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Software and Designs


Many commercial and open-source (freeware) software packages exist for designing and simulating the flight of hobby rockets.
Rather than list all of them here, we will list those packages which (I feel) are at the top of their league in terms of offerings to
the enthusiast. Check back here from time to time, as this list will be updated as new packages and versions are released.


Keeping in the spirit of open-source sharing and collaboration, we are providing an opportunity for participants to have their designs and
'creations' posted, for others to download and use.  I'm starting by providing links to some basic designs created in
OpenRocket  - just click on the
link/s and you should be able to directly download the .ork file/s.
If you'd like to submit a design for sharing (in any format) drop me a line or e-mail the files to  I'll take a quick look just to ensure
all is in order, before posting below.  Remember though, we are providing these designs without verifying their accuracy, functionality or safety.  Please
satisfy yourself that all important parameters are correct (CoG, CoP, stability etc) before proceeding with a build and flight.

We can accept no responsibility for the failure of any of these designs to perform adequately and safely!

Software packages

Package What it does Notes & Comments
OpenRocket Design & flight simulation A great free software package that runs on Windows, Mac and Linux - must have the Java Runtime modules installed though.  Stemming from an academic thesis work, OpenRocket has grown quite well over the years, and is in my mind, one of the best free options around. Printing is experimental at present though, and you must export the results of simulations (as CSV or text files) into a spreadsheet or similar package to do any in-depth analysis.
RockSim Design & flight simulation Probably one of the most comprehensive commercial design and simulation packages out there.  I have not tried this one, but it has great reviews and is probably the closest thing to a 'do it all' solution.
RocketCalculator Suite of tools and handy info for iOS Rocket Calculator is a suite of practical tools for the launch site, and useful for pre-launch planning. Rocket Calculator is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, and requires iOS 4.2 or later. Available on the App Store.

Rocket Designs

Design Created in Notes & Comments
Li'l Red Fez! PDF Just download the PDF and follow the instructions.  Thanks to Tony for the find and to RedRiverRocketry for the design.
Aerotech 'Arreaux' OpenRocket A work-up of the Aerotech 'Arreaux' mid-power payload rocket.  A very nice, strong 29mm vehicle.
Dynastar 'Rising Star' OpenRocket A work-up of the Dynastar 'Rising Star' payload rocket.  Has a 24mm motor mount.  A versatile mid-power rocket.
Estes ' Big Daddy' OpenRocket This is a work-up of the classic Estes 'Big Daddy' model rocket.  All dimensions and features were taken off a standard kit-built rocket.  If you are into 'kit bashing' or would like to experiment with different motors in the standard vehicle, then give this one a go.
Terrier - Orion OpenRocket This design is has been scaled down from the Terrier-Orion sounding rocket platform used by the Univerity of Queensland in their early 'Hyshot' hypersonic combustion experiements.  The design is a single-stage vehicle at the moment, although the real thing was a two-stage platform. My scratch-built version 'lawn darted' on its maiden flight, however I have nearly finished the re-build and she will certainly fly again!
Estes 'Converter' OpenRocket Reproduction of a novel skill level-1 Estes kit that can be lengthened or shortened by unscrewing sections of body tube.  In full-length configuration, this design is over 6 calibres stable!
PML 'Explorer' with 9" payload bay
OpenRocket A brilliant, strong 2.5" diameter kit from PML.
Estes 'Big Daddy' with 29mm Motor Mount
OpenRocket The Estes classic kit-bashed to a 29mm motor mount and modified with a nose-cone electronics bay.

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