High-Powered Rocketry in the New York Times

The New York Times had one of those obligatory “oh those loveable geeks and their really big rockets” stories that show up in each major daily every few years. The piece includes some of the usual suspects, including “Rocketman,” Ky Michaelson, the guy I profiled in MAKE Vol 5.

The article does talk about how, post-911, high-powered rocketry has run afoul of the Feds because the “ammonium perchlorate composite” (APC) used in rocket motors is considered an explosive now (even though it doesn’t actually explode, it “deflagrates.” Think: road flare). High-powered rocket enthusiasts are afraid that requiring low-explosives permits, which require background checks, will hamper the growth of the hobby. As Ken Good, president of the Tripoli Rocketry Association, puts it in the piece: “If I was an 18-year-old and told my mom I needed a low explosives permit and that an A.T.F. agent would come to my house, she’d say, Why don’t you just continue with your guitar lessons?”

You can view the ATF lawsuit documents on Tripoli’s site (Tripoli and the venerable NAR (National Association of Rocketry) have filed a Civil Action suit against the ATF).

Thanks, Kate!