Rocketry Education


For those interested there is a great live feed of the NASA Student Launch Initiative launch that the NAR runs each year for NASA in Huntsville, AL.

The launch is scheduled for Sat. April 21 but the feed is live today with a Rocket fair

“NASA Student Launch Initiative, or SLI, challenges middle and high school students to design, build and launch a reusable rocket with a scientific or engineering payload to one mile above ground level, or AGL. The project engages students in scientific research and real-world engineering processes with NASA engineers.” -NASA

read more here


After the recent death of one of the icons of the Soviet Space Program, Boris Chertok(Learn more from previous post), I thought readers may enjoy this.

The NASA History Program now has Boris Chertok’s Rockets and People available online.

“This memoir by a towering figure in Soviet/Russian space history was originally published in Russian and has now been specially translated and edited for publication in the NASA History Series.”

“Much has been written in the West on the history of the Soviet space program, but few Westerners have read direct first-hand accounts of the men and women who were behind the many Russian accomplishments in exploring space. The memoir of academician Boris Chertok, translated from the original Russian, fills that gap.” -NASA History Program

Vol-1      Part 1    Part 2    Part 3

Vol-2   Creating a Rocket Industry

Vol-3   Hot Days of the Cold War

Vol-4  The Moon Race

Need to learn to fly your Gemini spacecraft? Here is an excerpt from a flight controller orientation film.

This is part of a DVD from Spacecraft Films. The Gemini DVD is here.

Freedom 7 Patch

May 5th 1961

Alan Shepard becomes 1st American in Space with a 15 minute 28 second suborbital flight. This was 23 days after Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. The launch occurred at 9:34 am EST . The spacecraft was named Freedom 7 and was launched on a Redstone booster(MR-3).

My guide to the Mercury Redstone

NASA: Freedom 7

Build your own Mercury RedstoneUltimate Paper Rocket Guide

Sailors the world over used to throw a weighted line into the water off of the ship to gauge the depth of the water. This was known as “to sound” or “a sounding”. Basically it was a measurement of the current depth. That is what research rockets usually do…they take measurements. This is why they are often called Sounding Rockets.
Sounding Rockets are sent usually into the upper atmosphere on suborbital flights. During these flights the rocket science payload takes measurements and is gently brought down by parachute. Often these payloads are refurbished and launched again and again. Sounding rockets generally fly to altitudes from 30 miles to 800 miles in a parabolic arc.

Sounding Rocket Flight - image: NASA

Most Sounding Rocket Flights in the US take place at Wallops Flight Facility off the coast of Virginia.
“NASA Goddard Space Flight Center`s Wallops Flight Facility, located on Virginia`s Eastern Shore, was established in 1945 by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, as a center for aeronautic research.
The research and responsibilities of Wallops Flight Facility are centered around the philosophy of providing a fast, low cost, highly flexible and safe response to meet the needs of the United States` aerospace technology interests and science research. The 1000 full-time Civil Service and contractor NASA Wallops employees act as a team to accomplish our mission in the spirit of this philosophy.
NASA also opens its unique facilities to industry for space and aeronautics research. Wallops expects an increase in commercial launch activity in the very near future.” -Wallops Flight Center

Wallops is an suprisingly busy place. Here is their online calendar schedule.

NASA Sounding Rockets

Sounding Rocket Information for Modelers and Researchers:

One of my favorite photos from last weeks Ares 1-X launch showed a very defined shock collar developing around the vehicle. Shock collars, shock eggs, or vapor cones are also known as the Prandtl-Glauert singularity occur when a drop of air pressure cause condensation around a craft traveling at transonic speeds.
Wikipedia article on Prandtl-Glauert singularity
Here are a few of my favorite rocket shock collars:


Ares 1-X shock collar



Apollo 11 shock collar


Shuttle shock collar


Back in the 1960s there were few educators as flamboyant and successful as Julius Sumner Miller. Professor Miller was the star of a highly successful science based TV show that appeared on Public television. The show “Demonstrations in Physics” was broadcast from 1963 – 1986. I remember being totally fascinated by his talks on physics and especially he lively experiments.

One of the main goals here at the Rocketry Blog is education.So here are some Youtube videos from that show that specifically apply to rocketry and rocketry education

….For those of you who remember these will be a treat.

click here for Bernoulli Part 2

click here for Newton’s 3rd Part 2

As schools across the country register for the 2010 Team America Rocketry Challenge we can now take a look at the 2009 event from the official video.

In a recent Gallup poll Americans show overwhelming support for the space program costs. An amazing 72% say the program funding should increase or at least stay the same.

As we gear up of a return to the moon and eyes set on future missions to Mars these figures show the persistent dreams and support of Americans and the space program. It is very important that we keep those dreams alive in today’s youth. Science and mathematics education and the promotion of  Sport Rocketry and other  aviation based endeavours are essential.

See all of the polls and information here.


How will you celebrate the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 and the Lunar landing?

I offer up this list of ways to celebrate.

In addition to all of the evil and destruction of the Third Reich stood many scientist and engineers who created many designs that were years ahead of their time. Whether or not those scientist and engineers supported the regime or if they were forced to produce is part of another discussion. The fact is some of the designs were absolutely brilliant. There are some great places on the web to reference these designs but one of the best for it’s information and great pictorial content is Luft ’46. You can spend hours there viewing the content and visual references.

A particular interest for rocketry modellers are some of the “rocket” plane designs. Of course there have been many modellers who have spent time with the V2 and it’s variants. I thought I would post a info on a few rocket plane designs that I feel could use the skill of a good rocketry modeller to create and fly a model of one or more of these. I plan to try at least one myself.

Feeling up to the challenge? Which would you build?

Both the Arado and the Diemler Benz are designed with powerful jet propulsion they would easily convert to rocket in a model.

A few concept rocket planes of the Third Reich (click to enlarge)

A few concept "rocket" planes of the Third Reich

References thanks to Luft ’46

von Braun Interceptor
Arado AR E.555-3
Daimler Benz Project “F”

Gagaran in capsule

Gagaran in capsule

On this day 48 years ago, Yuri Gagaran became the first man in space. His spacecraft, Vostok 1, orbited the earth at an average altitude of 187 miles.

Launch: 12 April 1961 06:07 PM GMT.

Landing Date: 12 April 1961 07:55:00 PM GMT.

  • Mass: 4,725 kg (10,420 lb)
  • Perigee: 169 km (105 mi)
  • Apogee: 327 km (203 mi)
  • Inclination: 64.95°
  • Period: 89.34 minutes

Read more – WikipediaHistory Channel

Vostok 1 Launch

Remember turning to the back of your favorite magazine and looking at the classified ads for really cool stuff. X-ray specs weren’t the only items on my list. Often there would be rocketry ads. Here are a few that I have found for your enjoyment.


Various Ads from 1968

Estes Ad from 1962 Popular Mechanics

Estes Ad from 1962 Popular Mechanics

Centuri ad from 1968 Popular Science

Centuri ad from 1968 Popular Science

Does anyone know what motors the following ad refers to?

1968 Popular Science

1968 Popular Science

Rocketeers in 1957

Rocketeers in 1957- Life Magazine

Life magazine working with Google released years of wonderful photographs online today. Of course the first thing I did was to take a look at the rocketry photos. Yes there are a few early photos of the rocketry hobby.

Here they are and

more (these are vinegar and soda type rockets)

Also there is a wonderful collection of missile and space related rockets. Definitely worth a look.

Life: missile and space related rockets

« Previous PageNext Page »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 130 other followers