things to do
Things To Do
For free monthly updates, event invitations and exclusive deals, sign-up for our newsletter!
Things To Do
Place your photo caption here
is a hobby that can encourage and nurture the scientist in everyone. If your inner genius needs an outlet, or you just need a constructive outdoor hobby for yourself or your kids, here are some details from the local model rocketry club in the Phoenix area, the Superstition Spacemodeling Society.
Cost to join: $10 for an individual, $15 for a family
Launches are held on the second Saturday of each month eight times per year and are overseen by certified local members of the National Association of Rocketry (the club itself is a local affiliate).
With the exception of launches in June and July, all launches are held in Rainbow Valley, Arizona, which is about 40 miles southwest of Downtown Phoenix. On the final weekend of October, the club hosts a huge memorial launch to honor G. Harry Stine, who is considered the founding father of model rocketry.
Membership has its benefits. The cost to join includes social events, volunteer opportunities, insurance coverage, open launch space and an opportunity to meet and work with rocketry experts.
The Hobby at a Glance
There are three levels of certification for adults who want to launch high-powered rockets. There are also certification standards for kids aged 14 to 17 years. The classifications depend on the size of the motor one uses. The bigger the motor (anything over a G motor), the higher the power of the rocket, the more certification standards that are required. Hobby stores do not carry engines for these rockets.
The lower-powered rockets are usually sold over the counter at your local hobby store, along with the appropriate engines for them. Both high-powered and low-powered rockets are made of safe materials, such as cardboard, plastic or wood.
Rocketry hobbyists are governed by rules under the National Fire protection Association, which 48 states follow for this use. To a lesser extent, the hobby is governed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which imposes product safety requirements for motors and other toys. For high-powered rocketry, there is some oversight from the Federal Aviation Administration because these rockets fly at higher altitudes. (Many clubs get FAA clearance for high-powered rocket launches.)
The cost of rocket kits can start as low as $12 for the entire rocket, engine, launch pad and controller. But it can also range into the hundreds (and thousands) of dollars for the more elaborate and custom rocket kits.
For more information, check out the Superstition Spacemodeling Society’s homepage (
Rick McKee’s NASA project
When this Avondale carpenter saw
NASA’s MLAS project
go up in 2007, he knew he wanted to re-create it at home and teach everyone a lesson: When it comes to model rocketry, the sky really is the limit.
The MLAS project is short for “Max Launch Abort System” (NASA officials love them some acronyms). McKee intends to build a half-scale version and launch it in Rainbow Valley next spring, and he has support from local rocketry students and hobbyists. But the group still needs to raise about $4,200 to make it happen.
Here is the latest twist in the
model rocketry project
on steroids. Visit McKee’s blog to learn more about the project and how you can support it.
© 2007 Copyright Phoenix Magazine 15169 N. Scottsdale Road Suite C310 Scottsdale Arizona 85254
Travel & Outdoors
Best of The Valley
Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine
Advertise With Us
Web Site Design