LAUNCH INFORMATION

VAST Launches

 

Additional information for flyers and spectators may be found here: Flyers and Spectators.

 

General Launch Information

 

Valley AeroSpace Team (VAST) launches are open to the public and we encourage spectators to attend at no charge. If you’re new to the hobby and have a rocket, bring it along and we'll help you get it launched.

We are a chartered Prefecture of the Tripoli Rocketry Association (TRA) and a Section of the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) therefore our launches follow the safety codes of both organizations as applicable.

Membership with VAST or the national organizations is not a requirement to launch at most of our launches, but it is highly encouraged. If interested, VAST, TRA and NAR membership applications can be processed at any of our launches.

Level 1 and Level 2 High Power Certification attempts (both TRA and NAR) can be made at our launches provided advance notice is given. We need time to ensure we have the proper paperwork and the qualified certifying individual will be available. If no notice is given, we cannot guarantee your attempt will be permitted.

VAST has a porta-john available on-site for your convenience. There are also restrooms available in the town of Monterey (5 minutes away).

 

Launch Site

 

VAST is currently conducting all launches at its Jack Mountain Village (JMV) launch site near Monterey, Virginia (Highland County). Unlike most of the flat coastal, Midwest, and desert based launch sites, it is nestled at the base of the Appalachian Mountains. Due to the overall field size and bordering treelines at this location, dual-deployment is highly recommended for flights over 2,000 feet. The good news is that access to this site is excellent and it can be used year round. See the launch calendar on the main page of our web site for launch schedules.

Since VAST launches year round and we have such a diverse climate here in Virginia, please plan accordingly and wear appropriate clothing. Field surface conditions can vary from being muddy & wet to hard & dry so choose your footwear wisely.

Please be respectful of the landowner's property at all times. VAST is extremely fortunate with being allowed the use their land for our hobby and we want to avoid situations that could jeopardize the future use of this beautiful launch site.

 

Launch Fees & Format


At this time,VAST does not charge launch fees at its monthly launches. Since we are a not-for-profit organization and conduct many STEM related outreach programs for locations throughout Virginia, donations are accepted.

VAST holds monthly launches year round. Typically, our launches are held on the first weekend (both Saturday and Sunday) of each month. Occasionally, scheduling conflicts arise with the first weekend so later dates are chosen. You can check the main page of our website for the latest launch schedule.

Launches may be canceled or postponed due to inclement weather or field conditions. Scheduled range hours are also approximate and may change as the situation requires. Always check the launch status indicator on the main page of the VAST website (www.valleyaerospace.com) before heading to the site.

VAST launches are conducted using one of following formats, NAR Sport or Tripoli Research. A NAR Sport launch is an event where everyone is welcome to fly and only commercially produced motors are allowed to be used. VAST's Sport launches are typically held on Saturdays and are conducted following the NAR Model & High Power Safety Codes. Tripoli Research launches are typically held on Sundays and are slightly different in the fact that only kids and senior members of one of national organizations (TRA and/or NAR) are allowed to fly. Research launches are part of a program created by the TRA to help foster research and development of motors, electronics, recovery devices, construction materials, etc. among its members. Most of the advancements made in hobby rocketry have been a direct result of this program. Check VAST's launch calendar to see which format will be used.

Typically during the warmer months of the year, Night launches are held on Saturday evenings following the scheduled daytime launch. Usually a lot less flights take place, but seeing them at night is really an experience. Of course, all rockets are required to have their own illumination devices installed, so even after the spectacular motor burn that lights up the night sky, you’re still able to watch it drift safely back to the ground.

 

Launch Capabilities

 

The following launch equipment is available for use at VAST launches:

 

  • Model Rocket Launch Pads (A thru D motors) with 1/8”, 3/16” & 1/4” rods
  • Mid-Power Pads (E thru G motors) with 3/16" & 1/4” rods
  • High Power Pads (H+ motors / 25lbs. max.) with 1/4”, 3/8”, 1/2”, & 3/4” rods, 1010 & 1515 rail
  • Large High Power Pad (70lbs. max.) with 1515 & Uni-Strut rail.
  • Motorized Tower Pad (trailer) with 1515 & Uni-Strut rail (will handle practically anything).


If you require additional equipment, please contact us with your needs and/or bring it with you.

VAST currently has no Hybrid GSE so if that’s what you’d like to fly, you’ll need to supply your own.

Due to the field limitations, VAST will review all high power flights on a case by case basis. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with requests and/or additional information. VAST will make a decision once all appropriate information is received.

 

Launch Procedures


Register at the registration table. You will be asked to show your valid TRA or NAR card if you are flying high power (H+ impulse).

Fill out your flight card with the appropriate information. Flight cards are provided at the site or you can request a file to print and fill out beforehand. Requests for flight cards can be made to VAST.

Bring your rocket to the range tent and present it (without igniter installed on HPR rockets) to the RSO. He will inspect your rocket to identify any possible safety concerns. Once approved for flight, he will assign the pad.

Give your completed flight card to the LCO and when given the okay, take your rocket to the assigned pad, put it on the rod/rail, power on all electronics (if used), install the igniter, and attach the clips to the igniter leads.

Walk back to the flight line and wait for your flight to be announced and launched.

Once the LCO has declared the range open (or safe), retrieve your rocket.

Enjoy the rest of the launch!

 

Questions?


Feel free to contact VAST with any questions you may have. We welcome all questions and comments and will get back to you as soon as possible.