UKRA Model Rocket Safety Code

This short form safety code is intended for model and mid power rocket launches only (A to G power) and is usable by anyone wishing to fly rockets in a safe and responsible manner.

For High Power launches, please use the full version of the UKRA Safety Code which is available from UKRA via email (please see the UKRA Contact Page) for by following this link ---> Full UKRA Safety Code


UKRA Model Rocket Safety Code

1 - General Rules

  • 1.1 Safety

    Safety is the concern of all rocket flyers. Persons causing serious damage / injury to third parties, livestock, vehicles or property whilst involved in rocketry of any kind must report the incident in full to the Safety Officer and a representative of the rocket club or organisation.

  • 1.2 Payloads

    All rocket flyers undertake never to carry live animals or any payloads that are intended to be flammable, explosive, or harmful.

2 - Equipment

  • 2.1 The Rocket

    All rockets flown under this safety code shall be made of lightweight materials such as paper, wood, rubber or plastic. The range Safety Officer must be satisfied that the rocket is flight worthy and sufficiently robust to survive launch, aerodynamic, and recovery system loads. All rockets must use a recovery system that will return it safely to the ground so it may be flown again.

  • 2.2 Motors

    The rocket motor must only be used in the manner recommended by the manufacturer. It is not permissible to alter the motor, its parts or its ingredients in any way.

  • 2.3 Igniters

    The Safety Officer must be satisfied with the igniter system that is connected to the rocket motor. Wherever practical igniters should not be installed in a motor until at the launch pad.

  • 2.4 Weight & Power

    Any rocket must not have a mass greater than the manufacturer's recommended maximum lift-off mass for the motors used.

  • 2.5 Launch Controller

    The launch controller must include a safety key to immobilise the system when removed. This key should only be in place at the time of the launch and should be removed immediately after an ignition attempt, especially in the event of a misfire.

3 - The Launch Site

  • 3.1 Flying Site

    Launch sites should be a suitable open area for launching and recovering rockets. It is usual to gain the landowners permission before flying. The table of minimum flying site dimensions according to motor power can be found here. Further guidance on flying sites can be found in the full UKRA Safety Code.

  • 3.2 Safety Officer

    A Safety Officer should be familiar with the concepts and risks associated with model rocketry.
    The Safety Officer has authority over and above all other persons present at the launch site and has the power to delay or cancel any launch until satisfied that it can proceed safely.

  • 3.3 Personnel

    Only the flyer of the rocket may approach nearer the rocket than the minimum Safe Distance during or after igniter installation. Flyers may only approach nearer than the Safe Distance with the approval of the Safety Officer.

    • 3.3.1 Spectators

      All spectators / onlookers / press at a launch must be kept at least the minimum Safe Distance away from the launch area as determined by the total impulse of the rocket motor(s) according to the Safe Distance Table.

    • 3.3.2 Minders

      Any persons at the launch site who cannot watch the rocket, e.g. due to their monitoring of equipment must be protected; either by a physical safety barrier or by persons beside them who can watch the rocket and issue a warning or take protective action.

    • 3.3.3 Visual Rule

      All persons at the launch site should be aware of their own safety. It is good practice that for their own safety they should keep their eyes on the rocket from at least two seconds before launch until either the rocket lands or until visual contact is lost.

    • 3.3.4 Safe Distance Table

      All persons, except those required for the launch of a rocket should keep at least the given minimum distance from the rocket motor during and after igniter installation. The table of minimum safe distances can be found here.

  • 4 - Flying

  • 4.1 Launch Permission

    Before launching, the flyer must obtain the permission to launch from the range Safety Officer.

  • 4.2 Launching

    A clearly audible countdown of at least five seconds must be given, either by the launch person, the Safety Officer or any person recognised by all present as responsible for the countdown and authorised by the Safety Officer.

  • 4.3 Misfires

    If a rocket suffers a misfire, no one may approach the launch pad until waiting for one minute. After this time the Safety Officer should give permission for one person to approach the rocket.