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

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.

July 11, 2018-- It has been a long time coming, but I have finally completed the The Potassium Nitrate/Epoxy Composite Propellant (RNX) web pages.

June 22, 2018-- I have completely revamped the contents of the KNSB Propellant web page. A lot of the existing information was updated and I have added some new sections based on my more recent years of knowledge-gained and experience using this popular rocket propellant.

Quick Access to Web Pages on this Site


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This site last updated October 15, 2019

Originally posted July 1997

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