Issues with Incorrect Assembly of Aerotech RAS Hardware

Two incidents, one potentially serious, occurred at the July 20 ROC launch due to flyers improperly assembling Aerotech Reload Adapter System hardware.

In the more serious incident, a rocket was launched with an improperly assembled motor. The rocket took a very long time to come up to pressure, and during this time sat smoldering on the pad. It then did pressurize and had a far less than adequate flight profile. After the flight it was determined that the RAS was assembled incorrectly, causing the fight problems and causing damage to the hardware.

The motor had been assembled with the spacer at the bottom of the motor against the nozzle. The spacer(s) should always be installed between the floating forward closure and the matching forward closure ring. The spacer is not designed or constructed to withstand the heat of combustion, and should never be in or as part of the motor combustion chamber.

In a second incident, an inexperienced flyer had incorrectly assembled a motor, receive incorrect advice resulting in reassembling the motor in a different wrong configuration, before finally getting the correct information and completing a successful Level 1 certification flight with the motor correctly assembled.

Incorrect assembly can cause unsafe flight profiles that may result in injury. In one incident today the incorrect assembly only resulted in hardware damage, and the second was recognized and corrected before flight.

Equally, perhaps more important, when giving advice on how to use rocketry hardware it is essential that the advice be based on following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Cesaroni hardware using spacers must also be assembled following the manufacturer’s instruction. Only the correct combination of spacers may be used, and the spacer(s) must be forward in the casing, ahead of the reload.

There are links below to the Aerotech instructions. The RAS is a great hardware system and increase the versatility of motor casings, but must be used correctly and safely!

Aerotech Instructions Page:

29mm RAS Instructions

38mm RAS Instructions

54mm RAS Instructions

75mm RAS Instructions