Sort of a **one-stop-shop for model rocketry** theory, experiments, and data analysis for a high-school class, or an advanced middle-school class such as we have at the Las Cruces Academy:

Tsiolkovsky derived the equation for the final speed of a rocket in free space (no air drag) in 1903! I have a **derivation** here, plus an **elaboration** that goes on to consider air drag and gravity for a surface launch, and another one that looks at how a rocket **has to be designed** with propellant, payload, and basic infrastructure (the shell, we may say).

Our students at the **Las Cruces Academy** did rocket launches in the desert, measuring the altitude achieved with **geometric measurements**.

Some **pictures** are useful. Check out the link on the LCA News and Events page.

The **results** for altitude vs. rocket motor impulse are summarized in a spreadsheet. Altitude looks to be linear in impulse, in line with numerical **simulations** I performed. We had to be very careful with our measurements, btw, since **small errors** lead to big errors in altitude.

A sideline: **where does the kinetic energy go**, partitioned between exhaust gases and the rocket? At burnout for a serious rocket, there’s more in the gases than in the payload that’s left.