Hobby Rocket Motor Manufacturer Histories

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Initiator001

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The thread on motor casing collections had folks wondering about some of the companies that were being listed.

Here's some quick history about some of those companies.

Syner-Jet (Originally Ravenna Rocket Research (R3)):

Located in Ravenna, OH, R3 was a company founded/ran by Wayne & Kathy Schaefer in 1988.

R3 made a variety of D-H single-use motors. Their marketing angle was to sell a less expensive product. They did this by having no dealer network, all orders were mailed to R3 and shipped directly from the manufacturer. No middle-man. However, one had to order each motor type in quantities of six or twelve.

In addition, R3 advertised that they used linen-phenolic for their motor casings rather than paper-phenolic or fiberglass tubing which other companies were using.

The linen-phenolic casing caused problems for R3 as it was not as strong as paper-phenolic or fiberglass. At LDRS-8, I witnessed a higher percentage of R3 motor failures than any other companies' products. Less expensive, yes, but less reliable.

R3 disappeared soon after LDRS-8.

Later, a new company called Syner-Jet (SJ) was advertised in the Tripolitan magazine. SJ stated they were a lower cost motor manufacturer. They were located out of Ravenna, OH, but denied they had anything to do with R3. Eventually, SJ admitted in a Tripolitan advertisement that they were, indeed, R3.

The SJ single-use motors used a brown paper-phenolic casing and were more reliable. The hobby was changing, however.

Reloadable motors became a big seller and SJ wanted to get in on the business. They created a line of relaodable motors using snap rings and red anodized cases in 22mm, 29mm, 54mm. SJ used aluminum spacers which allowed a flyer to use smaller propellant loads in their maximum length cases.

I ordered all of their 'Class C' motor cases and reloads. SJ, also, offerred a device for adjusting the delay time of the reloads similar in concept to what is used today by other manufacturers.

SJ was soon out of business. While I have never heard an 'official' reason as to the company's demise, the rumor I heard was that Wayne and Kathy went through a divorce. Lacking any concrete/public information, I sometimes tell people I was responsible for the demise of SJ because of a 'prank' I pulled on them while I worked at AeroTech but, that story is outside the realm of this topic. ;)

Synerjet delay modification kit.jpg
 

MarkII

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Great thread, Bob! Thank you so much! :wave:

MK
 

Initiator001

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Industrial Solid Propulsion (ISP)

ISP was founded in 1985 by Gary Rosenfield and Dan Meyer to manufacturer rocket motors for commercial, military and government use. Both were partners in the establishment of AeroTech in 1982.

Depending on the situation and year, ISP was either the parent or sister company of AeroTech.

When the idea of reloadable hobby motors was being discussed by the ISP/AeroTech staff, it was decided that it would be best if a 'professional' company was to release this product.

The original reloadable 29mm and 38mm reloabable casing motors were released under the ISP nameplate (There actually was an ISP metal nameplate on the casings). Eventually, there ISP reload motor line grew to include 54mm & 98mm casings.

It was decided to keep the high-power reloadable products under the ISP label. When the decision to make a line of B-G reloadbale motors was made, the reloadable concept now had enough acceptance that these new motors could be released under the AeroTech 'hobby' label.

I am not sure when the entire hobby reloadable motor lines were combined under the AeroTech name.
 

Initiator001

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LOC/Precision

The release by ISP of the first reloadable hobby rocket motor systems in 1990 revolutionised the high-power rocketry hobby.

Other hobby rocket companies looked for a way they could cash in, also.

One was LOC/Precision. Founded by Ron and Deb Schultz and based in Ohio, LOC began in 1984/85 producing a line of quality, well made mid- and high-power rocket kits.

While they couldn't produce rocket propellant, making reload casings to use ISP reload kits was something LOC could do. LOC took engineering drawings of the ISP reload cases and started to produce their own casings and sell them at a lower price.

LOC's reproduction of the ISP cases went so far as to include using the same anodizing colors on the cases (gold & black). This caused ISP to send a letter to LOC demanding they (LOC) stop using the same trade dress on their products. LOC stopped using the gold but I think they used blue & red along with black cases. LOC soon stopped making copies of the ISP hardware and took a different approach (See Propulsion Industries).
 

Initiator001

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Propulsion Industries

(Note: My information on this company is a little sketchy. If anyone has additional information, please feel free to contribute it).

LOC/Precision gave up on making copies of the ISP RMS hardware and working with a friend named Paul (Last name?) briefly produced a complete reloadable product line (Casings and propellant reload kits) under the company name Propulsion Industries (PI).

Seen at a Danville launch in the early 1990s, PI produced a 29mm reloadable casing and reload for a G80-X motor. If there were other casings and reloads, they are unknown to me.

PI closed up shop within a year.
 

MarkII

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It sounds like there were a number of one-hit wonders in the early days.

Forgive me if you are already planning on writing about them, but a couple more names that I am curious about: Frank Kosdon and Robert Ellis. TIA.

MK
 

billspad

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Lacking any concrete/public information, I sometimes tell people I was responsible for the demise of SJ because of a 'prank' I pulled on them while I worked at AeroTech but, that story is outside the realm of this topic. ;)

Tease! Now I want to know what the story is.
 

green dragon

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Propulsion Industries

(Note: My information on this company is a little sketchy. If anyone has additional information, please feel free to contribute it).

LOC/Precision gave up on making copies of the ISP RMS hardware and working with a friend named Paul (Last name?) briefly produced a complete reloadable product line (Casings and propellant reload kits) under the company name Propulsion Industries (PI).

Seen at a Danville launch in the early 1990s, PI produced a 29mm reloadable casing and reload for a G80-X motor. If there were other casings and reloads, they are unknown to me.

PI closed up shop within a year.

PI was,indeed Paul Horvath ( not Dave Stevens as I posted in the other thread, although dave may or may not have been involved ) .
PI actually started out making E,F,G and a few H SINGLE USE motors ( see Tripolitan, circa 1990 Danville article, I 'll try to pull it once home from the office ) .
Later they made the reloadable E,F,G - I have one of the single grain 29mm casings and a few loads - black anodize case, blue closures, and yes, they fit RMS components and casings ( although the contour of the outer machined profile is not identical, plus PI nozzles had a larger dia, so not identical but could be used with AT hardware casings ) .
do not belive they ever produced anything but the single line of 29mm motors ( ie: 1 grain, 2 grain, etc - all using the same propellant - silvery colored, aluminized prop. )
I was told once , by Ron Schultz, that the prop was not degassed, but rolled out into sheets, ala cookie dough, and after roilling many times it had minimal voids and was packed into casting tubes. definately not pourable.

~ AL
 

DabCat

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Later they made the reloadable E,F,G - I have one of the single grain 29mm casings and a few loads - black anodize case, blue closures, and yes, they fit RMS components and casings
Sorry to post on such an old thread, but I found this thread and I see that you are still active on here. Your description of the PI cases matches a mystery closure I have acquired. I have a blue anodized 29mm forward closure and I've always wondered what the history behind it was. I've attached a picture of it. Do you think it could be a PI forward closure? The closure was acquired separately from the casing pictured. The casing is a newer Aerotech case. Screenshot_20220518-092426_Gallery.jpg
 

RoyAtl

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I'm glad you did revive this. It was worth it just to read the line, "Depending on the situation and year, ISP was either the parent or sister company of AeroTech."

I also still have a couple of single-use SynerJet motors. The ones I flew worked very well. Did not know they were Ravenna 2.0.
 

jimzcatz

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The thread on motor casing collections had folks wondering about some of the companies that were being listed.

Here's some quick history about some of those companies.

Syner-Jet (Originally Ravenna Rocket Research (R3)):

Located in Ravenna, OH, R3 was a company founded/ran by Wayne & Kathy Schaefer in 1988.

R3 made a variety of D-H single-use motors. Their marketing angle was to sell a less expensive product. They did this by having no dealer network, all orders were mailed to R3 and shipped directly from the manufacturer. No middle-man. However, one had to order each motor type in quantities of six or twelve.

In addition, R3 advertised that they used linen-phenolic for their motor casings rather than paper-phenolic or fiberglass tubing which other companies were using.

The linen-phenolic casing caused problems for R3 as it was not as strong as paper-phenolic or fiberglass. At LDRS-8, I witnessed a higher percentage of R3 motor failures than any other companies' products. Less expensive, yes, but less reliable.

R3 disappeared soon after LDRS-8.

Later, a new company called Syner-Jet (SJ) was advertised in the Tripolitan magazine. SJ stated they were a lower cost motor manufacturer. They were located out of Ravenna, OH, but denied they had anything to do with R3. Eventually, SJ admitted in a Tripolitan advertisement that they were, indeed, R3.

The SJ single-use motors used a brown paper-phenolic casing and were more reliable. The hobby was changing, however.

Reloadable motors became a big seller and SJ wanted to get in on the business. They created a line of relaodable motors using snap rings and red anodized cases in 22mm, 29mm, 54mm. SJ used aluminum spacers which allowed a flyer to use smaller propellant loads in their maximum length cases.

I ordered all of their 'Class C' motor cases and reloads. SJ, also, offerred a device for adjusting the delay time of the reloads similar in concept to what is used today by other manufacturers.

SJ was soon out of business. While I have never heard an 'official' reason as to the company's demise, the rumor I heard was that Wayne and Kathy went through a divorce. Lacking any concrete/public information, I sometimes tell people I was responsible for the demise of SJ because of a 'prank' I pulled on them while I worked at AeroTech but, that story is outside the realm of this topic. ;)

View attachment 21490
I use that delay tool to this day and I have a crap load of Synerjet reloads and hardware never used!!
 

John Kemker

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Curious minds want to know about the following:
Plasmajet
Vulcan
Rocketflite
Energon

As you might guess from reading my .sig, I certified Level 1 on a Plasmajet H, oh so long ago.
 

green dragon

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That does indeed look like a PI closure, Don't have a pic handy, but it's in this older pic, right to the right of the RMS-98/2550 case
 

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DabCat

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That does indeed look like a PI closure, Don't have a pic handy, but it's in this older pic, right to the right of the RMS-98/2550 case
Wow, that is a good sized collection of snap ring cases. I see the closure you mentioned, and it does look very simular to the one I have. My closure might just be a PI closure.

What are those pink/purple cases? I've never seen that color before.
 
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Here is the only photo I could find of the two, what I remember (~1990) to be Ravenna Rocket Research cases. Maybe not. :questions:

Roy
 

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loopy

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Trying to remember when Dr. Rocket came into play, and then Monster Motors...
 

prfesser

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Wow, that is a good sized collection of snap ring cases. I see the closure you mentioned, and it does look very simular to the one I have. My closure might just be a PI closure.

What are those pink/purple cases? I've never seen that color before.
APS (Advanced Propulsion Systems? Don't recall) briefly came out with purple hardware in the late 90s or thereabouts. They were very well engineered; if memory serves they used Acme threads for the closures instead of ordinary V-threads---much stronger. And the delay grains of the reloads were cast into thin-walled aluminum tubing. The forward closure had an internal o-ring groove. Slip the greased ring into the groove, slide the delay element in place. Done.

The motors were never certified. My understanding is that there was a disagreement between the TMT chair at that time (Sue somebody) and the manufacturers. I don't recall the details. (My spotty memory is moving past "genuinely annoying" and into the :eek: 🤬 :haironfire:category.)
 

green dragon

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Yes, APS - ie: Ron Urinsco, way cool propellant and hardware too. ( prof - memory not too bad, yes to the acme threads ) .

Love the vintage Kory pic, Lucerne throwback . Never had the chance to own any visijets, but seen some fly.

More motor manufacturers with minimal hostory:

H.A.R.D.

Space Dynamics ( Rock Loer (?sp) nozzlesss diesel motors

What about Wirlwind - ACS / Reaction Labs ?

Composite Disribution ?
 

AeroTech

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Industrial Solid Propulsion (ISP)

ISP was founded in 1985 by Gary Rosenfield and Dan Meyer to manufacturer rocket motors for commercial, military and government use. Both were partners in the establishment of AeroTech in 1982.

Depending on the situation and year, ISP was either the parent or sister company of AeroTech.

When the idea of reloadable hobby motors was being discussed by the ISP/AeroTech staff, it was decided that it would be best if a 'professional' company was to release this product.

The original reloadable 29mm and 38mm reloabable casing motors were released under the ISP nameplate (There actually was an ISP metal nameplate on the casings). Eventually, there ISP reload motor line grew to include 54mm & 98mm casings.

It was decided to keep the high-power reloadable products under the ISP label. When the decision to make a line of B-G reloadbale motors was made, the reloadable concept now had enough acceptance that these new motors could be released under the AeroTech 'hobby' label.

I am not sure when the entire hobby reloadable motor lines were combined under the AeroTech name.
Hi Bob, just a few minor corrections. Dan was not involved in the formation of AeroTech in 1982, which in its earliest incarnation began in Palmdale, CA while I was working at Bermite in Saugus. That is where I made the first G30 moon burning motors for sale to Jerry Irvine. Dan and I partnered in 1984-1985 in Sacramento to create ISP, in order to respond to a commercial customer's request for electrically-fired parachute rockets. ISP became the parent of AeroTech around 1989.

I think we originally introduced 29, 38 & 54mm RMS motors at LDRS-9 in Hartsel, CO in 1990. The 98 & 75mm came later.

I think we combined the RMS line under AeroTech in 1994?

Also, we never gave LOC engineering drawings, their cases were "reverse engineered". :p

Don't forget about the ISP kits. ;)
 
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Initiator001

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Hi Bob, just a few minor corrections. Dan was not involved in the formation of AeroTech in 1982, which in its earliest incarnation began in Palmdale, CA while I was working at Bermite in Saugus. That is where I made the first G30 moon burning motors for sale to Jerry Irvine. Dan and I partnered in 1984-1985 in Sacramento to create ISP, in order to respond to a commercial customer's request for electrically-fired parachute rockets. ISP became the parent of AeroTech around 1989.

I think we originally introduced 29, 38 & 54mm RMS motors at LDRS-9 in Hartsel, CO in 1990. The 98 & 75mm came later.

I think we combined the RMS line under AeroTech in 1994?

Also, we never gave LOC engineering drawings, their cases were "reverse engineered". :p

Don't forget about the ISP kits. ;)
Thanks for the corrections Gary.

I remember AeroTech did two demo RMS flights for the NAR Board at NARAM-32 also in 1990.

The early 1990s were full of companies/individuals trying to bring out reloadable motors by any means. ;)
 

AeroTech

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Thanks for the corrections Gary.

I remember AeroTech did two demo RMS flights for the NAR Board at NARAM-32 also in 1990.

The early 1990s were full of companies/individuals trying to bring out reloadable motors by any means. ;)
Absolutely true. :)

The RMS-38/240 motor flown at NARAM-32 was ejected from the rocket and never found. It had a very low serial number and is probably worth something if someone ever finds it. :D
 
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Initiator001

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The founder of H.A.R.D. was Scott Pearce (Beeblebrox here on TRF).

Hey Scott, how about a history post about H.A.R.D. ? ;)
 

AeroTech

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Korey is one of the unsung early proponents of HPR.

He has received neither the recognition or credit he deserves for many of the things in HPR we take for granted today.
Like some of the first high-power rocket designs, through-the-wall fins, clustering composites, effects propellants (shared with Vulcan), first certified ‘N’ motor, the “Squid” rocket…
 

AeroTech

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It's worth noting that Enerjet/Larry Brown probably flew the first "high-power" rocket (an Enerjet 2250 with 3 x F67-14 motors) as a public demo at NARAM-14 in Seattle, WA in 1972. Total impulse was about 240 N-sec.

Bob, do you have any pictures of this rocket or its flight at NARAM-14? I've looked through my archives, magazines and the internet and can't find one. I used to have a binder with photos and documentation of it for my scale entry at NARAM-15, but I believe it was destroyed in the AeroTech fire in 2001.

From Enerjet News #3, September 1972:
Screen Shot 2022-05-24 at 8.42.31 AM.png
 

prfesser

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I'd like to hear some of the background and details about Rocketflite's large BP motors. I know they had F, G, and H motors in 29mm and 38mm diameters...and I heard that they used aluminum casings. Oh, and they had some of the early sparky motors.

And with that I've exhausted my knowledge.
 

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