Richard Nakka's Experimental Rocketry Web Site


               

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  This website is available on a CD
 NEW ! Now available, Volume 10 (February 2020 creation date) 
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 Cd orders listed by country...interesting statistic! 

What is this Web Site all about?

This web site is devoted to the exciting activity of Amateur Experimental Rocketry !

My goal in producing this web site is to share experiences, ideas and technical details of Amateur Experimental Rocketry with others around the world who have a similar interest. It is also my dream to help inspire a future generation of rocket engineers and scientists who will some day take us to Mars and beyond...
I launched my very first amateur rocket in 1972. Since that time, so very long ago, I've built, tested and flown many rockets, powered by motors which I've developed. Over the duration of this time, I've kept detailed notes of all my work, carefully logged all the flights and other tests, and have taken countless photographs. In this web site, I am presenting at least a portion of my work. In addition to my own efforts, I am including some remarkable work done by others in pursuit of this exciting and challenging avocation.

Amateur Experimental Rocketry ?

Amateur Experimental Rocketry is, in my humble opinion, one of the most challenging, exciting and educational hobbies. Unlike Model Rocketry or High Power Rocketry, experimental rocketry is an activity whereby rockets are designed and constructed entirely from "scratch". Most components -- including motor and propellant-- are self-made. The goal of Amateur Experimental Rocketry (AER), often simply referred to as Amateur Rocketry or Experimental Rocketry, is to design, build, test and launch rockets. In this context, rocket may refer to the motor itself, or to a complete vehicle that consists of motor, fuselage (and stabilizing devices such as fins), nosecone, and payload. One of the greatest challenges is to develop and build such a motor, one that is safe to produce and operate, reliable, and one that provides predictable and consistent performance. A second big challenge is to develop a recovery system, such as parachute deployment, that operates with a high degree of reliability under the demanding conditions of launch followed by high speed or high altitude flight. Striving to achieve these goals (and many others) and to overcome the inevitable obstacles, is what makes this such a challenging (and at times frustrating) and educational pastime, and one that requires diversified skills combined with a good dose of ingenuity. The outcome of all this, more often than not, is that one learns to genuinely comprehend that which is colloquially known as Rocket Science.

It might be said, then, that Model Rocketry and High Power Rocketry are best suited to those who wish to make and fly rockets, and Experimental Rocketry is perhaps best suited to those who rather wish to make rockets fly.


Contents of this web site are presented for informational purposes only. Author of this web site cannot assume responsibility for the use readers make of the information presented herein or the devices resulting therefrom. Amateur Experimental Rocketry has many inherent hazards that must be fully understood before one can consider becoming actively involved. Safety must always be considered as top priority. Anything less is a disservice to all Amateur Experimental Rocketry enthusiasts. If you do not have first-rate common sense, or if you are willing to take shortcuts that compromise safety, then AER is not for you.

Latest news


July 24, 2020-- Commercial rocket altimeters utilize a Standard Atmosphere model to compute altitude based on atmospheric pressure readings taken over the course of a flight. If a launch occurs when the ambient temperature is significantly different than the 15o Celsius assumed in the model, the apogee reported by the altimeter can deviate from the true apogee by several percent. My newest webpage discusses this and provides a means to make the correction.
Altimeter Correction to Account for Launch Site Temperature

April 30, 2020-- I decided to update the webpage on Amateur Experimental Solid Propellants as I realized the information was well out-of-date. Since I originally created that webpage, several new rocket propellants suitable for use by the amateur experimentalist have evolved. I have also been made aware of formulations used with success by other experimentalists. And I have included some interesting professional formulations that may serve as inspiration to the amateur rocket engineer.

March 30, 2019-- I have had good success using a Smoke Tracking charge in my rockets to aid visual tracking during the descent phase of flight. This is especially relevant when flying rockets to heights over a kilometre, where the rocket is nothing more than a speck amidst a vast sky. I've added a new web page detailing the design and construction of a Smoke Tracker.

August 10, 2018-- Static testing is a particularly important aspect of experimental rocketry. Whether testing a new or modified motor design, or developing a new propellant, static testing is an "acid test" that provides priceless data that allows us to assess (sometimes dramatically) the fruit of our efforts. Over the past while, I've conducted quite a few static tests. In the process, I'd come to realize that my Rocket Motor Static Testing webpage was lacking some important elements. Consequently, I have since revised the webpage, adding a description of how to measure chamber pressure and how to use such results to gain a more keen insight into how well a motor (or propellant) has performed.


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This site last updated July 24, 2020

Originally posted July 1997


"A man's reach should exceed his grasp...else, what's the heavens for?"