Hi everyone,

First of all, congrats to the airframe team! It was great to see the
nose cone plug on top of a three module stack. It's almost as if we have
a rocket!

Second of all, this was just too interesting to not pass along. The FAA
has been reviewing amateur rocketry rules for a while, and they've
almost gone and made them more sane. I'm impressed.

The Office of Commercial Space Transportation (called the 'AST', for
whatever reason) has a TON of interesting documents on their website [1]
for commercial space interests. Lots of requirements and discussion on
everything from structural analysis, to software design, to failure
analysis. There's a lot of reading to be done here!

Most interesting and apropos is the new proposed rules under
"Requirements for Amateur Rocket Activities" [2]. It's a revamping of
the amateur rocket regulations, and it's not half bad.

1. It gets rid of the previous weird ballistic coefficient and burn time
requirements, which never really made sense to us.

2. It replaces those requirements with a 150 km (328,000 ft) altitude
limit (they don't want us to hit anything), a maximum impulse on the
engine (about a 'Q'), a ban on orbital insertion (sub-orbital only for
us amateurs :), and finally forbids crossing international lines without
an agreement. Not too terrible.

3. It divides rocketry into four classes: Model Rocks, Large Model
Rockets, High-Power Rockets, and Advanced High-Power Rockets. It looks
like for the next few launch with an M/N/O motor, we're a class 3, which
means very little changes for us. When we start going higher, or
staging, we'll transition to class 4, which means more paperwork
justifying that we have a safe rocket, have safety measures in place,
etc., which doesn't seem too onerous.

And as we've always known, orbital insertion means having a "commercial
class" launch vehicle, with all the heaps of licenses, safety
regulations, and bureaucracy that entails. Thanks to Tom for a almost
readable discussion of what that exactly entails [3].

See you all next week!


[1] http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/
[2] http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/pdf/E7-11263.pdf
[3] http://colonyfund.com/Reading/papers/NH_rocket_contents.html

Andrew Greenberg

Portland State Aerospace Society (http://psas.pdx.edu/)
[EMAIL PROTECTED]  P: 503.788.1343  C: 503.708.7711

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