Model rockets are very safe if you follow the appropriate precautions. This is the Official Model Rocket Safety Code of the National Association of Rocketry.
- Materials. I will use only lightweight, non-metal parts for the nose, body, and
fins of my rocket.
- Motors. I will use only certified, commercially-made model rocket motors, and
will not tamper with these motors or use them for any purposes except
those recommended by the manufacturer.
- Ignition System. I will launch my rockets with an electrical launch system and
electrical motor igniters. My launch system will have a safety
interlock in series with the launch switch, and will use a launch
switch that returns to the "off" position when released.
- Misfires. If my rocket does not launch when I press the button of my electrical
launch system, I will remove the launcher's safety interlock or
disconnect its battery, and will wait 60 seconds after the last launch
attempt before allowing anyone to approach the rocket.
- Launch Safety. I will use a countdown before launch, and will ensure that everyone is
paying attention and is a safe distance of at least 15 feet away when
I launch rockets with D motors or smaller, and 30 feet when I launch
larger rockets. If I am uncertain about the safety or stability of an
untested rocket, I will check the stability before flight and will fly
it only after warning spectators and clearing them away to a safe
- Launcher. I will launch my rocket from a launch rod, tower, or rail that is
pointed to within 30 degrees of the vertical to ensure that the rocket
flies nearly straight up, and I will use a blast deflector to prevent
the motor's exhaust from hitting the ground. To prevent accidental
eye injury, I will place launchers so that the end of the launch rod
is above eye level or will cap the end of the rod when it is not in
- Size. My model rocket will not weigh more than 1,500 grams (53 ounces) at
liftoff and will not contain more than 125 grams (4.4 ounces) of
propellant or 320 N-sec (71.9 pound-seconds) of total impulse. If my
model rocket weighs more than one pound (453 grams) at liftoff or has
more than four ounces (113 grams) of propellant, I will check and
comply with Federal Aviation Administration regulations before flying.
- Flight Safety. I will not launch my rocket at targets, into clouds, or near
airplanes, and will not put any flammable or explosive payload in my
- Launch Site. I will launch my rocket outdoors, in an open area at least as large as
shown in Table 1 below, and in
safe weather conditions with wind speeds no greater than 20 miles per
hour. I will ensure that there is no dry grass close to the launch
pad, and that the launch site does not present risk of grass fires.
- Recovery System. I will use a recovery system such as a streamer or parachute in my
rocket so that it returns safely and undamaged and can be flown again,
and I will use only flame-resistant or fireproof recovery system
wadding in my rocket.
- Recovery Safety. I will not attempt to recover my rocket from power lines, tall trees,
or other dangerous places.
Launch Site Dimensions
|Installed Total Impulse (N-sec)||Equivalent Motor Type||Minimum Site Dimensions (ft.)|
Table 1. Launch Site Dimesions.
Revision of March, 2009