A Close Look At Model Rockets

Was there a time that you wanted to watch rockets roar up into space? Was there also a time that you wanted to experience launching one yourself? Of course, that is quite impossible not unless you have a wealth of money in your pocket that you can use to fund your own rocket research and construction. With model rockets, however, you can now fulfill that life's dream.

What Are Model Rockets?

Model rockets are miniature rockets. Aside from being replicas of real rockets, these projectiles can actually be launched. They are capable of flying to an altitude of up to one thousand five hundred feet, and at least three hundred feet in some models. In short, they are the perfect toy for the aspiring rocket scientist to play with.

How do these model rockets fly? They are propelled by a single engine that uses black powder as propellant. Black powder is commonly used in gunpowder and in pyrotechnic displays, making it ideal for propelling the model rockets up to such high altitudes. The gunpowder is ignited using an electric match built into the rocket body, which is made of cardboard. This then sends the projectile up into the sky.

History of Model Rockets

The history of model rockets stretches back to even before the first launch of the Russian-made Sputnik. Orville Carlisle had already created a miniature rocket with working engines in 1954 for educational reasons; he used it in rocket science lectures. It would take three more years until the rocket was redeveloped into a hobby.

Carlisle realized the marketability of his educational tool when he discovered how people wanted to build model rockets, all of which had dangerous results when tested and flown. This was after Sputnik was launched in October 1957.

After Carlisle's design was tested by G. Harry Stine, the models were built, and safety standards were formulated basing initially on Stine's literature about the rockets. The National Association of Rocketry was then organized in 1957 to oversee the practice of rocketry as a hobby.

Is It Safe to Pursue This Hobby?

Given the presence of black powder, some people have inhibitions about the use of model rockets. They believe that these toys are not safe. They can be assured, however, that model rockets are perfectly safe. Anyone can pursue the hobby.

There are several standards that dictate the manufacturing and use of a model rocket; these standards were passed to ensure that the usage of these model projectiles is as safe as possible for people.

Model rockets can be flown and used repeatedly. This way, one does not need to buy a new toy to continue the hobby. There are also reloadable rockets available, which use a variety of means to "recover" the rocket after being launched. One common way is to use a parachute that pops out once the rocket has its maximum altitude. This way, the rocket lands back without injuring anybody, as the momentum of a dropping projectile can enhance its weight and impact greatly even for cardboard bodies. This addresses the danger that rockets might injure somebody when they fall back to the ground.

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