> [..] If I recall, there was some FAA red tape that applied if your
 > burn time was longer than 15 seconds, which is rather ridiculously
 > short. I say design the rocket the way physics says you should, and
 > just deal with the paperwork.
 > Still, you want to figure on leaving the pad around 4 g's at least -  
 > that is, generating 5 g's worth of thrust, for 80% initial flight  
 > profile efficiency. LV2 was well into the double digits, if i  
 > remember correctly.

Some things have changed. I'm not sure they translate into paperwork
reduction however. This is from an old post to the avionics list:

 > 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].

 > [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

Keeping the vehicle aligned to the mission is important.

 > For propulsion-only tests I wouldn't be too concerned about undamaged  
 > recovery - even with a theoretically perfect launch and recovery, the  
 > thing's still gonna be completely rebuilt between flights. The idea  
 > is, you make it simple enough that you can do 5 test flights per year

Ok, i understand. Big motor, good chance it's going to blow
anyway. stick a tube on it, add fins, stand back ;)

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