Low, medium and high power rocketry

Explosives information bulletin no. 77 | 15 April 2019 | Version 5

This bulletin outlines the Queensland legislative and safety requirements for low, medium and high power rocket motors.

You may also need to refer to:

  • National Fire Protection Association 1122 Code for model rocketry.
  • National Fire Protection Association 1125 Code for the manufacture of model rocketry and high power rocket motors (NFPA 1125 code).
  • National Fire Protection Association 1127 Code for high power rocketry (NFPA 1127 code).
  • Licence to use explosives application form.

Types of rocket motors

The types of model rocket motors are listed below:

Low power Medium power High power
Less than 20g propellant Less than 62.5g of propellant Greater than 62.5 grams of propellant and have a maximum total impulse of 160 newton seconds
Level 0 Level 0 Level 1 Level 2 Level 3
A B C D E F G H and I J K L M N O
No licence required No licence required Licence required

Model rocketry is internationally certified at different levels based on motor size. This is achieved by completing the requirements set out in the NFPA 1127 code. Certification by rocketry associations requires that persons must be at least 18 years old and possess a level of knowledge and competence in handling, using, transporting and storing a high power solid propellant rocket motor, and building and flying such rockets.

Low and medium power rocketry

  • Model rocket motors up to a maximum propellant weight of 62.5 grams and have a maximum total impulse of 160 newton seconds are classified in Schedule 6 of the Explosives Regulation 2017 as unrestricted fireworks. This relates to Level 0 rockets, as shown above. These motors do not require a licence to use, and can be purchased and used. Rocket motors and reloadable motor kits are generically authorised as rocket motors under Queensland legislation.

High power rocketry

  • High power rocket motors are certified for use by recognised testing organisations and manufactured in accordance with the NFPA 1125 code. This code identifies the testing organisations as Tripoli Rocketry Association (TRA), National Association of Rocketry (NAR) and Canadian Association of Rocketry (CAR). The motors certified by these organisations are generically authorised for use in Queensland.
  • A person cannot possess, use, transport or store rocket motors or reloadable motor kits that contain over 62.5 grams of propellant and maximum total impulse of 160 newton seconds unless they hold a current Queensland Licence to Use Explosives. Propellant (including black powder) may be included on this licence to allow the possession, use, transport and storage of this product.
  • A licence is only granted to persons with membership of an incorporated rocketry club that has adopted the NFPA 1127 code.
  • A person must have a letter or document from their rocketry club that includes details of their rocketry use and certification.

High power rocket safety

  • High power rocketry is conducted in Queensland under the guidance of the NFPA 1127 code in areas approved by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, and at organised launches by approved rocketry organisations.
  • Rocketry organisations operating in Queensland must have appropriate documented safety management systems, risk management, training procedures and competencies for persons conducting certification testing, range safety duties and launch control activities. The NFPA codes referenced must be used by licence holders.

Safety

  • Model rocketry has a good safety record and it is important that it remains so. People flying high power rockets have an obligation to follow instructions and safety rules to ensure that rocketry is an enjoyable and safe activity for everyone involved.
  • All rocket motors and propellant must be retained in their original packaging. They are to be transported and stored in resealable non-sparking containers, away from open flames and sources of heat. Reloadable motor kits must remain packaged until immediately prior to use. They must only to be assembled at the launch site preparation area.
  • Black powder must be transported and stored in a wooden container, and must be secured to prevent access by unauthorised persons. Licence holders can store up to a combined quantity of 15kg nett explosive quantity (NEQ) of single use motors, reloadable kits and black powder.

How to apply for a licence

  • A person applying for a licence to use explosives must submit the following items:
    • A completed application form, licence to use explosives (individual).
    • Payment or proof of payment of the relevant fee (refer to Explosives Information Bulletin 37 Regulatory and security assessment fees).
    • Current certification documentation from an approved rocketry organisation that you are competent in the use of high power model rocket motors. This should be supported by copies of logbooks and a statement of reason for the licence.
    • Copies of identification as required in the application.
    • One passport photo taken within the last 6 months (refer to the Licence to use explosives application form).
    Note: A criminal history check will be conducted.
  • Applications for a licence to use explosives should place a cross against both propellant and other on the application form to use bulk propellant in parachute deployment ejection charges.
  • The maximum amount of rocket motors and propellant that can be stored under the licence is 15kg without requesting a separate licence to store explosives.
  • When a person who holds a licence to use explosives for high power rockets stops being a member of an incorporated rocketry organisation then the licence is no longer valid and the licence cannot be used for firing high powered rocket motors. If at the time of licence renewal the person does not provide information that shows the licence is in use, then the licence to use explosives may not be renewed.

Further Information



Authorised by Noel Erichsen - A/Chief Inspector of Explosives
Contact: , Manager, Explosives Licensing, +61 7 3199 8057 explosives@dnrm.qld.gov.au

Issued by the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines


General: This information is a guide only. It is not to be taken as a statement of law and must not be construed to waive or modify any legal obligation.

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