Tango Charlie Foxtrot

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Oct 8, 2017
Reaction score
New to the posts, but I thought I'd show off the upscale version of a parallel staging booster rocket, the Tango Charlie Foxtrot (stands for Two Clusters of Four, and nothing else). The original model flew successfully on three E-9's in the main, and the boosters just had B6-0's and ejected from the body after burn. The upscale is set to launch with four F15-6 Estes motors in the main, and each booster gets an E16-0 (all together putting it in a low I category, I believe). The boosters each connect to the body at four solid hardwood dowels. You can see some detail on the 90 degree connection on the boosters that mate with the hardpoints. The boosters come down on externally wrapped streamers. That worked fine on the smaller version, but I'm open to suggestions on a better recovery scheme on the boosters. I can't use an ejection charge on the motors to eject a chute, as I'm using the -0's to eject the booster from the body.

The challenge now is lighting off 8 motors. What could possibly go wrong?

Fantastic work, love the style of the rocket. Can we see some close-ups of how the staging works?
This is excellent. I agree with the previous post—can you show how the booster staging works?

Sent from my iPhone using Rocketry Forum
Take a look at the Apogee strap on booster kits for an alternative, they use an ejection charge to pop the nose cone which is also a retainer, when the nose pulls out the streamers the boosters peel off.

Also, checkout this Soyuz thread for a staged core which allows the use of ejection on the strap on boosters, more realistic. Just have to plan the time of the impulse and delay right.
Close up of hard point on body and 90 degree side port on booster. The hard point is a short piece of hardwood dowel screwed into a piece of basswood. Turns out, four 29 mm tubes fit snuggly inside a 3" Blue Tube coupler. The basswood piece is cut and the edges chamfered to fit between the outside of the 29 mm tubes and the inside of the coupler.IMG_7941.jpg

It's strong enough that I could pick up the entire 112 oz. rocket by a single booster, which was really a design requirement. My RSO would prefer I avoid a stray booster.

All four E-16 boosters lit, but we only got 3 out of the 4 F-15 mains. All ignitors fired, so I'm suspicious that the bad one may have gotten blown out by a nearby motor. It did fine, however. All boosters detached and we got 'chute just after apogee. It was a slow, majestic liftoff, and the sound of 7 BP motors is really cool. We'll reset for a December launch and be a bit more careful on the ignitor placement.
Great flight!

I've not clustered 29 mm BP motors, but I've definitely experienced issues getting them to light. I have been using e-matches lately instead of traditional Estes igniters with 100% success.
Whisky Tango Foxtrot!?! That is one Total Cluster Fenomenon! Nice launch.

So the strap on boosters have enough friction in the piston joint to keep them wedged in between the fins, and the zero-delay engines produce enough force to pop them off, then the external wrap around streamers just unravel, clever technique.
Good to hear about the e-matches. I did use standard Estes ignitors with some extensions soldered on for this launch, along with some shrink tubing to ensure no shorting. We did a ground test on a full set of 8 on our launch system, and they all went of simultaneously. Will be trying for the full 8 next month (after a bit of cosmetic repair - we blistered the paint near the aft end).