Rocket Science

Palmer Hudson sent us these photos of his rocket, Glory. The rocket was built out of phenolic tubes covered with fiberglass cloth. All construction was done using the WEST SYSTEM® epoxy and fillers.

The phenolic tube, which is a popular material for the air frame, is enhanced with a coating of epoxy to help prevent shredding that can occur at supersonic speeds (which many of these rockets are capable of exceeding). Some builders further reinforce the tube with a layer of fiberglass fabric. More advanced methods of construction incorporate carbon fiber laminate which would be lighter and stiffer than the cardboard tube, resulting in greater altitude and time aloft–to primary goals of the amateur rocketeer. Fins, typically constructed of G-10, an epoxy/fiberglass laminate, are bonded with the epoxy often with fillets that aid rigidity and prevent flutter at high speeds.

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(Left) Palmer Hudson with his rocket, Glory. The rocket was 6″ in diameter and 9′ tall. The 3″ diameter motor was about 22″ long, with somewhere around 623 lb of thrust and a burn time of 2.6 seconds. (Right) Glory takes to the skies. The rocket reached just under 8,000 feet in about 20 seconds. A perfect launch and recovery gave Palmer his Level 3 certification, which is the highest level that can be obtained in High Power Rocketry