What Are High-Power Model Rockets?

The major differences between model rockets and high-power model rockets are total propulsion power in the engines and the total weight of the rocket. A high power model rocket is any rocket that,

  • Weighs more than 1,500 grams (53 ounces) at lift-off including the engines
  • Has a single rocket motor that produces more than 160 Newton-seconds (36 pound-seconds) of total impulse (A single H motor or larger)
  • Has several motors that exceed 160 Newton-seconds (36 pound-seconds) of total impulse (e.g. 3 G motors).

A high-power model rocket may use engines with up to 40,960 Newton-seconds (9,204 pound-seconds) of total impulse.

Like model rockets, high power rockets are typically made of paper and balsa wood, but more commonly are made of fiberglass, plastic, plywood, and carbon fiber composites. These stronger materials are needed to support the stresses induced by the larger, heavier rockets and engines.

High power rocket engines cannot be purchased over the counter, but must be purchased by adults certified by the National Association of Rocketry to receive high-power rocket engines. There are also more regulations concerning transport and storage of high-power rocket engines required by the state and federal government.

High power rockets must be flown in compliance with the High Power Rocket Safety Code.

Launching high power rockets requires more preparation than launching model rockets. Not only is a larger field needed, but FAA clearance must be arranged well in advance of the launch date. There are also state and federal regulatory issues to be addressed. LUNAR has members who are licensed to receive and store high-power rocket engines and to oversee launches involving them. One of these members must be in attendance before you can obtain engines and fly high-power rockets.

Certification-what it is and how to get certified.

Storage and transport of engines.

Other high power issues.