Safety and Operations

  • Is it safe? Is there a risk?
    OregonRocketry adheres to all national, state, and local rules. We adhere to the NAR and TRA safety guidelines. We do everything in our power to make launches we conduct as safe as possible. Our range safety and launch control officers are there to help keep everyone safe. In short, there is a risk, but we strive to mitigate that risk as much as possible (and we have an excellent safety record).
  • Is alcohol permitted at launches?
    Yes, but consuming alcohol and flying rockets is not allowed under any circumstances. If in the afternoon or evening you choose to have a drink, consider your flying day complete. Avoid prepping anything relating to rocketry at that point. You are welcome to enjoy yourself, but do not mix it with rocketry.
  • Is smoking permitted at launches?
    Yes, but no smoking within 25 feet of your own or anyone else’s camping or prep area. Use your best judgment, and wind permitting, be respectful of people around you.
  • What about animals at the launch?
    You are welcome to bring animals to a launch, but please consider the following:
    1. They must be on leash at all times when operations are open.
    2. They must be okay interacting with other animals.
    3. They may not harm or capture wildlife. There are a number of small animals living on the brothers site that may be appealing to dogs…bring them a tennis ball.
    4. You are responsible for waste.
    5. They must be comfortable with the sound. We have seen a number of pets at launches that became extremely nervous each time a rocket is launched, and that’s not fair to any animal.  If they don’t do well on the Fourth of July, chances are a rocket launch is not a good place for them to be.  Use your best judgement.
  • What about young kids at the launch?
    See above response regarding animals… just kidding! With the exception of NXRS, absolutely bring the kids! As they say, the children are our future, and we’re here to get ‘em hooked! That being said, please be sure to keep them under your supervision. Also be sure that they understand the basics of our operations so they can hear, understand, and follow all announcements from the LCO, such as “Range is closed” or “Heads up!”. With kids as young as 3 or 4, the low power launches in town are a a lot of fun, and for kids in the 5+ range, the low power launches are a perfect setting for learning about rocketry and rocket launch operations.  The high power launches can be a bit overwhelming in terms of the sound and speed for kids under 6-ish, but you will know best.  If they have seen a jet team at an airshow and loved it, bring them to the desert!  If they hid in the port-a-potty, maybe wait another year.
  • What about the teenagers?
    If you can get them out of bed, bring them. They will love it. And be sure to check our Education FAQ for more information about how they can get involved in rocketry clubs in middle school, high school, and all the way on up to college.
  • What about motorcycles & quads at a launch?
    Dirt bikes and quads are allowed on a case by case basis, especially for folks who are going back and forth between their prep area and the away cell and hill cell launch pads at our Brothers launch site.  Please do not abuse this policy.  No joy riding, and wear a helmet / riding gear whenever possible, especially on bikes.  Be mindful of fire conditions as well.
  • What about firearms at a launch?
    No. The use of firearms is strictly prohibited. Anyone displaying or using a firearm at a launch event will receive one warning. If it happens again, they’ll be asked to leave. The rockets aren’t targets, and we don’t have rattlesnakes where we fly (they don’t like the soil).
  • What about fireworks at a launch?
    We love fireworks!… but not at launches. Please leave them at home.
  • What do I do to launch a rocket?
    Check out our Launch Policies and Procedures page for all the details, but basically:
    1. Have rocket.
    2. Have motor.
    3. Prep rocket and motor.
    4. Complete flight card.
    5. Get rocket inspected and approved by RSO.
    6. (When range is open) Load rocket on pad and record pad number on flight card.
    7. Give completed flight card to LCO.
    8. Watch rocket fly (and land, hopefully…)
    9. Once the range is open again, recover rocket.
  • What are the launch sites like?
    Be sure to check out the Brothers and Sheridan launch site pages here and here. Brothers and Sheridan are essentially dirt roads with room to park. We have port-a-johns on site for the scheduled launches. Other than that, if you need it, you bring it. There is no running water, so bring plenty and then some. Pop-up shelters and canopies are a good idea for shade (or rain). A folding card table and chairs are recommended as well. If you are camping, bring all of the usual stuff… tent, camp stove, flashlights, etc. Did I mention water? It can get fairly windy as well, so make sure your gear is wind-tolerant. Conditions at the Brothers launch site can be extreme at times… Hot days, cold nights, high winds… it is a desert, after all. Check the Brothers forecast before you depart for the site and use your best judgement. If things get really out of hand, the launch may be scrubbed, but that is very rare. We give you as much notice as possible in those situations.
  • How high can we fly?
    Roughly 500 feet above ground level (AGL) at Garden Home, 5,400 feet AGL at Sheridan, and 20,500 feet AGL with windows to 50,000 feet AGL at Brothers. Our Brothers launch waiver is one of the best in the country. Here is a quote from Rockets Magazine:

“One of the best kept secrets in rocketry is the launch site in Brothers, Oregon. The secluded location is perfect for high-power action that screams into the clear blue skies. You are truly committed to the hobby when you launch rockets with the Oregon Rocketry folks. One of the first questions a newcomer would ask is “How much recovery room do you have here?” Inevitably, the answer always comes back as another question, ‘How much do you need?’”