Friends of Amateur Rocketry, Inc.
Serving the Amateur Rocketry  Community

Encouraging Amateur Rocketry to Educate the Public

Frequency Asked Questions
1. Are any of these disqualified under the "no active control": throttling, drag parachute, aerobrakes, energy darting, gyro stabilization? The fins need to be fixed. If the fins do not move for any of these, then they are not disqualified. No movable canards either. No boosted darts. The whole rocket must make it to the maximum altitude.

2. Do we have dimensions for the payload or something to design around? Yes. See the Payload Spec page.

3. Is it fair to assume payload must survive landing at ~20ft/s? Yes, but no more.

4. Does the ignition system need to be methalox? No.

5. Can we use solid motor to start engine? Yes. To follow the California State Fire Marshal rules, ignition needs to be electrically initiated with a key lockout on the pad and same-key used for lockout on the launch controller.

6. Do we have to proof valves at the competition? No.

7. What is the launch rail length? There are two 20-foot rails, one 20-foot rack, one 40-foot rail, two 60-foot rails, or they can bring their own. Look at the FAR website for pictures and dimensions of the launch rails.

8. What are the limitations on control systems E.g. passive vs. active, drag systems, axes of control? No active guidance. The rocket must be rail launched with fixed fins. It can use speed brakes or drogue parachutes to control the maximum altitude.

9. Any dimensions/weight restrictions, material restrictions, payload dimensions and contents (what kind of altimeter)? No, restrictions other than the maximum total-impulse is 9,208-lb-sec. The payload needs to be inserted into a compartment, made from materials that allow reception of of GPS signals.

10. Do we need to submit an application or intent to compete? Intent to compete. Closer to the launch date teams that are ready can sign up for the launch date on a first come first served basis. They will need to have completed a full-duration static firing of their rocket and submit a thrust-versus-time plot and a video of the static firing 30-days prior to the contest first launch date.

11. Is documentation required as part of the competition? (e.g. progress reports like PDR/CDR/FRR) Yes. The qualification and safety sheets need to be filled out. Also, a plot of thrust-versus-time and a video of a full-duration static firing are required.

12. What is the scoring system? First, the rocket must qualify. Second, one-point for every foot over 30,000-feet minus five-points for every foot above 45,000-feet.

13. Is there a design review? No. There will be safety and qualification reviews.

14. Will design decisions affect our score? Yes. If the rocket doesn't have the required safety devices, meet the safety requirements, and meet the qualification requirements; it will not qualify to compete.

15. Is there a documentation score? No. The safety and qualification worksheets are required.

We plan to use LNG and LOX as our propellants and wanted to inquire about venting. As Liquid Natural Gas displaces the normal oxygen when vented it poses an asphyxiation hazard; our question is whether FAR will be handling venting away from the launch site or is onus on us to set up for safe venting? Yes, methane, helium, and nitrogen are asphyxiants, but are also lighter than air.  We (FAR) do not plan to supply a remote vent for site users.  A good design practice for any vent, which vents propellants or pressurants, is to point them away from people working on the rocket, position them high in the air, and do your operations in open air.  Methane is also highly-explosive.  You should not have anything that creates an open flame or spark while people are working around it. FAR finds that liquid rockets are very safe to build and transport because you can do this without any pressurants or propellants on board.  Once the rocket is at FAR site and on the launch rail, the user can start loading propellants and pressurants.  We recommend that each user does this with a minimum number of people in-proximity of the rocket, to minimize exposure, and handle the pressurants and propellants with the care required by their MSDS sheet.

17. In the competition rules it states that the team must "Consist of college or university students and students that graduated that year." I am confused about the latter part. Are only students that are seniors or 2nd year Masters students eligible? The competitors can be current college students (undergraduate and graduate students) and any college student that has graduated the year of 2018. This means graduating seniors and graduating graduate students.  Graduate students mean masters and doctoral students. I believe this covers almost eight-levels or more of potential college students that can be part of the team.

18. The competition would be May 2018 correct? Correct.

19. Will there be a burn off tower provided for excess methane? No, using a burn stack would be very dangerous. Venting methane above the launch pad, pointing the vent gases away from the launch pad, and prohibiting flames or sparks from the launch pad is the safest way to operate.

20. Is there a LOX / LNG supplier that is partnering with FAR for the competition? We are working on these. We will know closer to the competition.