The FAQ! Part Two



This FAQ is not intended to be a complete course in rocketry. It covers some basics and has pointers to further information but from there, it's up to the reader. If there are any errors or if you know of something that really should be included, please email it to Ray.

BOOKS And Where to Get Them

"Rocket Propulsion Elements, 6th ed"
Sutton, G.P., 636 pages
1992, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
ISBN 0-471-52938-9
The bible of amateur rocketry. It covers all the theory of rocket propulsion, including liquid, solid and hybrid, with formulas. Not for the math-shy, but then what did you expect? Pricey but essential reading if you're serious about building rockets.

"Rocket Propulsion Elements, 7th Edition"
by George P. Sutton
2000, Wiley-Interscience
ISBN: 0-471-32642-9
The bible of amateur rocketry updated.


"Modern Engineering for Design of Liquid-Propellant Rocket Engines"
Dieter Huzel and David Huang, 431 pages
1992, AIAA, Inc.
ISBN 1-56347-013-6
Written by folks who know rocket engines, this book has just about everything you need to know about liquid rockets. It covers engine design, pressure fed and turbopump propellant systems, engine control and monitoring, propellant tanks, interconnecting components and system integration. It has diagrams galore and lots real-world examples. Highly recommended.

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"Orbital Mechanics"
John Prussing and Bruce Conway, 194 pages
1993, Oxford
ISBN 0-19-507834-9
A solid introduction to the mathematics necessary to calculate orbits.


"Composite Basics, 4th ed"
Andrew Marshall, 150 pages
It covers the different fabrics and resins available, construction techniques, analysis and testing. Available from Fibre Glast.

"Cryogenic Engineering"
Russel B. Scott, 368 pages
1988 Met-Chem Research
ISBN 0-931913-10-1
It covers the basic science of cryogenics, as well as practical handling and engineering issues. It is a bit dated, however.

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Robert Goddard, 128 pages
ISBN: 0486425371
This book is comprised of two papers written by Robert Goddard for the Smithsonian Institution: "A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes" and "Liquid Propellant Rocket Development."

Help support aRocket with your book purchases from amazon.

"Introduction to Space Dynamics"
William Tyrrell Thomson, 352 pages
ISBN: 0486651134


"Plastic Resin Bonded Rocket Fuel Systems Composite Motor Construction"
Gary Purrington
It is available from Firefox Enterprises

"Fundamentals of Astrodynamics"
Roger Bate et al, 455 pages
ISBN: 0486600610


"Experimental Composite Propellant"
Terry McCreery, Ph. D.
It is available from

"How to Make Amateur Rockets 2nd Ed."
John Wickman
CP Technologies


Almost any good bookstore will be able to order you any technical book that's still in print. However, you will likely pay full price. The following are some Internet sources that offer various discounts.

Amazon Books "World's Largest Bookstore" They offer an amazing selection of all kinds of books, but the discounts are generally only enough to pay for shipping. If you order through the links on this site you will be helping to keep aRocket up and running.

In Association with

Rocketry.Org Book Store
The Rocketry.Org book store, through an arrangement with Barnes & Noble (the webmaster's favorite book store), has a good selection of experimental rocketry related texts available for purchase online for your convenience.

OPAMP Technical Books A good source for rocketry and engineering books.

Powell's The largest (physical) bookstore in North America, they have a good selection of new and used technical books. The used ones are often less than half the cost of new.

Microcosm Bookstore Great selection of astronautical books with discounts for purchasing multiple books.


"How to Design, Build, and Test Small Liquid-Fuel Rocket Engines" This is a book that has been scanned from the original 1967 hardcopy,now out of print. It's a good introduction to the nuts and bolts of rocket engine design and construction, but it is a bit limited in that it only deals with building a test stand motor, not flight-quality hardware. It's also a bit dated (the list of suppliers is reportedly of little use,) but you can't beat the price. It is available as PDF from

NASA Preferred Reliability Practices

Guidelines for Current Mechanical Design and Analysis (in Flight Systems, Systems Engineering Competency, NASA LaRC)

Goddard Space Flight Center General Environmental Verification Specification (GEVS) for STS and ELV Payloads, Subsystems, and Components, Revision A

American Fireworks News
HC67 - Box 30
Dingmans Ferry, PA 18328-9506
Phone: (570) 828-8417
Fax: (570) 828-8695
Monthly publication for the fireworks enthusiast.

Journal of Pyrotechnics
1775 Blair Road
Whitewater, CO 81527
Phone: (970) 245-0692
Semi-annual publication on pyrotechnics with some info on solid rockets.


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