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TCC NAR Competition Primer:  USMRSC Rule 63, Research and Development (R&D)


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This primer presents, in one place, all the information you need to succeed in NAR model competition in this event.

TCC has provided a link to the official rules whenever we discuss a rule.


All Entries

Your entry must:

* Comply with the NAR Model Rocket Safety Code: USMRSC 2.2

* Be a model rocket as described by the United States Model Rocket Sporting Code. USMRSC 3.1-3.9

* Use NAR Contest Approved motors: USMRSC 4.1, 4.4

* NOT eject its motor casing(s) without a recovery system. USMRSC 9.2

* Have your NAR number or your name on the outside, large and clear enough that the contest officials can easily read it. Teams must use the Team number or name. USMRSC 9.4

* Have been constructed by yourself or by one or more members of your Team. You may not enter Ready-To-Fly rockets (no construction required) in NAR sanctioned competition. USMRSC 9.9


Know the rules

Your having a grasp of the bigger picture can increase your enjoyment of NAR competition. You can read the Pink Book Lite to see only the rules for competitors, not for Contest Directors or other contest officials. Read the full USMRSC (Pink Book) to see all the rules.

* Pink Book Lite:

* Full USMRSC:


General Competition Tips:

TCC NAR Competition 101

TCC NAR Competition Strategy and Tactics

Contest Etiquette by Kevin Paul Wickart, NAR 59720, cr 1998, the author

Beginning Competition -- The RSVP Principle by Kevin Paul Wickart, NAR 59720, cr 1998, the author

Guide to NAR Contest Rocketry Information for Beginners by Jeff Vincent, NAR 27910, Northeast Regional Contest Chair


Which are the Main USMRSC Rules for This Event?

* The main rules are 9, and 63.


What is the Goal?

* The purpose of this competition is to stimulate new concepts, approaches, and ideas in (1) advancing the state-of-the-art of model rocketry, or (2) using model rocketry as a research tool. USMRSC 63.1


Are There Any Special Considerations?

* R&D is unlike any other NAR competition event. It’s closer to a Science Fair project.

* All of the NAR Safety Code and USMRSC rules apply. USMRSC 63.10

* Projects previously entered in a meet with a contest factor greater than or equal to the current meet may not be accepted as an entry unless the contestant has demonstrated that significant new work has been done. USMRSC 63.1

* This competition may not be conducted by proxy, unless the Contest Director rules that special circumstances, such as illness, warrant special consideration. USMRSC 63.3

* Each entry must be accompanied by three copies of a written report, stating in detail: USMRSC 63.5

- The objectives of the work

- The approach taken

- List of any related R&D reports previously entered by the author, if any, with brief summaries

- References to previous work done on the subject, found in research preparatory to this report

- The equipment used

- The facilities used

- The money spent on the project (budget)

- The data collected

- The results obtained

- The conclusions drawn

- Further work that would clarify or extend the results obtained


Note that every report must have these elements in some form to be considered a qualified entry. If the report concerns a book, data compilation, project design, etc., the above elements regarding its development are required.

* You may be required to make an oral presentation or demonstrate your project. USMRSC 63.7, USMRSC 63.8, USMRSC 63.9


Do I Have to Return My Entry?

* NO. However, the Contest Director can require that you return your entry. USMRSC 9.10


How Many Flights Can I Make?

* Your project does not have to be a flying model rocket. See the links under What Else & What Next? for examples.


How is the Competition Scored?

* Research and Development competition shall be scored as follows: the top four places will be awarded sequentially descending from first place (1-2-3-4) on the basis of the quality of the projects submitted, and their new contributions to the hobby or its applications. All places need not be awarded, but winning entries must occupy first (through second, third, or fourth) place without skipping places. In the event of a tie, both entries will be awarded their place as if the other did not exist, i.e., 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd awarded for the top four places in case of a tie for second. Entries that, in the opinion of the judges, were entered solely to qualify in the event and which offer little or not quality value may be disqualified at the discretion of the judges, and if disqualified shall not be awarded flight points for the event. USMRSC 63.12


What Will Disqualify My Entry?

* Your entry will be disqualified if it spins or loops and does not fly straight. USMRSC 9.3

* Your entry may be disqualified if, in the opinion of the contest officials, it does not comply with the competition rules or is unsafe in operation. USMRSC 11.1, 11.2


How About Some Suggestions for New Competitors?

Read the article by Joyce Ann Guzik, NAR 37191 at


Check this R&D database to see projects that other NAR members have submitted.


Use computer simulations to determine altitude and sink rate for various rocket/motor/parachute combinations.

Free altitude simulation:

Free sink rate simulation (and others):


What Else & What Next?

Read George Gassaway’s excellent R&D page:


TCC NAR Competition Bibliography


Yahoo group for discussing model rocket competition:


US Spacemodeling (International Competition Tips):


US Spacemodeling Home Page (International Competition):


George Gassaway’s NARAM Tips:


rmr Frequently Asked Questions – Part 9: Competition and Records:



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