Richard Nakka's Experimental Rocketry Web Site


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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

Apr.15, 2017-- The 20th anniversary of my website is only a few months away. Interestingly, my website has been around longer than Google.

Mar.19, 2016-- The newly-created DS Rocket page chronicles the flights of my latest rocket project. The DS rocket is being flown in conjunction with the Zeta rocket. Eventually I plan to fly both at the same launch outing. My primary objective of the DS rocket project is to experiment with means of improving aerodynamic efficiency, such as with the use of fall-away launch guides.

Apr.14, 2015-- Readers of my web site have suggested that I add example problems to my Theory pages. Since I have always found worked examples to be particularly useful in understanding engineering problems, I have begun this undertaking (starting with the Nozzle Theory page), and will endeavour to add more examples over the coming months.

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This site last updated May 3, 2017

Originally posted July 1997

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