rocket-01-june
Safety and the law

THIS DOCUMENT IS FOR GUIDANCE ONLY. THE DEFINITIVE STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS ARE CONTAINED IN THE DANGEROUS GOODS SAFETY (EXPLOSIVES) REGULATIONS 2007 AND APPLIED UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE DANGEROUS GOODS SAFETY ACT 2004.

PURPOSE

To explain the requirements relating to the safe use of model rockets in Western Australia.

SCOPE

These guidelines cover the licensing and safety requirements for the use of commercially available model rocket motors of Hazard Division 1.3 and 1.4. These guidelines do not apply to hybrid rockets.

REFERENCES

Dangerous Goods Safety Act 2004
Dangerous Goods Safety (Explosives) Regulations 2007
Air Services Regulations 1995
Australian Explosives Code Second Edition

DEFINITIONS

Approved: Approved by the Chief Officer.

Clearance distance: Distance from the point of launch to the public and buildings.

DOCEP: Department of Consumer and Employment Protection.

Hazard Division: United Nations Hazard Division classification as specified on rocket motor packaging by the manufacturer.

Hybrid rocket: A rocket propelled by mixing an oxidant and a fuel during operation.

NEQ: Net explosive quantity.

Dangerous goods security card: A card issued by DMP indicating a person has security
clearance as determined by the Commissioner of Police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation as prescribed in the Regulations.

P(SU)L: Pyrotechnics (Special Use) Licence endorsed for model rocketry.

Supervision: Means in the presence of a person who has authority to be in possession of model rocket motors according to Table 2.


REQUIREMENTS

1.0 Classification

1.1 Model rockets may be classified by the kind of motors that propel them. The pyrotechnic propellant used in commercial model rocket motors is either black powder or composite based.

1.2 DOCEP groups model rocket motors into three different types according to size as shown in Table 1.

Type of Motor
NEQ of Motor
Small Black powder motors <15 g
Medium Black powder motors > 15 g and composite motors <85 g
Large Composite motors > 85 g <325 g

Table 1 - Classification of rocket motors

2.0 Licensing

2.1 A P(SU)L is only required for the possession of large model rocket motors. The possession of medium rocket motors requires current membership in an approved rocketry club, and possession of small model rockets just requires adult supervision.

Rocket Motor
Type Licensing Requirement
Small Any person may purchase, possess and use small rocket motors provided that they are adults or under adult supervision.
Medium Any person can purchase, possess and use medium rocket motors provided that they are current members of an approved rocketry club.
Large Any person can purchase, possess and use large rocket motors provided that they have a current P(SU)L.

Table 2 - Requirements for the possession of model rocket motors

2.2 In order to obtain a P(SU)L for the use of large model rocket motors the applicant must be at least 18 years of age and:

· complete an application form entitled 'Application for a Pyrotechnics (Special Use) Licence' for model rocketry available from the DMP website;
· provide evidence of membership in an approved rocketry club;
· provide a current dangerous goods security card;
· provide two passport size photographs; and
· pay the prescribed licence fee which is stated in the Schedule of Fees available from the DOCEP website.

2.3 A P(SU)L requires renewal every three years, and the dangerous goods security card requires renewal every five years.

2.4 Members of an approved rocketry club who do not have a P(SU)L may only handle and use large model rocket motors under the direct supervision of a current P(SU)L licence holder. See Section 9.0 for full security requirements.

3.0 Use

3.1 The use of small model rockets requires adult supervision for minors and compliance with the following items.

3.1.1 Adherence to safety instructions issued by the manufacturer.

3.1.2 Adherence to safety instructions issued at the point of sale.

3.1.3 Adherence to the requirements of Section 4, 5, 6 and 7.

3.1.4 The landowner's permission at the launch site is required.

3.2 The use of medium rocket motors requires a minimum age of 18 years and compliance with the following items.

3.2.1 Current membership in an approved rocketry club.

3.2.2 Appropriate accreditation within an approved rocketry club if applicable.

3.2.3 Adherence to safety procedures issued by an approved rocketry club.

3.2.4 Adherence to the requirements of Sections 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

3.3 The use of large rocket motors requires a minimum age of 18 years and compliance with the following items.

3.3.1 Current P(SU)L and a current dangerous goods security card.

3.3.2 Current membership in an approved rocketry club.

3.3.3 Appropriate accreditation within an approved rocketry club if applicable.

3.3.4 Adherence to safety procedures issued by an approved rocketry club.

3.3.5 Adherence to the requirements of Sections 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

3.4 Medium and large model rockets may only be initiated at legitimate rocketry club gatherings.

4.0 Storage and Transport

4.1 The storage of model rocket motors and igniters requires compliance with the following items.

4.1.1 Authority to possess in accordance with Table 2.

4.1.2 Small model rocket motors may be kept in a wooden drawer and medium rocket motors should be kept in a wood or wood-lined box. Large rocket motors should be kept in a lockable wood or wood-lined box located in a building or shed that is not a dwelling.

4.1.3 A three metre separation from flammable liquids and ignition sources.

4.1.4 Adherence to safety procedures issued by the manufacturer.

4.1.5 A licence to store explosives is required for large model rocket motors in quantities above 15 kg NEQ for Hazard Division 1.3 motors, and 30 kg NEQ for Hazard Division 1.4.

4.2 The transport of medium and large model rocket motors and igniters requires a P(SU)L and compliance with the following items.

4.2.1 Authority to possess in accordance with Table 2.

4.2.2 Transport must comply with the Australian Explosives Code Second Edition.

4.2.3 A licence to transport explosives is required for quantities above 1,000 kg NEQ for Hazard Division 1.3 motors, there is no upper limit for Hazard Division 1.4 motors.

5.0 Rocket Construction

5.1 Model rockets are commercially available or they may be built from readily available materials. The following requirements apply when building model rockets.

5.1.1 Materials - model rockets must be made of lightweight materials such as paper, wood, rubber, and plastic suitable for the power used and the performance of the motor. Metal must not be used for the nose cone, body or fins.

5.1.2 Motors - only commercially available and certified model rocket motors of Hazard Division 1.3 or 1.4 can be used in the manner recommended by the manufacturer. The model rocket motor, its parts, or its ingredients must not be altered in any way.

5.1.3 Recovery system - always use a system that will return the model rocket safely to the ground. Only use flame resistant, biodegradable wadding if wadding is required.

5.1.4 Power limits - model rockets must be propelled by one motor. The maximum motor size allowed is 325.0 g.

5.1.5 Stability - determine the stability of the model rocket by established engineering principles.

5.1.6 Payloads - never carry live animals or a payload that is intended to be combustible, explosive or harmful.

6.0 Launch Procedures

6.1 The following requirements apply when launching model rockets.

6.1.1 Launch site - launch model rockets outdoors in cleared areas, free of tall trees, power lines, buildings, dry brush and grass. Clearance distances must meet the requirements of Table 3.

Motor Size
Clearance (m)
Motor Size
Clearance (m)
½ A 8 D 75
A 15 E/F/G 150
B
30 H 200
C 60 I 250

Table 3 - Clearance Distances for Model Rockets

6.1.2 Launcher - launch model rockets from stable launch devices that provide rigid guidance until the model rocket has reached a speed adequate to ensure a safe flight path. To prevent accidental eye injury, always place the launcher so the end of the rod is above eye level or cap the end of the rod when approaching it. The launcher should have a jet deflector device to prevent the motor exhaust from hitting the ground directly. Always clear the area around the launch device of brown grass, dry weeds, or other easy-to-burn materials.

6.1.3 Ignition systems - the system to launch medium and large model rockets must be remotely controlled and electrically operated. It should contain a launching switch that will return to 'OFF' when released and have a removable interlock. Only use electric igniters recommended by the manufacturer that will ignite model rocket motors within one second of actuation.

6.1.4 Launch safety - ensure that people in the launch area are aware of the pending model rocket launch before the audible five-second countdown commences. If the model rocket suffers a misfire, do not allow anyone to approach it until certain that the safety interlock has been removed or the battery has been disconnected from the ignition system. Wait one minute after a misfire before allowing anyone to approach the rocket.

6.1.5 Flying conditions - launch model rockets only when the wind is no more than 30 kilometres per hour. Do not launch model rockets so it flies into clouds, near aircraft in flight, or in a manner that is hazardous to people or property.

6.1.6 Launch angle - the launch device must be pointed within 30 degrees of the vertical. Never use model rocket motors to propel any device horizontally.

6.1.7 Recovery hazards - if a model rocket becomes entangled in a power line or other dangerous place, do not attempt to retrieve it.

7.0 Other Authorities

7.1 The Fire and Emergency Safety Authority (FESA) does not approve of rocket launches during the times prescribed below.

7.1.1 Times when the Bureau of Meteorology forecasts a Very High or Extreme Fire Danger.

7.1.2 Times when Total Fire Bans and Bush Fire Emergency Periods are declared, and Restricted Burning Times are as declared by the Chief Bush Fire Control Officer in local areas.

7.2 The Civil Air Safety Authority (CASA) imposes the following altitude restrictions for rocketry.

7.2.1 Model rockets must not be launched higher than 122 metres (400 feet) above ground level in controlled airspace, except in a CASA approved area or in accordance with air traffic control clearance.

7.2.2 Model rockets must not be launched higher than 122 metres above ground level within 5.6 kilometres (three nautical miles) of an aerodrome unless permission has been granted from either the air traffic control service for that aerodrome or CASA if the aerodrome does not have an air traffic control service.

7.2.3 Model rockets must not be launched in prohibited or restricted areas as prescribed by Air Services Regulations 1995 unless the authority controlling the area has granted permission.

7.2.4 Large model rockets must only be launched in CASA approved areas, and must only be launched subject to 24 hours notice being given to CASA.

8.0 Supply

8.1 Medium rocket motors and igniters must only be sold or supplied by a holder of a Licence to Supply Explosives to a person who is a current member of an approved rocketry club.

8.2 Large model rocket motors and igniters must only be sold or supplied by a holder of a Licence to Supply Explosives to a person having a current P(SU)L, and current membership in an approved rocketry club.

9.0 Security

9.1 Any person in possession of a medium model rocket motor must be a current member of an approved rocketry club, or under the direct supervision of such a person.

9.2 Any person in possession of a large model rocket motor must be the holder of a current P(SU)L, or under the direct supervision of such a person.

9.3 Unexplained loss, theft or attempted theft of medium and large model rocket motors and igniters must be reported to the Chief Officer as soon as practicable.

10.0 Further Information

10.1 Written application for an exemption from any requirement of this guidance note must be made to the Chief Officer.
10.2 Further advice and information may be obtained from the Duty Officer in the Dangerous Goods Safety Branch (Phone 9358 8000; Fax 9358 8002) or visit the DMP website.