Are there different levels of rocketry?
Rocketry organizations recognize five classifications of rockets, as outlined below, based on motor size or propellant weight. In addition to motor size, Model Rocket classification also takes into account the size of the rocket itself. Model Rockets are those that weigh up to one pound and use up to 4oz. of propellant. Large Model Rockets weigh up to 3.3 pounds and can utilize up to 4.4oz. of propellant. Any rocket flying on more than 4.4 oz. of propellant is considered a High Power Rocket. High Power Rockets, or Sport Rockets, are generally larger than Model Rockets and fly on motors larger than H. Rocket motors are double in size by letter with a full B motor being twice the total impulse of a full A, a full C twice the total impulse of a full B, etc. Model Rockets primarily use single use, disposable motors; High Power Rockets typically use reloadable rocket motors utilizing reusable hardware.
Experimental Rocketry, while less common than Model or High Power Rocketry, has had a consistent following since the 1950s when commercial hobby and sport rocket motors were not yet available. You may have seen the movie October Sky in which Homer Hickam and friends experimented with some of the first rockets. Today there are many commercial motor manufacturers from which most hobby and sport rocketeers purchase motors. However, some rocketeers continue to pursue the development of new formulas, creating new colors and other characteristics. Some of these new designs are later re-produced by commercial manufacturers.
While Amateur Rockets are not specific to size, most rocketeers reserve the category for rockets flying on motors sized O and larger. To date, rocket motors as large as R have been flown by sport rocketry enthusiasts.
Rocketry creates new challenges, breeds invention and gives thinkers and innovators a creative outlet … a bone to chew on.
Please note. There are more details to be learned about these classifications. Its been kept simple here to help you understand the basics. Each group has some slight differences in their rules.