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A Guide to Amateur Rocketry

U.S. Army Field Artillery School
Fort Sill, Oklahoma
 

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A Guide to Amateur Rocketry

U.S. Army Field Artillery School
Fort Sill, Oklahoma
 


 


A rare and classic handbook for designing, building, testing, and flying successful home-built rockets. 

One of the first--perhaps THE first, and one of the most useful--handbooks for amateur rocketry.  Apparently first published in the late 1960s, it's one of the few documents anywhere showing early military support for this hobby.

An excellent guide for everyone interested in getting started making their own experimental rockets, showing how it's done with common materials and chemicals.  Provides detailed information and data for solid propellants made from ordinary zinc dust mixed with sulfur (the so-called "micrograin" formulas).


Contents

1. Introduction
  • General
  • Components
  • Propulsion
  • Aerodynamic problems
2. Propellants and the combustion process
  • Chemistry of propulsion
  • Propellant characteristics
  • Relative quanitities of each propellant
  • Propellant performance data
  • Combustion process
  • Specific impulse
  • Propellant loading and compaction
3. Rocket engine design
  • General
  • Thrust
  • Exhaust velocity
  • Design problem
4. Ignition systems
 
  • System components
  • Igniter
  • Relay box
5. Aerodynamic surfaces
  • General
  • Nose cone
  • Body
  • Tail fins
6. Rocket launches
  • General
  • Rail launchers
  • Launcher bases
  • Elevation quadrants
7. Rocket testing and performance 
  • General
  • Preliminary tests
  • Flight performance evaluation
  • Determining rocket flight velocity and ballistic path
  • Determining rocket flight altitude
  • Thrust
  • Specific impulse
8. Organization
  • General
  • The scientific method
  • Organize to learn
  • Financial considerations
9. Safety
  • Legal
  • Unqualified advisers
  • Unknown propellants
  • Rocket firing operations
  •     

    With tables showing coefficient of thrust, nozzle area expansion ratios, etc.  Plus a glossary of terms, abbreviations, and definitions.


The Guide was issued with the blessings of Major General Charles P. Brown, then Commanding General of the U.S. Army Field Artillery Center and Fort Sill Commandant, U.S. Army Field Artillery School.  In the preface, Gen. Brown says "The United States Army desires to extend the maximum degree of assistance to, and to cooperate fully, these budding scientists in their experimentations.  To further assist our young scientists, the United States Army Field Artillery School has prepared this booklet."

According to the text:

"Empirical information contained in this booklet is based on data obtained from 36 actual firings and 6 static firings of zinc-sulfur propelled rockets.  Flight performance was measured by radar and slow motion photography.  Thrust, chamber pressure, and burning time were monitored during the static firings.  Values included in the examples and the preparation of the tables are based on slide rule computations."
Explains the thermochemistry and reactions of zinc dust and sulfur propellants.  Shows exactly how to calculate the correct amounts of each ingredient, and how to load and compact zinc-sulfur propellants.  Guidelines for safely developing, mixing, and testing new and unknown propellants.


Shows how to calculate propellant density, specific impulse (Isp), how to predict and calculate engine thrust.  How to calculate propellant grain size, combustion chamber wall thickness, nozzle dimensions, exit area and diameter.

Has many illustrations, showing various nozzle designs, with instructions on how to make them; rocket motor and nozzle dimensions; etc etc.


Explains how to design and build reliable rocket motor igniters, relay boxes, and firing panels (circuits included).

Covers trajectories, component alignment, drag, construction details, center of gravity, with detailed examples of all calculations.


Various ways to design a high-performance nose cone


Fin design and placement, fin mounts, launching guides


Several designs for rocket launchers


Drawings and illustrations for how to design
and build two functional static test stands

Includes:

  • The formulae for calculating flight paths and estimating flight altitude
  • How to organize and run a local rocket club
The original document is comprised of 52 pages.  Unfortunately, the quality of that document is very poor, having been originally printed with a simple mimeograph machine onto low-quality paper at Fort Sill. 

We've reproduced the original in its original size, with two pages side-by-side on each sheet of paper.  While the text material certainly isn't "beautiful," it is legible, and the information quite useful.  Please don't expect a "like-new" book with sharp, clear text--this is a hard-to-find and very rare document.  You'll have to read it carefully to understand everything.

Every "amateur" rocket experimenter and model rocket flier deserves this rare and unusual book.

In terms of publishing quality, this reprint is made on much better paper, with a much better printer, and is very nicely bound  (the original was simply folded and stapled).   Reprinted with high-quality laser machinery using bright-white, acid-free paper.  11 x 8-1/2" size, loaded with diagrams, 52 pages, and quality bound.  ISBN 1-878628-NEW     $19.95

 
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For more information about advanced nitrate-type solid propellants, join our active, free discussion group for "amateur" experimental rocket scientists, at: 

  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NO3-Propellants

For more information about Jetex, Jet-X, Dyna-Jet, and other microjet propulsion devices, join our active, free discussion group for micropropulsion and pulse-jet enthusiasts, at: 

  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Jet-Ex-Press

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The Rocket Science Institute is a non-profit scientific and educational foundation in support of "amateur" experimental rocket science, engineering, and technology.

Rocket Science Institute, Inc., P.O. Box 1253, Carmel Valley CA 93924 USA     •     e-mail: books@rocketsciencebooks.com