This policy is intended to implement the approved Tripoli Rocketry Association (TRA) Board "Motion for establishment of a Technical Advisor Panel for M, N and O total impulse class rockets". This policy will become part of the Tripoli Handbook and provides guidance to Tripoli Prefectures and individuals participating in High Power Rocketry (HPR).
The following text is part of the initial motion passed by the TRA Board and is included to indicate the rational for this policy.
- There have been concerns expressed regarding the propriety of metal rockets, flights over 20,000 feet, reliable recovery systems, pre-flight preparation of complex rockets, etc..
- High total impulse motors (specifically M, N and O), are becoming increasingly common at Tripoli sponsored events. There is concern that rockets using these high total impulse motors may not be designed or constructed using good engineering practice to assure safety and reliability.
- The Range Safety Officer at Tripoli sponsored launches has traditionally been responsible for checking rockets prior to launch approval. However, because of time constraints, the RSO can only judge the essential "look and feel" of a rocket. This does not allow judicious assessment of engineering details or safety features that may be required for high total impulse motors, complex rockets, high altitude flight and recovery.
- There are many Tripoli members that are involved in professional aerospace and engineering activities that would be capable of performing "design reviews" of high impulse rockets.
- Level 3 certification require the involvement of the TAP. Sign-off of the Certification documentation requires two TAP signatures. One of which must inspect the project in an advanced state of completion.
The following text is part of the initial motion passed by the TRA Board;
A Technical Advisor Panel (TAP) be established for the pre-flight review of rockets having high or total impulse in the M, N and O ranges. The TAP will have the following charter:
- Members of the Technical Advisory Panel shall be appointed by the TAP Chairperson to provide technical assistance and guidance to Tripoli Members desiring to design, construct and fly rockets having a high or total impulse in the M, N and O ranges and Certifying to Level 3.
- The members of the TAP shall be Tripoli Members that have appropriate engineering credentials or have proven their competency in the design, construction, pre-flight and recovery of high impulse rockets.
- Tripoli Members designing, building and planning to fly a rocket with a total impulse of M, N or O will voluntarily provide sketches, drawings, design details, materials lists, schematics, etc. to a TAP member for review and comment prior to the desired launch date.
- A TAP member shall review the information provided and provide timely, constructive comments and guidance to the builder. The TAP reviewer may also call upon others for specific expertise as required.
- Results of the TAP review may also be provided to a launch sponsor for their information and review by the Range Safety Officer (RSO).
- Prefectures or launch sponsors may highly recommend that high impulse rockets be reviewed by the TAP prior to submission to the RSO.
- The TAP shall also participate in efforts to educate Tripoli Members in the design, construction, pre-flight, recovery and post-flight analysis of high impulse rockets.
3.1 Appointment to the TAP
Prospective TAP members will be nominated to the TAP chairperson by the prefect of the applicants’ home prefecture. The prospective TAP member will provide a professional resume, and references from two current TAP members. Other documents and letters of recommendation will also be considered. The TAP chairperson will review all the submitted documentation and decide if the candidate should be submitted to the BoD for approval.
Upon approval, the TAP member names, and email addresses will be published in the Tripoli Report as well as the Tripoli web site.
TAP membership shall be open to review and may be on a rotational basis to allow more members to serve.
3.2 TAP Membership Criteria
Volunteers or nominees to the TAP must have extensive experience in HPR or related endeavors. Typical qualifications for a TAP member are:
- A TRA member.
- Participated as LCO, RSO or Pad Supervisor.
- An educator.
- Have had successful attained level III certification.
- Have experience in engineering, education or fields technically related to HPR.
- Be capable of relating their knowledge to others.
- Be willing to assist others.
- Commit to deadlines.
- Be aware of, and follow all local, national and TRA HPR rules.
3.3 Submission of Plans to TAP
TRA members designing or preparing to fly M, N and O or complex rockets should present details of their design to a TAP member of their choice. Preferably, the TAP Member should be in the Prefect where the anticipated launch will take place. In general, the following information will be needed by the TAP member for objectively assessing the rocket:
- A completely filled out Pre-Flight Data Capture form.
- Drawings of the rocket showing airframe components, fins, bulkheads, longerons, adhesive joints, recovery system components, payloads, etc.
- A parts listing that includes material descriptions, adhesive types, screw sizes gauges, thickness’, etc.
- Schematics of recovery system electronics that show batteries, circuit designs, wiring diagrams, etc.
- At least one photograph of the builder working on the project.
- Pre-flight checklist describing field assembly of the rocket, motor installation, recovery system preparation, launcher installation, system arming, etc.
These items should be neatly drawn, and, if possible, lists typed. The primary preparation criteria is that drawings and lists are neat and legible. All items will be returned to the submitter if desired. A self-addressed envelope will assist the TAP member with returns.
3.4 TAP Review
Upon receipt of a TRA members rocket documentation package, the TAP member shall review the contents in a timely fashion. The TAP member must objectively assess the design of the rocket with a view toward it being prepared, launched and recovered successfully. The TAP Member may elect to relay the design detail to another TAP member if they cannot accomplish the review in a timely fashion. A TAP member may also contact other TAP members for assistance with specialties such as electronics, aerodynamics, etc. Comments regarding any of the elements design or operation should be discussed with the submitter, either by phone or by written comment. Comments should be constructive and be possible to implement. It is important for the TAP member to be sensitive to the skills and capabilities of the member.
If in the opinion of the TAP Member, that the design is deficient, the TAP Member may contact the submitter and indicate where the fault exists. It is important that this be communicated to the submitter as objectively as possible. The information that the TAP Member should provide includes a description of the deficiency and a proposed corrective action. It is the responsibility of the submitter to provide evidence of corrective action to the TAP Member. Ideally, this can be accomplished at the launch prior to submission to the RSO.
3.5 Launch Sponsor Information
Members of the TAP may provide information regarding a design to a launch organizer. The information can be of a positive or negative nature. If the TAP member determines that a design is sound, a note may be directed to the organizer with a positive recommendation.
If a TAP member feels a design is deficient, that information may be passed on to the launch organizer. Information should include a the name of the submitter, details of the proposed rocket and whatever corrective actions were proposed. The launch organizer may or may not elect to use the TAP information for approval of the rocket for launch.
3.6 Launch Sponsor Requirements
For national launches, a launch organizer may strongly recommend TAP review of complex or high total impulse rockets. This requirement should be made clear in any advertising material for the launch along with a list of local TAP Members available for reviewing submissions. The launch organizer should also commit to assuring that TAP member will be available for on-site reviews at the launch.
3.7 TAP Education Services
TAP Members may also be called upon to provide training, workshops, and advice. These services may be applied to Tripoli Members, educators, school groups, and social organizations. The services may include design information, construction techniques, pre-flight activities, recovery techniques, post-flight analysis, etc. Essentially, the TAP provides the core for HPR education.