Hot Tips & Resources

Papers & Websites


Design, Build, and Test Small Liquid Rocket Engines
Copyright 1967 by Leroy J. Krzycki 

Combustibles Burning in Changing Pressures  - Why ejection charges don't want to function in a vacuum - A dP/dt Failure Monograph by Bill Colburn

Redstone Arsenal  
Propellant Mixing and Handling Protocols

The Carbon Resistor Igniter -pdf or read from heritage webpage
A white paper by the late Bob Dahlquist  

Hybrid MicroMotors - William Colburn and Dave Oback, first use of Whip-It nitrous bulbs for rocket motors 1994. pdf file

Fiberglass Nosecone Fabrication - Mike Yammamoto, 2001 pdf file

On Making High Current Electric Match - by William Colburn, pdf 

Thiokol's "Rocket Basics", an excellent primer on rocketry

University Student Project Papers

Richard Nakka's 1984 Thesis on Solid Rocket Motors


Active_Stabilized_rocket_- David Wyatt.pdf (52 pages, might take a while to load)


Amateur Rocketry and Ballooning Pages:

Gene Nowaczyk's Big Adventure - BALLS 2006 Flight to 100K Feet

Hans Olaf Toft's Rocket Website in Frederiksberg, Denmark
An excellent site.

Rocket Equations - Randy Culp's terrific website

Richard Nakka's definitive site

A great list of amateur rocketry software from  

aRocket's Homepage - lots of amateur links

aRocket listserver archives - searchable if you subscribe

BooksOnline - Lots of historical and technical information - Great resource page on amateur rocketry - thanks Eva & MCS!


Near Space Balloon Tracker - Venturing to the edge of space with balloon payloads

Balloon Boy - John Ballard's high altitude adventure, pictorial. UNR hydrogen balloon project

The Dino Mission - The Snider boys balloon project

A Kid's Space Center - Fun with Model Rockets (thanks Rachel!)







Use of Aqua Environment Dome Load Regulator in Rocket Blow Down Propulsion Systems
by Mark Holthaus  -  

Grove Mity-Mite Setting Instructions - Try finding this anywhere else on the Net! 

Automatic Acceleration Actuated Tracking Smoke/Flare - How to use smoke candles to track your rocket 

Download typical load cell mounting instructions here PDF

Load Cell Trouble Shooting - Figger out what's the matter with that pesky load cell

Load Cell Primer - Why they work and how to set them up

Pressure Transducer Primer - Why they work and how to set them up

Tank Tips - cleaning, hydrotesting, sealing and compatibility. How to get the most from your buck when buying used tanks

Making Fiberglass Tubes - by Tom Cloud, How to roll your own for fun and profit

How to Dye your parachute - Great for our 60" white parachutes!

Animated Knot Tying a terrific resource for learning knots

Various Rocket Gizmos - All kinds of interesting stuff 

Ortman Key Diagram - a strong, inexpensive tubing connector method

Build yer own D-5 - if you happen to be so inclined

Parkerizing Metal Parts - by Fred Fortune



Test Stand Pictorial - an assortment of rocket motor test stands from around the world

Nitrous Oxide Properties
Pressure, Density, and Mass Flow of N2O, 60k jpg image

Urbanski-Colburn Valve for Hybrid Motors
This is where the RATTWorks motor was born 

NARCON 2013 - William Colburn's presentation on his sugar rocket experiment, early rocketry career, and Apollo years

Glossary of Rocket Terms


KNO3 Sugar Motor Basics

Sugar Propellant Motor Design.pdf


Rocketry Basics

Parachute Flare - 15' Flare Parachute Story from the Vietnam War

Skylighter Pyrotechnics 
Firework and Pyrotechnic Chemicals.  Harry Gilliamis a terrific resource!

NASA's one stop search shop

Rocketry Online

Rocketry.OrgSuppliers Hotlist


Calculators and Software

Ejection Charge Calculator- for MS Excel

Black Powder Ejection Charges
A table to determine the correct amount of BP for your application

Round Parachute Descent Rate Calculator
A Javascript that does the calculations for you

X-form Parachute Calculator 
How to calculate how fast your rocket will descend under an X-form parachute (Excel spreadsheet)

Parachute Drag Equations
How to calculate how fast your rocket will descend under chute, Randy Culp's excellent webpage.

Tank Calculator
Calculate the volume of your cylindrical tank

Testing your Altimeter
An easy cheap way to pull a vacuum on your barometric sensor

Guipep - Graphical User Interface to PEP


Propep and more

Electromagnetic Flow Meter Tutorial - Compliments of David Gagliardi

Open Source Rocket Calculator
OpenRocket is a Free, fully featured model rocket simulator written in Java

RASAero - free aerodynamic analysis and flight simulation software


Historical Rocketry Resources

Hypergolic Propellants 
From The Ft. Bliss Debriefing Of German Scientists "Operation Paperclip"
A compilation of secret World War Two rocket propellants 

Thiokol Rocket Basics
a great .pdf about the history of rocket motors and their basic design

1949 Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program
Manual on rockets from the Civil Air Patrol and it has a great schematic diagram of the V2 Rocket, 4 meg .pdf file

Aerobee Sounding Rockets - Covers the design, operation, and performance of the Aerobee 150, 150A, 300, and 300A sounding rockets 

Army Guide to Amateur Rocketry

Bob Fortune's Navaho Webpage
A look at the 1956 Navaho Cruise Missile that underwent reconstruction at Cape Canaveral.  Recently updated with a terrific narrative by North American flight engineer Earl Ratliff.


Cautionary Tales

Exploding Ratt Movie
Why you don't test your hybrid in your garage 
- 1.1 MB wmv file

Cletus and Delmar Score a Dewar
How LOX can kill you, your pals, and friends a mile away
- 660k PowerPoint file

Explosive Injuries
What happens when you blow yourself up
- an assortment of graphic images not for the faint of heart




All the photos on this page are shown in our Test Stand Pictorial

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