What Are The Model Rocket Certification Levels?

space rocket cartoon

Launching model rockets can be a fun pastime, as your knowledge and confidence grow you will want to move from the small beginner rockets to bigger and more powerful rockets that fly higher and these rockets can be as tall as a person.

The thing about going from beginner rockets to larger and more powerful rockets is that you need to complete a 3-tier certification program. Each tier completed will allow you to purchase more powerful rockets and launch them.

In this post, we will go through what are the model rocket certification levels. Let’s get started!

What Is A High-Power Certification?

Simply, high-power rockets have performance and physical properties that exceed the various limitations of traditional model rockets. You cannot simply buy a high-power rocket or high-power motor from an average hobby store.

They can be purchased or ordered online from certified modelers. HPR (high power rocket) certification is a requirement to buy and use these rockets and motors.

This certification is offered by the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) and it permits individuals to purchase and use high-power rockets.


What Are the Model Rocket Certification Levels?

The National Association of Rocketry offers a 3-tier certification program for individuals who want to buy and use high-power rockets. Memberships in the NAR allow you to apply for High-Power Rocketry Certification and it is free to all adult members.

There are three progressive levels of certifications for high power rocketry. These include level 1, level 2, and level 3. Each of these certifications has its own specific prerequisites and objectives.

Level 1 HPR Certification

Level 1 HPR Certification lets you buy and use motors in the I and H impulse class. These motors can either be solid or hybrid. Certain G and F motors require Level 1 HPR certification to purchase.

This includes motors containing 125 or more grams of propellant, motors that exceed 80 Newton’s average thrust. Motors designed to emit sparks, hybrid motors, or motors used in rockets weighing over 1500 grams.

A Level 1 rocket must feature a standard rocket design as well as a center of pressure that can be visually identified. It can be either built from scratch or a kit. Another requirement is the standard parachute recovery.

Apart from this, the flight must be with a single I or H motor. Electronics are not required.

Level 2 HPR Certification

Level 2 HPR Certification lets you buy and use motors in the J, K, and L impulse classes. They can either be solid or hybrid.

To receive the level 2 certification, the rocket’s body must meet the same requirements as a Level 1 HPR certification and it must be built by the flyer.

Furthermore, passing a written test is also a requirement. A parachute is required, however, if it’s a multi-event recovery, then the first event may use a drag system without a parachute.

parachute model rocket

Level 3 HPR Certification

Level 3 HPR Certification lets you buy and use rocket motors in the M, N, and O impulse classes. These motors can either be solid or hybrid. The structural requirements of Level 3 rockets are the same as Level 2 but there are some additional prerequisites as well.

The rocket is required to be inspected by two members of the Technical Advisory Panel before launch. Regards the requirements, you will need for the recovery procedure for Level 3 are also mostly the same as Level 2 but the procedure must contain two separate electronics, with one being the deployment system.

The motor must be a single M or larger. Level 3 rockets must be presented and inspected for excessive damage, just like Level 1 and Level 2 rockets.

Final Thoughts​

Getting the high-power certification is important if you want to start using larger and more powerful rockets. This lets you develop the skills to handle the more powerful rockets.

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Model Rocket Certification Levels

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