Rocketry Club Tips
Sharing the Passion
Many people are fascinated by rockets, space and astronomy.
The key to our rocket club's growth over the last last 12 years has been sharing our members passion with rocketry with the public via Facebook, website and our annual public launch day.
NZRA had been running an annual public launch day known as "National Launch Day" or "Rocket Day" for many years. Since 2001 attendance at our public launches has increased from 170 to over 700. The small fee for entry has contributed significantly towards our insurance and equipment costs allowing us to keep low power membership at NZ$ 25.
In July 2009 our Facebook page was setup with a handful of enthusiastic members who shared their passion for rocketry posting launch reports, re-posting significant overseas rocketry and spaceflight photos, videos and articles of interest. Our Facebook group membership is now close to 1,000 members. The Facebook site links visitors to our website.
During the last 18 months Google sites has allowed us to rapidly build and modify pages without any technical website expertise. The site includes membership subscriptions, event and apparel sales using simple Paypal buttons with no monthly running fees.
Google Sites allows a non technical person to easily build a content rich website that runs beautifully on desktop and mobile. You simply insert photos, images and text into blocks and Google sites looks after the rest displaying your content appropriate to the device. To the left are some statistics from our website Google Analytics over the last 9 months.
Do you have people contacting your club who are keen to join but never quite get to the point of signing up and building a rocket ? We discovered that the issue for many was that they had never experienced the preparation, launch and recovery process or they did not know how to to 'get started'. We decided to give them a chance to buddy up with a club member to fly a 'club loan rocket'. The visitor purchases an H or I motor and the club member gives them a lesson in preparation, safety, launch and recovery. Our loan rocket was donated one member and refurbished by another and has a Easy Mini altimeter donated by Altus Metrum. The loan Patriot has been a real asset for the club with all of the people taking trial flights joining the club and building their own rocket.
Quick Build Rockets
Another observation from membership enquiries was that unless the person was from a model building or hobbyist background they found the prospect of building, filleting, sanding and painting a rocket kit daunting and were wary of the fact that kits required more parts than were included in the kit. The solution involved a number of factors.
Finding a 'starter' high power rocket that flew on low power H, I and J motors and was strong enough to handle repeated launching and included hardware, shock cords and parachute.
Removing the need for sanding and spray painting multiple coats by replacing paint with vinyl covering.
The fin can motor block invention that removed the need for 16 internal and 8 external fillets and stiffened the fin can sufficiently to fly J motors without tip to tip fiber-glassing of the fins.
The resulting Quick Build Patriot Build Page is currently detailed on our members only website and is due to be moved to our public site.
Paypal have made the management of club memberships simple and increased membership revenue by providing convenient membership subscriptions that people can sign up to and auto renew each year. This makes the membership secretary's job a lot simpler and simplifies membership for long term members.