Remodeling is currently going through an update to make the pages more responsive and the site easier to use.  This latest remodeling effort is the third or fourth time that I have tried to make a major change to the way that the web site looks and acts.  All the previous efforts involved rewriting the code for the site from scratch.  All of the previous efforts failed when I realized just how overwhelming huge the task of rewriting all of the code and importing the existing data would be.

This time, instead of recreating all of the code for the web site, I am rewriting sections of from the inside out.  By keeping the existing infrastructure of the site, all of the existing features will continue to work as I update the site and add new features and there is no need to import all of the existing information into a new site.

There are three main goals of the update.

The first goal is to improve the user interface to make more modern looking, more responsive, and easier to use.  I am giving the site a cleaner, modern appearance which looks good and works well on all sizes of displays from smart phones and tablets through desktop monitors.  Custom controls are being added to make it easier to navigate the site and enter information.

The second goal is to add some long-missing, much-needed features such as allowing you to select units used for display and input. For example, the Flight Log is being updated to allow you to display and enter altitude in your choice of feet or meters.

The third goal is to fix existing problems with the site and make it easier to add features (and fix problems) in the future.  I am developing reusable components for user-interface controls and the back-end which will make it easier to add new features and maintain the site.

As always, your feedback is welcome.  There is a “Contact Us” link at the bottom of each page at which you can use to ask questions or leave suggestions.


Don Sahlin – Muppet Designer and Rocketry Hobbyist

Don SahlinAfter briefly working as a puppeteer and builder for The Howdy Doody Show then working on stop-motion films (including projects with George Pal), Don Sahlin began working with Jim Henson in 1962. Henson hired Sahlin to create a Muppet of a dog character, Rowlf, for Purina Dog Chow commercials. Rowlf when onto become the singer’s side-kick during the four-year run of The Jimmy Dean TV show. Sahlin became Jim Henson’s primary designer and builder.  Henson credited Sahlin with creating the distinctive Muppet “look.”

In addition to working on the Muppets, Sahlin provided special and visual effects for Henson’s Oscar-nominated short film from 1965, “Time Piece.”

At about seven minutes and 30 seconds into “Time Piece” (about one minute and ten seconds into the above clip from the film), you see a small rocket launched.


The rocket and its launch pad may have looked familiar to readers of Estes’s Model Rocket News.

In the June, 1965, issue of MRN, Don Sahlin is listed of the winner of the recent photo contest.


Model Rocket News, June, 1965

Don’s winning photo entry shows the rocket from the film sitting its the launch pad. The photo is accompanied by stills of the rocket in flight which are apparently from the 16mm film used in “Time Piece.” The above photo also appeared in the 1967 edition of G. Harry Stine’s Handbook of Model Rocketry.

Don’s passion for model rocketry preceded the making of the rocket used in “Time Piece.”

G.HDon Sahlin's Three-Stage ROcketarry Stine’s column in the August, 1962, issue of American Modeler Magazine includes a photograph of a three-stage rocket built and photographed by Sahlin as well as a photo of Sahlin preparing a rocket for launch.

Don Sahlin

Centuri’s American Rocketeer (Volume 2, Number 1), published in 1967, included a one-page article with photos about Don Sahlin, the “TV & Movie Puppeteer” that “Turns on Rockets.”

American Rocketeer

Sahlin died in 1978.  He left not only a legacy through his contributions to the Muppets, but through his affection for model rocketry. The New Yorker’s August 16, 1993, article “Looking Out for Kermit,” published a few years after the death of Jim Henson, discussed how Jim Henson had encouraged creativity in his children. Interviewed for the article, Jim Henson’s son, Brian, recalls how, as a child, he “enjoyed building puppets and props,” and how “he also helped Sahlin assemble enormous model rockets.”

New Yorker


2015 National Sport Launch Photos and Video

The Rocketry Organization of South Carolina at Orangeburg (ROSCO) hosted the National Association of Rocketry’s 2015 National Sport Launch over Memorial Day weekend.

The three-day event featured flights by rocketry enthusiasts from around the world.

[View More of Roger and Bracha Smith’s Photos of NSL 2015]

Saturday’s weather featured bright blue skies and a bit of wind.

[View More of Kevin Boyd’s Photos from NSL 2015 Day 1]

Saturday night ended with a night launch.

Though Sunday began with the same, clear blue skies that we had on Saturday, clouds moved in later.

[View More of Kevin Boyd’s Photos from NSL 2015 Day 2]

Even though some people headed home early Monday, the launch pads remained busy on Monday, the third and last day of the NSL.

[View More of Kevin Boyd’s Photos from NSL 2015 Day 3]

Thanks to all the volunteers who supported NSL 2015!


Continue reading 2015 National Sport Launch Photos and Video …

Rocket4TheCure – New World’s Record As Teens Launch Almost 4000 Rockets at Once

On October 26, 2014, High school students Sanzio Angili and Dylan Whitesel of Chesterfield, Virginia, raised $20,000 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and broke a world record by launching 3973 model rockets at one time.

Supporters sponsored the event by donating $10 for each rocket, many of which were labeled with the name of a person being honored or remembered.

The two students, along with family and friends, assembled the rockets in the months before the launch.

The rockets were launched at the Chesterfield County Fairgrounds.

8NEWS – WRIC | News Where You Live

Flutter-By Caught By Spider

From Scott Johnson:

“So I was painting my Flutter-By (Centuri Style); doing 10 minute intervals of red paint. In between painting, my Flutter-By was caught by a spider…”


The Naked Gun: “Special Thanks to : Tripoli Rocketry Association”

“It’s the same old story. Boy finds girl, boy loses girl, girl finds boy, boy forgets girl, boy remembers girl, girls dies in a tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day.”

Watching the 1988 film The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! via Amazon Prime the other night, I was surprised to see the following scroll by during the end credits:

Special Thanks to: Tripoli Rocketry Association

“Aha,” I thought, “That’s where the name came from.”

To back up and explain. The origins of “Tripoli” as the name of one of our major rocketry associations is clouded in myth and the fog of history.

I’d never really thought much about the name’s origin before. But, here was an explanation. As a contributor to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) had done earlier, I assumed that the credit was a comedic reference to events in the film (“the scene

Continue reading The Naked Gun: “Special Thanks to : Tripoli Rocketry Association” …

CSXT Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Amateur Space Launch By Doing It Again

In May of 2004, the Civilian Space Exploration Team (CSXT) launched a 21-foot long rocket to an altitude of 72 miles. The “Go Fast” rocket became the “first American civilian sounding rocket to reach outer space” and the first verified launch into space by an amateur group.

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the achievement, the CSXT did it again.

The rocket carried a military grade Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) which had previously flown on four commercial space missions launched from the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). Analysis of the data from the recovered IMU shows that the GoFast rocket reached 385,800 feet (73.1 miles) with a top speed of 3,580 miles per hour.


Model Rockets Take to the Sky

On Juky 22, KTVN Channel 2 aired a new story about Reno Rocketry, the Northern Nevada chapter of Tripoli.


The station’s videographer placed GoPro cameras under and near the launch pads to obtain dramatic video of the launches. The “drag race” shot was accidental. “User error” resulted in several rockets launching at once.


Presidio, Texas, Rocketry Teacher Gets Green Card

Two years ago, Shella Condino, a Texas teacher known for using rocketry to inspire and educate, received a letter from the US Immigrations Service saying, “You are not authorized to remain in the United States and to depart as soon as possible.”

A Texas congressman investigated and learned that the letter had been sent by mistake. Shella Condino now has a “Green Card” and continues to inspire her students in Presidio, Texas. Earlier this year, she once again, lead a team of kids to the Team America Rocketry Challenge finals. The team finished fourth over all in the nationwide competition.

Jose Galindo, Lizzbeth Jordan, and Marissa Gray

Free Android App Measures Diameters

A new Android app which measures diameters may be useful to rocketry hobbyists. ON Diameter is a free app which measures the diameter of an object such as a model rocket body tube.

You place the object to be measured anywhere on your Android device’s screen then move three cross points to align with the object’s boundary. The object’s diameter and area will be shown on the screen. You can toggle the units to select inches or millimeters.

The screen shots above show the app being used to measure several items as well as the screens used to calibrate your device for accurate measurements.

The ON Diameter app is available from the Google Play store.