Model rockets are small vehicles made of lightweight materials that hobbyists can build and launch at lower altitudes. They use disposable motors and parachutes to recover the craft. A launch pad and special packaging are required, and an electric match ignites the rocket engine. Recovery can be problematic due to parachute snags.
A model rocket is a small motor vehicle that can be built from lightweight materials such as wood, plastic, or cardboard. The rocket model is usually designed similar to that of larger rockets. Hobbyists can build model rockets and launch them at lower altitudes, then recover the light craft as they fall back to earth. Specially designed disposable motors are inserted into the rockets to propel them into the sky, and a parachute is usually attached inside each rocket; it is deployed once the rocket reaches its maximum altitude.
A launch pad is required to successfully launch a model rocket. The rocket is attached to the launch pad pole, which extends vertically from a metal base. A guide tube attached to the outside of the rocket allows it to launch directly from the vertical shaft and into the air. The process of launching the model rocket begins with the proper packaging of the rocket’s internal components: a motor is placed in a special cradle at the bottom of the rocket and treads are loaded from the top of the rocket to build up the pressure that will eventually deploy the parachute. The parachute is loaded into the top of the rocket, and the nose cone is inserted into the top of the body tube.
The model’s rocket engine must be ignited, and then a specially designed electric match is charged into the bottom of the engine before launch. This match is equipped with metal cables to which metal clamps can be attached. Metal clamps are attached to a long wire that terminates in a launch control unit; this unit usually has three functions: a lock, a trigger light, and a start button. The lock must be inserted in the control unit to make the launch possible. Once inserted, the button can be pressed. The light will activate if an electric current has successfully passed through the wire and the rocket will launch.
Once the rocket takes to the air, it will reach certain altitudes based on the size of the rocket engine and the overall design of the rocket model. It will reach a maximum altitude, before using some sort of recovery method, often a parachute that will allow the rocket to fall gently back to earth. This part of the recovery process can be problematic, as parachutes tend to get snagged on trees, power lines, and other obstacles.