Grounding Model Rockets


The invaluable reports on the threat to model rocketry contained in the Homeland Security Act: An excerpt: "A provision deep within the regulations of the new Homeland Security Act is threatening to shut down the popular hobby of model rocketry because the propellant used to make the rocket's solid-fueled motors is now classified as explosive material.

The change in status, approved in November 2002 as an update to the Safe Explosives Act of 1970, imposes new restrictions on shipping and handling the rocket motors, which have been safely flown by thousands of students for many years.
Under the new rules, which fully take effect May 24, shipping companies are required to have every employee who might touch the rocket motors be certified, pass background checks and get fingerprinted—an added expense the companies are unlikely to bear.

United Parcel Service already has stopped shipping the more powerful versions of model rocket engines, according to Tim Van Milligan, president of Apogee Rockets in Colorado Springs, Colo."