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

Encouraging Amateur Rocketry to Educate the Public

Are Rockets Safe?

All rockets are safe when handled properly.

Bi-Propellant Rockets: You can design, build, and transport these rockets without any hazards. These rockets become unsafe when loading fuel, loading oxidizer, inserting the igniter, pressurizing the pressurant and propellant tanks, ignite the igniter, and opening the main valves.  All of the unsafe parts are done out at FAR site under the supervision of a state licensed pyrotechnic operator. Loading fuel, loading oxidizer, and inserting the igniter are done by key personnel with observers clear of the launch pad.  All the remaining hazardous operations like pressurizing pressurants and propellants, ignition, and opening the main valves are done by remote control with all personnel in bunkers.  DANGER, this type of rocket maybe susceptible to a BLEVE, depending on the type of propellants and tanks you use. (See the BLEVE Danger page.)

Hybrid rockets: You can design, build, and transport without any hazards. They are safe when you load the fuel grain. They become unsafe when you load the oxidizer tank, pressurize the pressurant tank, pressurize the oxidizer tank, ignite the igniter, and open the main valve. If you use nitrous oxide, it is at high pressure. Loading the oxidizer, pressurizing pressurant tanks, pressurizing the oxidizer tank, igniting the igniter, and opening the main valve can all be done by remote control with all personnel in the bunkers. DANGER, this type of rocket may also be susceptible to a BLEVE, depending on the type of oxidizer and tanks you use. (See the BLEVE Danger page.)

Commercial Solid Rockets: You can design, build, and transport the rocket without the motor and without any hazards. It only becomes unsafe when you assemble the rocket motor, put the rocket motor in the rocket, put an igniter in the rocket motor, and ignite the motor. All of the unsafe parts are done out at FAR site under the supervision of a state licensed pyrotechnic operator. Assembling the motor, inserting the motor in the rocket, and inserting the igniter are done by key personnel with observers clear of the launch pad.  The remaining hazardous operation of ignition are done by remote control with all personnel at a safe distance from the rocket or in bunkers.

Most motor manufacturers like to treat solid propellants as 1.3c explosives. FAR has an explosives permit. You can order and pay for a commercial solid motor and send it to FAR.   Ignition is done with the people at a safe distance or in a bunker.

Experimental Solid Rockets: You can design, build, and transport the rocket without the motor and without any hazards. It only becomes unsafe when you mix and assemble the rocket motor, put the rocket motor in the rocket, put an igniter in the rocket motor, and ignite the motor. All of the unsafe parts are done out at FAR site under the supervision of a state licensed pyrotechnic operator. Mixing the propellant, assembling the motor, inserting the motor in the rocket, and inserting the igniter are done by key personnel with observers clear of the preparation area and launch pad.  The remaining hazardous operation of ignition are done by remote control with all personnel in bunkers.

California treats experimental solid propellants as 1.3c low-explosives. FAR has an explosives manufacturing permit. You can mix and store the experimental solid propellant in an explosives magazine at FAR.