Rocket Science Institute
            is a non-profit scientific & educational organization
            supporting "amateur" experimental rocket science,
            engineering & technology

Testing of Rockets and Missiles
Rocket science made (more)

Updated: 15 February 2013

Captive-Fired Testing of Solid Rocket Motors.  McDonnell Douglas, Aerojet-General, Rockwell International, General Dynamics, Grumman Aerospace, The Boeing Company, Lockheed-Georgia, and NASA Langley.  State-of-the-art information and the recommended practices for accurate, reproducible test procedures for motors of all sizes.  Included are static test stand design criteria, and explanations of how to correctly evaluate solid propellant and motor performance.  104 pages, ISBN 1-878628-23-2.  $19.95.

Solid Rocket Motor Performance Analysis and Prediction.  McDonnell Douglas, Aerojet-General, Rockwell International, General Dynamics, Grumman Aerospace, The Boeing Company, Lockheed-Georgia, and NASA Langley.  This ultimate textbook tells exactly how to evaluate rocket motor static tests to determine the best grain geometries, motor configurations, and propellants for a design of any size.  The best, most complete and comprehensive volume of its kind anywhere.  With these instructions you can make detailed analyses that will predict full-scale motor performance, by using theoretical performance criteria (from chemical-thermodynamic information), and the demonstrated performance data obtained from subscale motor tests, or from previous firings on full-scale motors of similar design.  106 pages, ISBN 1-878628-22-4.  $19.95.

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).  52 pages, $19.95.   

How To Design, Build, and Test Small Liquid-Fuel Rocket Engines.  Leroy J. Krzycki.  A classic text for people who want to build their own rocket motors from scratch.  A superior "how to do it in your garage or workshop" kind of book.  Includes an introduction to rocket engine design principles, explaining DeLaval nozzles, gas velocities, propellant types and characteristics (including pressurized gaseous oxygen), performance factors, and related calculations, with the necessary simple formulas for calculating mixture ratios, flame temperatures, chamber pressures, thrust, specific impulse (thrust per pound of propellants used), nozzle design, combustion chamber design, wall thickness, heat transfer, and engine cooling.   Plenty of detailed engineering drawings, so you can see how each part is built, and how the parts go together.  All the machining process is described in great detail, and is easy to follow.  There are instructions for the fuel tank, the connection plumbing, the control valves, fuel filter, and pressure gauges.  Hard to find and now out-of-print, this 73-page report is quality bound, for a key place in your library or research files.  11" x 8-1/2" size.  $24.95. 

NASA Design-Development Testing: McDonnell Douglas, Grumman Aircraft Engineering, Ling-Temco-Vought, Lockheed Missiles & Space, General Dynamics, Chrysler, Hughes Aircraft, The Boeing Company, Wyle Laboratories, NASA Manned Spacecraft Center, and the NASA Langley Research Center.  Presents the state-of-the-art criteria and recommended practices for rocket and spacecraft testing.  It covers test conditions and specimen, data and instrumentation, test plans and reports, and similar topics.  Originally written for designers and analysts to confirm the feasibility of a structural design approach, demonstrating the advantage of one design over another, identifying failure modes, confirming analytical methods, and generating essential design data. 35 pages, $19.95.

A Safety Manual for Experimental and Amateur Rocket Scientists:  Solid Propellant Engineering Series, Vol 1.  Edward Jones, Ph.D.  Third edition.  Las Vegas: Rocket Science Books, 2005.  Our best seller for several years, and a must for experimenters.  Covers making and handling propellants, pyrotechnics, explosives. This book could save your life!  91 pages.  ISBN 1-878628-00-3.  Book reviewed here.  $19.95.  

Guided Missile Operations, Trajectory Considerations, Principles of Lasers, and Instrumentation.   Extracted from USAF Technical Training Manual AFM 52-31M.  Provides both theory (with detailed examples) and practical information, intended for hands-on USAF missile technicians, mechanics, engineers, and scientists.  A complete education in the aerodynamic design principles of 1960s and 70s ICBMs!  Illustrated with detailed tables and charts, drawings and photos, graphs and diagrams.  Full of esoteric and hard-to-find data.  An exceptional reference resource for the "amateur" rocket experimenter and builder of model rockets.  110 pages, $24.95 

Ablative Material Testing for Low-Pressure, Low-Cost Rocket Engines.  G. Paul Richter and Timothy D. Smith, NASA Lewis Research Center.  Evaluates new, high-technology materials that enable the construction of low pressure, low cost rocket engines.  These ablative materials permit fabrication of light-weight rocket engine combustion chambers and nozzles.  Silica cloth-reinforced phenolic resin materials, Fiberite MX-2600, and a number of other new lightweight materials were tested for comparative erosion in a subscale rocket engine combustion chamber.  15 pages, $9.95.

NASA Sounding Rocket Program Handbook.  This new NASA Handbook--a jewel of a publication--describes the rockets, guidance systems, payloads, test procedures, launch operations, telemetry systems, launch ranges, and data processing for all of NASA's suborbital rocket projects.  220 pages, $26.95.

NASA Safety Standard for Explosives, Propellants, and Pyrotechnics.  NASA Office of Safety and Mission Assurance.  Policy and safety requirements which define the NASA safety program.  Addresses explosives safety and health aspects of working with these materials.  The manual contains all of NASA's minimum safety requirements for handling and processing explosives, propellants, and pyrotechnics.  Provides procedures  for operations involving explosives, propellants, and pyrotechnics, and the safe management of such operations.  Includes fire symbols, storage compatibility mixing chart, classification system, and 11 quantity-distance tables, plus appendices of definitions, acronyms, and references.  148 pages, $24.95.


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

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:

                        hard-to-find, out-of-print & historic books
                        about rockets, missiles, propulsion & space