Richard Nakka's Experimental Rocketry Web Site


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What is this Web Site all about?

This web site is devoted to the exciting activity of Amateur Experimental Rocketry !

My goal in producing this web site is to share experiences, ideas and technical details of Amateur Experimental Rocketry with others around the world who have a similar interest. It is also my dream to help inspire a future generation of engineers and scientists who will some day take us to Mars and beyond...
Between the years 1972, when I launched my first amateur rocket, and 1986, I built and flew many rockets, powered by motors which I had developed. During this time, I kept detailed notes of all my work, carefully logged all the flights and other tests, and took countless photographs. In this web site, I am presenting at least a portion of this work. As well, I am presenting more contemporary ideas and activities, which followed the reemergence of my rocketry work in 1997, after a decade on the "back burner". In addition to my own work, I am including some remarkable work done by others in this exciting field!

Amateur Experimental Rocketry ?

Amateur Experimental Rocketry is, in my humble opinion, one of the most challenging, educational and exciting hobbies! Unlike Model Rocketry or High Power Rocketry, experimental rocketry is an activity whereby rockets are designed and constructed entirely from "scratch" -- including motor and propellant. No significant components are commercially manufactured. The goal of Amateur Experimental Rocketry (AER), often simply referred to as Amateur Rocketry or Experimental Rocketry, is to design, build, test and launch rockets. In this context, rocket may refer to the motor itself, or to a complete vehicle that consists of motor, fuselage (and stabilizing devices such as fins), nosecone, and payload. One of the greatest challenges is to develop and build such a motor, one that is safe to produce and operate, reliable, and one that provides predictable and consistent performance. A second big challenge is to develop a recovery system, such as parachute deployment, that operates with a high degree of reliability under the demanding conditions of launch followed by high speed or high altitude flight. Striving to achieve these goals (and many others) and to overcome the inevitable obstacles, is what makes this such a challenging (and at times frustrating) and educational pastime, and one that requires diversified skills combined with a good dose of ingenuity. The outcome of all this, more often than not, is that one learns to genuinely comprehend that which is colloquially known as Rocket Science.

It might be said, then, that Model Rocketry and High Power Rocketry are best suited to those who wish to make and fly rockets, and Experimental Rocketry is perhaps best suited to those who rather wish to make rockets fly.

Contents of this web site are presented for informational purposes only. Author of this web site cannot assume responsibility for the use readers make of the information presented herein or the devices resulting therefrom. Amateur Experimental Rocketry has many inherent hazards that must be fully understood before one can consider becoming actively involved. Safety must always be considered as top priority. Anything less is a disservice to all Amateur Experimental Rocketry enthusiasts. If you do not have first-rate common sense, or if you are willing to take shortcuts that compromise safety, then AER is not for you.

Latest news

Please take note of my NEW e-mail address:
I will be phasing out the old one.

Oct. 19, 2003 --I've added design charts (Kn vs. Pressure) for the RNX propellants in the Performance Data page. I plan to wrap up the RNX pages in the near future, as I have finally completed the characterization work (was more of a challenge than I'd anticipated!). In other news, I'm currently building a new rocket that I plan to launch in November (haven't come up with a name for it yet...!)

Aug. 23, 2003 --The webpage on Igniters has been updated with details on the "Ferocious" igniter that was developed for use with the RNX composite propellants.

June 12, 2003 --The webpage on RNX composite propellants was started some time ago, and is currently under construction. I plan to regularly work on completing this page over the next few months. Concurrently, I am in the process of "characterizing" the RNX propellants, which involves experimentally determining such key design parameters as burn rate with respect to chamber pressure, C-star, specific impulse, heat of combustion, etc. Although this has been going quite well, there have been a few "glitches" that have made the process somewhat more challenging than originally anticipated. (e.g. see "Sneak Preview" page). Such is AER ...!

Coming in the months ahead...
  • Flight performance calculation method.
  • Parachute deployment system.
  • Star grain design.

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Contact address:
371 Orton Park Road, Unit 52
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M1G 3V1

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Last updated

This site last updated  January 1, 2005

Originally posted July 1997

Visitors to my website since Creation

"A man's reach should exceed his grasp...else, what's the heavens for?"