How to Join Rockets

From Stanford SSI Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Part of the Rockets series
Project Daedalus
Dr. Hai Wang (Team Advisor) Thomas White (Co-Lead) William Koski (Co-Lead)
Launch Certifications
Level 1 Level 2 • Level 3
CFD WorkflowSo You Want To...Avionics
Pegasus 1 off the pad.

Welcome to rockets! This page is intended to lay out the organization of the group, and let everyone know exactly what they need to do to get started! First of all, the current rockets co-leads are Thomas White and William Koski - let us know if you have any questions about the group or about what you are supposed to do.

SSI tries to introduce new members to High Power Rocketry by guiding them through building a simple rocket, flying it, and earning a Level 1 certification. While not all members have to go through this, it will introduce you to designing, analyzing, building, and then flying a rocket (and you will go to a launch, which are always fun).

The main rockets page has a lot of information about High Power Rocketry, as well as how we approach it. Reading through the page before attending a meeting is recommended, but certainly not required. This one focuses more on what you have to do to join, which is less about rockets and more about logistics.

Basic Info


The Rockets Team has general meetings every week; during Fall Quarter of 2017-2018, these meetings are held on Mondays from 8-9pm in Durand 450. They cover all relevant project updates (i.e. Daedalus team updates and launch logistics) and function as work sessions where all of the Rockets Team members are in the same place at once.

Each project under the Rockets Team umbrella needs to have at least one work session/meeting a week in conjunction with the team-wide meetings.

If you cannot make a project meeting, let your project lead know ahead of time.

Previous Knowledge

We don’t expect you to know very much about rocketry. If you do, great! But if you don’t, we will spend the time teaching you the fundamentals and give you the opportunities and resources to learn as much about rocketry as you’d like. Working on a project is the best way to exercise and synthesize with the knowledge you gain from working with theory.

Rocketry is a multi-disciplined topic. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of useful disciplines:

  • Heat Transfer

  • Thermodynamics

  • Fluid Mechanics (incompressible and compressible flow)

  • Physics

  • Material Sciences

  • Statics and Dynamics

  • Controls

  • Circuits

  • Amatuer Radio

  • Manufacturing

Introductions to many of these are available on So You Want To...

Safety Training

In order to get access to MC (our room), all members must have completed basic safety training. INSERT DETAILS HERE, IM GOING TO DINNER.

Time Commitment

Rocketry is difficult to master, but worth the tedious design process. The more time you put in, the better your project will turn out as well as experience less schedule slip. Building a basic L1 and L2 rocket should not require more than 10 hours combined if done correctly (since they come from kits). L3 projects require much more time since these are designed from scratch and need to go through our NASA-inspired design process.


Rockets has a running budget in the Drive (Stanford Student Space Initiative > Teams > Rockets). Please add your purchases to the correct tab so we can have a running tally of what we’re spending.


Tripoli Rocketry Association (TRA) and National Association of Rocketry (NAR) are the two major organizations that organize launches, certify members, and maintain specific standards that govern high power rocketry.

In order to launch high power rockets, you are required to be a member of either organization (Tripoli Membership / NAR Membership)

The closest Tripoli launch site to Stanford is Tripoli Central CA (near Fresno) and the closest NAR launch site is LUNAR (somewhat near Stockton). TCC holds HPR launches (max height 16,800’) on the 3rd Saturday of each month. LUNAR holds HPR launches (max height of 15,000’) on the 1st Saturday of each month in addition to low power launches (max height of 1000’) on the 3rd Saturday of each month at Moffett Field.


Here is the launch procedure as lifted from the Operating Principles and Risk Management document.

Once the team arrives at the launch site, the rules and regulations of the governing body sponsoring the launch will take precedence. Although procedure is likely to vary from site to site, the launch procedure usually occurs in this order:

  1. Those attempting to fly a rocket approach the Range Safety Officer (RSO) and officers in charge of the launch, sign in (with their member numbers) and usually pay a launch fee. If the flyer is attempting to get a certification, they will fill out relevant forms to declare their intention (these and other useful documentation pertaining to both national rocketry associations are included in the Appendix).

  2. Depending on the skill level of the flyer, there are two variations of what may occur.

    1. In the non-certification flight case, the RSO will inspect the rocket and send the flyer to set up the rocket on the launch pad. This requires placing the rocket on the launch rails, placing the igniter in the motor, and checking the launch pad electronics for errors before returning to a safe distance from the launch pad.

    2. In the case of a certification, the RSO and someone above the flyer’s certification level will inspect the rocket and send the flyer (and another more experienced member) to set up the rocket for launch. The same setup process occurs as stated above.

  3. After the range has been cleared of spectators/flyers, the RSO announces each rocket and launches them one at a time (unless otherwise specified; an example of an exception is a drag race between two rockets).

  4. Once the range is cleared of rockets, flyers recover their rockets.

  5. If the flight is not a certification, the procedure ends here. Otherwise, the flyer shows his or her rocket to the RSO and has them sign off on the flyer’s paperwork if the flight is successful. The paperwork is then sent off to the headquarters of the organization and processed.

Rocket Naming Conventions

For mass certs:

SSI-R# will be the designation for general rocket launches (blanket certification launches).

Your rocket’s name can be whatever you would like it to be. Examples in the past are: Cardinal I, Flamos, Chris May, etc.

For Daedalus:

SSI-[Level][three letter code denoting name][Launch number] ex. SSI-L3TAL1. These will not affect the number of SSI-R launches. They will have separate counts. The launch number will be useful if the same rocket goes flying again (which should be plausible if you don't mash it).

If the rocket is Class 3, no Level number is required.

Rockets Leadership

The logistics required to run a fully operational Rockets team can be too much for just two co-leads to handle. The Rockets Leadership is a group of people who care about organizing the logistics behind launches and projects that the team is working on. If you show that you care and put in an exceptional amount of effort into your project, you can choose to be a part of this group.

Here is a document with all the roles on Rockets Leadership.


Other members are one of your best resources if you have any questions about rocketry. Other fantastic resources are laid out below.

Rockets Drive

There are tons of useful things in the Rockets folder!!!!! Here are descriptions of a few of those folders.


Go here first for finding useful data on L1 certification procedures! You should add as much to the wiki as possible.


This holds all the older Rockets plans/documents/etc. Usually these documents are not particularly useful (which is why they are in the archive).


This holds all the information for Daedalus, like team folders, L3 requirements, and PDRs & CDRs. Snoop around to see what they’ve done so far and steal information for your project (citing is always a good idea when you do take information).

Getting Nerdy: Textbooks and Manuals

This folder holds a collection of useful texts ranging from textbooks, manuals, NASA articles and technical reports. If you need to learn things, check out this document.

Launch Documentation

This holds all the launch documentation for upcoming launches and things like build slot signups, ride signups, rocket building instructions, required reading, pre-flight checklists, etc. Read through this folder and you’ll have a pretty damn good idea of launch logistics.

Rockets Operating Principles

This folder houses all of the operating principles, risk mitigation planning, and miscellaneous safety codes, documentation, and literally anything Stanford’s lawyers could possibly want from us. If you read the document you will have a very good understanding of how the team operates on an administrative level.

The Design Process

This folder houses all you need to know to design, fabricate and launch a rocket from a documentation standpoint. Read it.


Slack is the lifeblood of SSI. It is a messaging client that allows everyone within SSI to communicate. There are general channels (like #rockets), which allow us to push out general updates to everyone interested in the rockets team and direct messages in order to communicate with one person - although Slack has recently added a group messaging feature if you don’t want to make an entire channel for a 4 person chat - at a time. Notifications are pushed directly to your phone/computer/anything that has internet so that way we can infringe on all of your free time!

Join the SSI Slack here.

End Station III/ISS

ISS can be considered the temple to SSI’s religion, the hub, nerve center, or kernel of all project activity. Located in End Station III, ISS houses work sessions and project storage. Note: keycard access is required to the building. For specific questions, contact our workspace manager (see our website). Meetings or work sessions can also be conducted in the conference room, Durand 393 (often available), the floor of End Station III (known as Dragon), or Durand 450 (with prior reservation through AA Department Office on the second floor of Durand).