This summer vacation we have decided to build up our knowledge of flying model rockets and learn the science behind rocketry.

A few weeks ago, we attended a workshop organised by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (Toronto) about Rocket Making. There we learned the essential details about building rockets, motor sizes, packing parachutes, attaching fuses, and the electronic circuitry behind the launch pads.

The workshop was very useful – and we ended up building and launching several rockets. It had ignited our interests – and we wanted to launch rockets on regular basis.

We ended up joining the Cambridge Rocket Club (CRC) –  a club sanctioned by the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada (MAAC). It is the closest club to Toronto with a dedicated launch ground to fly model rockets.

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Learning from Saverio how to pack the parachute

On 15 July 2018 we attended their Mid Summer Rocket Launch. Their launch ground was a farmers sod field near downtown Guelph. The field was flat, large and freshly ploughed.

We introduced ourselves to Saverio – the Range Officer for the day. He gave us information about the club and the rocket launch activities they have all through the year. We ended up purchasing a family membership for 1 year and each one of us got our own cards.

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Adding Micro:bit to the rocket to transmit acceleration data over radio

There were about 15-20 other members present at the launch ground. It was a very hot day and we set up our equipment under Saverio’s tent. We had got three rockets with us (that we had built ourselves) and started to prepare them for the launch. We also wanted to get flight data from these rockets. We had brought a keychain camera, an altimeter and a micro:bit with us to get data including acceleration, maximum height reached, flight time and video.

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Micro:bit acting as a Receiver to get live data from the rocket

Saverio reviewed our rockets and equipment. He was very knowledgeable and taught us new things about flying rockets. For example, he taught us that we should first prepare the motor and the fuses and then pack the parachutes before the launch. This ensures that the parachutes do not get entangled and are easily deployed. He also informed us that according to the Canada Model Rocketry Code, we should not fly rockets when airplanes are in sight. The ignition key should be kept removed until the planes are out of sight.

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Rocket with Micro:bit transmitter being launched on B Motor

We did not have too many motors to launch rockets multiple times. But we were surprised to find that the owner of the Canadian Rocket Store himself was there to launch rockets. He had spare motors and other rocket parts to sell. We purchased a few bulk packs of motors and some fuses.

The fun began.

We launched our rockets 12  times using different motors (2As, 4Bs, and 6Cs). Almost every rocket we flew had a sensor or a camera attached to it. This means we were able to collect a lot of data and videos from these launches.

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Rocket with an onboard camera on the launch pad

Some of our rockets did not launch in the first attempt because of problems with the fuses. This is fairly common as the fuses sometimes do not ignite properly. We learned how to attach the fuses properly and how to make them on our own.

We had a very successful rocket flying day with the Cambridge Rocket Club. The best part was that we were able to retrieve all our rockets. We were impressed by the different rockets  (of varied sizes and shapes) which other members flew. Some of these rockets were homemade or 3D printed. Some of them even had 2 stages and used higher rating motors like F and G.  There was even a rocket made from Styrofoam coffee cups.

Different rocket types flown by the Club Members

The members of the Club were very friendly. We talked to many of them. All of them were very passionate about model rocketry and some of them had been flying rockets for several years.

We thank the Cambridge Rocket Club for their guidance and support. We had a fun filled day and will definitely be back there  – likely with bigger rockets and more sensors.

Videos from our Onboard Camera

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Thank you Cambridge Rocket Club – we will be back soon!

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