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Rocket launch

Photograph by Steve Jurvetson (Flickr) - License CC by 2.0

Rockets are not the first platform a photographer normally considers using for aerial photography. The photographs obtained in most cases are quite limited in scope but of course also very unusual. A huge amount of time must be devoted to the development of a suitable rocket, and the resulting vehicle can be fired only in a suitably remote region. Much of this amateur rocket work is currently undertaken in the US, but there are many local clubs around the world including at least 25 in the UK.

Rockets are divided in to various rather poorly defined categories including model rockets, large model rockets, high-powered rockets and experimental rockets. All these categories might be described as "amateur rockets" although in some case the vehicles have acquired a size, weight and sophistication that seems to contradict the name.

Launching rockets of any size and weight is a potentially hazardous activity, not only for those involved but also for people, property and aircraft in the surrounding area. Relevant laws and restrictions exist in each country, state of particular area, and it is not the intention of this article to provide a summary of these. however, it is clearly important to understand the relevant restrictions and to abide by the associated provisions. Organized launch sites are available in countries where amateur rocketry is popular. In the US there are frequently used launch sites in several states.

Photograph by Steve Jurvetson (Flickr) -- License CC by 2.0

The best way to get started in this field is to build a standard model rocket and fire it in conjunction with a local rocketry club. If you intend to progress to amateur or high-powered rockets, the club environment becomes an essential. It provides assistance with tasks that require many hands, and an environment where appropriate experience and expertise can be shared.

A great deal of information on rocketry is available at the Info Central website.

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