to design and scratch build a rocket, including motor, with it.

Candy Rockets - October Science

The October Science folks have a Candy Rocket motor kit. I've cached their instruction manual.

Stomp Rockets

My son loves them. They suffer from a packaging defect - the tubing is tightly rolled and doesn't expand well. Thus my 2.5 year old couldn't get them to go far. One day while thinking of my neighbor the heart surgeon and what he does I got the idea to put stints into the tubing. Click here for a picture. The stints are short pieces of 1/2" CPVC that area tad loose in the hose. They have been slotted with my radial arm saw to make them flexible. They keep the outer tubing open while retaining operational flexibility so necessary with the kids jumping all over the bladder..

Water Rockets.

If you haven't built them you haven't had fun yet.

I suggested water rocket construction & flying as a "Junk Yard Wars" activity for a company picnic. It is under consideration and I building yet another handful of launch heads (I tend to give them away) so that I can demonstrate them. ( My at-home launch head was sent off after a launch-time accident that destroyed the launch head - an accidental over-pressurization). I am taking detailed notes of the process and will also be taking pictures.

Here's a picture of a passel of rockets and it's launcher. And here's some launch head assembly instructions I'm working up.

Particularly Cool & Retro Rockets

Like a lot of rocketeers I like the Sci-fi / Retro-Rocket look. I'm collecting a few ideas. Here are a few misc links I'm considering for ideas. I like swept back fins, curved fins, boat tails, the V-2 transport look. List is not inclusive!

The EMRR Scratch & Descon pages are particularly good to browse, and Estes & others have had fun designs to bash/build/upscale. Search "Futuristic Rockets" on EMRR.

Mercury Transport 29mm, DesCon 6 - StarFinder, Scratch Quasar - Upscale (there's some great resources linked off of the this Quasar page but go here for Steve Rogers home page and here for Quasar as it's not linked properly of EMRR), There's some good stuff on the EMRR Fantasy Photo Contest page.

Team Vatsass's Peculiar Rocket Page has Kidd Plasma's Flaming Atomic Meteor of Justice

I have a hankering to build a "rocket adapter" and launch a wood tube I'm buidling a didjeridoo from for a friend. Here's somebody's wooden rocket . Here's another beautiful OOP RetroRockets kit from the EMRR Fantasy Page

Ray Dunakin of HAKO Ballistics (and camera rocket fame) has some nice looking nose cones - including the upscale Argosy nose cone; I also like the booster offset nosecones. His booster hooks are nifty and I hope he builds his Streamliner - it looks fun. Putting here so I don't forget!

I also found some great rocket related clip art. It's here off of Mark Fisher's site.

Sounding Rocket Study of Eighteen Vehicles - off of Jim Ball's site (current respository of Peter Always stuff).

Machine shop

My quest for a lathe and milling machine.

Misc Links of interest

RockStock Links - some good stuff on clustering, glassing, photo cameras, L3,  ...

Level 2 Certification

I recently got my TRA L2 certification!

Area 52 members

Mike Marks
Tim Walston
Warren Pelton - Warren has been my biggest help in moving towards and obtaining my L1 Cert.
Mike Harris (myself - accolyte)

South East Launch Fields

The Colonial Virginia High Power Rocketry  page is a great jumping off point for the south east.
For North Carolina I launch at BayBoro (previously Whitakers).
For VA/MD I mostly launch with MDRA at the Higgs Field. Occasionally at Culpepper

General / links

Perdue AAE Propulsion Website "Smoke & Fire 101"
Air University Space Primer


SPL Swiss Propulsion Laboratories

Rocketry Top 50
Rocket Reviews
Paul Kelly / ERG
CP Technologies
aRocket Web Archives & List
MB Rocketry's Tips Page
Outside web link I'm considering integrating bits from