Rocketry Hobbies

I became interested in model rocketry while a Boy Scout, attending the 50th Anniversary Jamboree in Colorado Springs, in 1960.  There was a model rocket launch that introduced many of us to what was, back then, a new hobby.

My family moved to California that year, and several years later I started a rocket club with some highschool friends.  We soon acquired sponsorship from the Rocket Research Institute, a group of engineers and professionals from Aerojet who provided facilities and supervision to student rocketeers.  We would build our rockets in Sacramento, then drive into a remote area of Nevada to launch them.

People who build rockets using metal and/or mix their own rocket propellants are usually called amateur rocketeers.  Model rocketeers do not use any metal in their rockets and only use rocket motors manufactured commercially.

After highschool, I moved to Los Angeles and participated in amateur rocketry activities with the Reaction Research Society for several years.  I was attending Northrop Institute of Technology on a part-time basis, which wasn’t enough to protect me from Uncle Sam.  I soon found myself in the Army, stationed at the 8th Radio Research Field Station in Vietnam.  I wasn’t even old enough to vote.

TRIUMF

By the time that I returned to real life, amateur rocketry had ground to a halt due to various laws restricting the activity.  I lost interest, moved to Vancouver, and got a job helping to build and operate the TRIUMF cyclotron at UBC.

Model rocketry was also under legal pressure, but the manufacturers and the model rocketeers fought back and eventually sorted out the federal and local laws, which were adapted for Canada without much fuss.

Preparing my Estes Crossfire ISX for a test flight.
(12 0ct 2019)

Several years ago, members of the Edmonton Rocketry Club starting launching their model rockets here in St. Albert.  I knew one of the members, whom I had worked with at the old Alberta Corporate Service Centre (now Service Alberta).  Model rocket technology has marched forward, and today these rockets fly much higher than most amateur rockets from the 60’s.  I joined and flew one rocket before COVID came along, but am currently building a second rocket.  The ERC now launches rockets from a large field in Calmar. 

Check them out at: www.edmontonrocketry.net

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