The Tripoli Rocketry Association (Rocket Motor)

By 1991 a well organized group called the “Tripoli Rocketry Association” had taken over activities at Lucerne. When I drove out to photograph one of their events in October of that year. I found more than 600 people in attendance. By the Summer of 1992 there were more than 1.000. Launches sponsored by Tripoli carry liability insurance, and therefore, as of this writing, only safety-certified commercially manufactured motors can be flown. Tripoli does not. however, censure its members for making homemade rocket motors. It simply requires them to do it on their own time, and avoid bringing them to officially sponsored events.
Chuck Rogers, a professional rocket engineer and one of Tripoli’s past presidents, has told me that Tripoli’s current membership stands at about 2.200. He says that, according to a recent poll, more than 500 members have expressed an interest in building and flying homemade rocket motors, and he guesses that somewhere between 100 and 200 are actively doing so. As a result. Tripoli’s leaders are just now beginning to explore ways in which individual members might someday be able to safety-certify their homemade motors, and fly them at officially- sponsored events.
The Tripoli Rocketry Association is organized into “prefectures”, and there are currently more than 100 scattered throughout the U.S.. Canada. Europe, and Australia. Tripoli was founded in 1964 by a group of high school students, but in the past 30 years it has undergone many changes. It is currently open to people of any age. The average member is 32 years old. and often has children of his own. Many members involve their entire families, and often combine a rocket launch with a weekend of camping. I won’t provide an address or a phone number because the leadership is handled partly by volunteers and partly by elected officials whose addresses and phone numbers are constantly changing.

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