Celtic Kane

For More Information…

I would strongly recommend that you check out Project I: A Successful Parachute — there you’ll find tons of information about parachutes and how to build one. However, in this project, I realized how heavy my nose cone was and I wasn’t really confident that I could build a parachute big enough that would accommodate the weight of my rocket. I didn’t really want to leave my rocket without a recovery system…so I decided to just make a 10-minute system that was creative and would slow my rocket down a little bit.


Basically there’s two parts to a recovery system — the part that slows down your rocket (ie – parachute, flare, etc.) and an elastic cord. The elastic cord connects your rocket and nose cone to the stuff that slows your rocket down.

How does the elastic connect to the rocket?

Well, I wasn’t really sure… On model rockets I kind of remmebered some type of glue or putty, but I didn’t really think either would work so I used man’s trusty standby: duct tape! If you look below you’ll see how my elastic cord is connected to the body tube, but basically I just took some duct tape on a long stick and did my best to stick it onto the tube — maybe 6-10 inches down the barrel.

Where’d you get that elastic cord?

Wal-mart in the sewing section — they’ve got all different widths of cord — I think my width is 3/8″. The wider your cord is, the more room it’ll take up but the more it will absorb shock.

Will string work?

Well, it might, but I wouldn’t recommend it. If you’re going the duct tape route, definitely use elastic cord. The elastic absorbs the shock of the nose cone falling off so that all the stress isn’t put on the connection between the cord and body tube. Definitely use shock cord of some type.

Can you describe your “creative” recovery system?

Well, there’s a picture below but it’s kind of hard to see. I have a main shock cord going from the nose cone to the body tube, and two long shock cords going across the main one (that are attached by duct tape). In the top right, I attached some plastic and made a few long slits in it. In the bottom right I did the same thing except I made many more slits that were just shorter than the other one. Finally, on the right I made a piece of plastic that’s connected in sort of a circle. There really is no mathematics with my system; I just tried to make the plastic so it would slow down the rocket as much as possible. I really have no idea how well the rocket will work, but if it doesn’t work I don’t want to spend a lot of time messing with a parachute.

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