Safety is very important with any rocket. Water Rockets in particular are not toys. A pressurized water rocket can store huge amounts of energy and fly hundreds of miles per hour. They can suddenly burst, or injure bystanders by landing hundreds of feet away. Because of this, children should never be allowed to launch water rockets without constant adult supervision. Rockets can be safe but only when everyone understands and abides by safe behavior.
Please note that local laws and regulations may apply. It is the responsibility of all participants to be familiar with and follow all appropriate regulations related to rocketry in their respective countries. Failure to comply with these rules is grounds for disqualification in any world record contests.
A ‘Water Rocket’ is defined as any rocket whose thrust is generated from low temperature compressed gas (air) acting on an inert reaction mass (water).
I. Construction Materials:
- Only lightweight, non-metallic external parts for the nose, body, payload container and fins should be used so that the rocket does not conduct electricity or become shrapnel should the rocket explode. Never use “glass” or other breakable containers at any time. Use only carbonated beverage bottles or pressure chambers that are designed to handle the envisioned flight pressures.
- Rocket can be any shape or size but cannot exceed 1,500 grams. This is the total dry weight of all flying components in a flight ready condition including the pressure vessel, fins, nosecone, payload bay, camera, altimeter, flight computer, deployment system, batteries, and nozzle.(no reaction mass) A heavy mass falling from high altitude can be very harmful to persons or property.
II. Payload & Staging Mechanism Materials:
- The payload container and staging mechanism/booster recovery modules must be constructed from strong non-metallic materials to completely enclose any metallic parts carried inside (batteries, electronics, and mechanical components).
- The payload section is to be attached above all pressurized parts of the rocket and cannot contain any exposed metal parts.
- The payload section must be separate from the pressurized portions of the rocket.
- Payloads should never include any flammable, explosive, bio-hazardous materials or live animals.
III. Recovery System:
- All launched parts of rocket which travel over 6 meters (20 feet) in altitude must have a recovery system which limits their descent rate at time of touchdown at ground level to a maximum velocity of 10 meters/second (33 feet/second). This includes all pieces which separate or are shed off in flight. Fast falling rockets, boosters, debris, or rocket parts can be very dangerous. Recovery system malfunctions will disallow any record flights.
- Recovery system cannot contain black powder, fireworks, or pyrotechnic "squibs".
IV. Pressure Vessel:
- The pressure vessel shall be made of thin, ductile plastic capable of withstanding the intended launch pressure.
- The pressure Vessel and all external parts of the rocket may not be fabricated from metal. In addition to being heavy and dangerous if falling because of failed deployment, metal can also cause major problems if landing on power lines.
- Metallic components should never be in contact with the outside of the pressure vessel as they could become dangerous projectiles should the rocket explode.
- Pressure testing of all rocket pressure vessels should be preformed by filling the vessel completely with water before pressurizing the system. It is also recommended that a protection barrier be deployed to minimize projectiles being ejected from the testing area if a burst of the vessel occurs.
V. Reaction Mass Rules:
- Reaction Mass must be primarily ordinary tap water. Do not use substances that are harmful to the environment.
- Rockets should be launched from a stable launch device that is pointed to within 30 degrees of the vertical to ensure that the rocket flies nearly straight up.
- Launcher should be constructed using components which are rated for the planned launch pressure.
- Rocket must be completely remotely launched. Operators/Spectators are to stand back a minimum of 15 meters (50 feet) while rocket is pressurized and remote launched. Persons may be closer than this if they are behind an adequate shield, but touching or handling of the rocket is forbidden. (Activating cameras and deployment systems must be done prior to pressurization, launch triggered, or done remotely). A high pressure rocket can rupture and explode violently and cause severe injury.
- Safe Distance: Everyone should be kept at a safe distance from any pressurized rocket. The safe distance is 50 Feet (15 meters) flight crew members should maintain from a pressurized rocket. Add a minimum of 10 feet (3 meters) or more for spectators. Spectators should always stay behind flight crew members.
VII. Pressure Source:
- All valves, hoses, pipes and fittings from the pressure source to the launch pad shall be rated for the planned launch pressure.
- Rocket must be pressurized using atmospheric air only. Other Gasses, “Phase change” (steam rockets) and pyrotechnic pressurizations systems are not allowed.
- Use, storage, and transportation of compressed air tanks should be according to all applicable safety codes. The system in use should allow the rocket to be pressurized, depressurized (if necessary) and launched from the minimum safe distance as described above. If the rocket does not launch when triggered, DO NOT allow anyone to approach it until the rocket has been depressurized.
- Bottled air pressure source must be located at the minimum safe distance of 50 Feet (15 meters) from the launcher (this allows the bottle air pressure source to be safely controlled in the event of an emergency).
VIII. Flight Safety:
- Rockets should only be launched outdoors, in a clear open area with no obstacles such as trees or power lines.
- An audible countdown should be used before each launch.
- Rockets should be launched in safe weather conditions with wind speeds no greater than 15 miles per hour.
- Do not launch rockets into clouds or during foggy conditions where you or bystanders could lose sight of it.
- Do not attempt to recover any rocket from power lines, tall trees, rooftops or other dangerous places.
- Do not launch rockets at people or animals.
- Do not launch rockets over or near roadways or into the path of a vehicle.