Balcony Shoot #5 - Small Sugar & Iron Oxide Rocket

Date: 2003-08-29


Photocopier paper (80 gsm) case, 20 layers taped, no glue. 6 mm ID, 55 mm overall length. 2 mm diameter cavity, full length of grain. 40 mm grain length. Cat litter nozzle, 7 mm thick. Bulkhead of paper wadding and hot-melt glue.

KN/Sucrose/IO propellant:

70% Potassium Nitrate

29% Sucrose

1% Iron Oxide (red)

Same as Beach Shoot Sugar/IO rocket, ground seperately in a coffee mill, combined and ball milled for a few minutes to ensure good incorporation. (Same batch of propellant)

Newly tooled mandrel for full-length core burning. It was not tapered however and jammed on removal, pulling out the inner-most turns of paper and slightly chipping the nozzle. It looked like a fatal mistake, there was no way to repair it.

Fused with meal-NC tissue paper fuse, no priming.

Bamboo kebab skewer stick as usual, didn't bother with a painted one, but used an extra-long one as an experiment.


Good flight.

Despite the construction problem that I though was sure to result in a CATO, the motor worked perfectly. Ironically I joked that this 'obviously faulty' motor would work the best of the batch. It did.

It was launched from a new launch tube which directs the rocket out over the rocks and into the ocean at about a 45 degree angle (for range rather than apogee). Unfortunately this isn't the best location for taking videos of the flight, and recovery is always impossible if the motor actually works well (it ends up a few hundred metres into the surf!).

Quick to come up to pressure, especially for an unprimed KN/Sucrose motor. Zoomed off the launch tube. Flew a long, long way, landing well out into the surf.

The sugar rockets have an almost invisible tail at night, making them very hard to trace. During the day things are a little better because of the smoke, but there is nothing like the sparks of a greenmix rocket for tracking at night.

If I can locate some titanium powder I'll dope the propellant with that, which should give bright white sparks. I guess I could add a garnature to the head of the rocket for tracking, that will complicate the bulkhead (of which I have had at least two failures) and I am not making fireworks here, just rocket motors! (Still I think I am becoming "one who hath smelt the smoke", the mixture of science and craftmanship required is very addictive)


title type size
Rocket Launch video/x-msvideo 1.044 Mbytes
Pre-Launch Picture image/jpeg 33.136 kbytes