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  1. #1
    Join Date
    18th July 2016

    As a Makerspace member, I am interested in starting a launch club for model rockets

    Hi All,

    I am a member of a non-profit Makerspace in Pomona, CA. Due to my interest in rocketry, I've been building and tinkering with various designs and have even mounted my past builds on the walls of the Makerspace for decoration. I introduced the idea of having our own launch site for model rockets, but I know I will need at least a decent amount of land to do so legally. What advice can you guys provide in legally staring a launch site for model rockets? I know the National Association of Rocketry has resources as well and I plan to contact them for help, but if you guys are able to provide advice, I would appreciate it.

    - Brian

  2. #2
    Join Date
    9th October 2013
    San Jose, CA
    I realize you're talking about your own launch site and perhaps looking for something more local, I'm not familiar with the area so I can't help out there. But I will point out that you're not that far (~90 minutes) from ROC's regular site at Lucerne Dry Lake, just north of Lucerne Valley, CA on CA-247. I was there in June for LDRS 35 and it's a great site and a great group to launch with. So you might want to check them out also. I think you're missing a launch right now, they typically fly the second Saturday of the month. See You could probably also contact them about thoughts on viable launch sites for model rockets (or perhaps other nearby clubs), I think many of the members are from the greater LA area.

    Will Ferry (Launches & Videos) NAR #96512 (L2) / TRA #15328 (L2) / LUNAR #2759
    L1: 9/2013 @ XPRS, GLR T-Bolt "Thunderbolt" (R.I.P.), H148R
    L2: 4/2016 @ TCC Helm, Binder Design Excel w/DD "dd2.xls", J315R
    Impulse flown (flights): 2013: 767Ns (2), 2014: 4298Ns (8), 2015: 7486Ns (16), 2016: 11693Ns (18), 2017: 11138Ns (16), 2018: 3879Ns (5)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    5th December 2013
    You'll need some kind of insurance. This comes free with NAR or TRA membership, or you can purchase your own. NAR's website has minimum field dimensions for various sized motors. You'll need a field that meets those requirements.

    You'll need a launch control system. Could be as simple as a bunch of Estes launch pads and controllers, or something more amenable to a group, like a central launch station with a multi-pad control system.

    You'll need launch pads. Sawhorses with steel rods are a popular method, terra cotta planters as blast deflection.

    And, of course, it helps to have some sort of toilet available, especially if you are expecting kids.

    Visit a club launch and see what they do. Talk to the directors and they'll have lots of ideas for you.

    John S. ---- NAR #96911 ---- TRA #15253 ---- MDRA #067 ---- BARC #028
    L1, 3/15/14: Aerotech Sumo, CTI H133BS
    L2, 6/21/14: Giant Leap Vertical Assault, CTI J240RL
    L3, 3/12/16: MAC Performance Radial Flyer, CTI M1101WH
    Altitude: 13,028', L3 flight; Speed: Mach ???, L3 flight

  4. #4
    Join Date
    18th July 2016
    Thanks for the advice everyone!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    22nd September 2014
    California is a major pain for setting up launches and sites. Fortunately for you there are organized launches practically every weekend! ROC does the second weekend, MDARS the fourth. FAR is available first and third weekends though is of a much different flavor, at least until you start doing bigger rockets or your own motors. Hit me up privately if you would like any more information about these groups, or if you would like to be put in touch with them.

    Best wishes, and get more people into it!
    - punishing the punishers, nuking the nukes -

  6. #6
    Join Date
    23rd May 2017
    #Brainy19 did you get your club started? I'm in the process of doing the same for our middle school and we just received a grant for our makerspace to boot! I can find a bazillion success stories on line but thin on pitfalls or hiccups. There are a couple of businesses here that have offered tax exempt purchases and I've reached out to the local rocketry club with positive response from them. Hoping to be up and running mid Jan...

    "Watch this" has preceded many ER visits!

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