The following information is provided here both for historical record, as well as to provide an overview of all Associatons/groups that have something to do with rocketry in South Africa.

Although historically, South Africa has never enjoyed a "National Awareness" of Rocketry, enthuisiasts throughout the country continue to engage in various areas of Rocketry

Since the late 80's there have been a number of individuals, groups, clubs and associations that have promoted rocketry in South Africa and these include:


"ROCKETRY SA" was first proposed as the new Official Name by Members during the Annual General Meeting of 2016 , and subsequently approved by the EXCO in early 2017. Due to concerns over wastage of marketing resources carrying the SAASA name/logo (printed flyers, banners, etc), it was decided that the use of the name SAASA would be maintained in the interim, but would be fully phased out by December 2017.

  • SAASA (SOUTH AFRICA AMATEUR SPACE ASSOCIATION) was originally established to address the increasing restrictions and requirements from the SA Authorities related to the manufacture, storage, sale and the use of non-certified rocket motors.

    While the organiztion is technically still operating under the name of SAASA, the Organization officially adopted the name of "ROCKETRY SA" since 2015 following an overwhelming vote from members in favour of adopting the name "Rocketry SA" during a special vote held during the Annual General Meeting.
  • Historic Note:
    Due to an increasing number of Amateur Projects ending in smoke, and an unmanged tollerance for all sorts of untested, un-scientific and dangerous rocketry experiments by Amateur rocketeers, people started to question the integrity and future of the prevailing SA Rocketry Association. 

    It therefore came as no surprise that a growing number of SA Amateur rocketeers started to acknowledge and promote the value of comercial certified motors, with the subsequent split of the "RASA" and "SARA" memberships.
  • Thus, established in 2003, in the absence of direction and leadership in the area of non-amateur/non-experimental High Power Rocketry, SAASA became the First High Power Rocketry Association/Organization to offer Rocketry Certification in South Africa.
  • SAASA is the only South African based Association/Organization with a membership component exceeding 50 members
  • SAASA actively Promotes rocketry as a Safe and Enjoyable Hobby / Sport
  • SAASA promotes and accommodtes research/experimental Rocketry (within the context and constraints of the laws and regulations of South Africa)
  • SAASA has an established certification process, with certification now in line with international standards and best practices.
  • SAASA promotes Rocketry as an Educational Tool in that is a great way to learn about science, mathematics, aerodynamics, engineering and electronics, while having fun at it.
  • SAASA has established itself as the Leading Rocketry Association in South Africa, incorporating Model Rocketry, High Power Rocketry, Sport Rocketry as well as Amateur Rocketry.
  • SAASA promotes the development of essential engineering and life-skills, and provides modern online course material that will equip and engage enthusiasts, learners,and practitioners with a structured approach to knowledge/information on the theory and practice of rocketry, including history, construction, physics, aerodynamics, propellant chemistry, guidance systems, thermodynamics, electronics as well as other key areas. SAASA welcomes all inquiries.

The original Safety Standards and Codes where (gratefully) based on those of New Zealand, but were subsequently re-written to comply with South African Regulations as well to bring the Codes in line with the Tripoli and NAR Codes.


SA Experimental Sounding Rocket Association

The SA Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (SA - ESRA) was established in 1984

The primary focuss of the group has been to develop a Sounding Rocket and to promote Scientific Research

The Association focused on Sounding Rockets with a 50 000ft target.

The Association claims to have reached altitudes in excess of 28 000ft

The Association loosely adopted International Amateur RocketrySafety Codes

SA Experimental Sounding Rocket Association is now fully incorporated under SAASA


Rocketry Association of SA

The Rocketry Association of South Africa was established in 1984, following a break-away from the SA Model Rocketry Association.

Members refered to themselves as the "South Africa Rocketry Association, whith the abbreviation RASA
(not to be confused with the other RASA that only came into existence in the late 90's)

Due to the fact that the The Model Rocketry Association refused to allow non-certified rocket motors at their launches, there was a lot of tension within the association, with a growing number of member advocating and promoting the idea of manufacturing and promoting Model and High Power Rocketry using locally non-certified manufactured rocket motors and components.

Members of the Association obtained a limited manufacturing permit, and with the help of a pyrotechnics engineer and pharmacist proceeded to manufacture a limited number of model rocket motors that looked and performed similiar to Estes Motors.

The Rocketry Association of South Africa was the first (known) rocketry Association in South Africa to try and setup a Motor testing and certification service similiar to what the NAR and Tripoli had implemented. The testing of the locally manufactured motors was a requirement of the limited explosive manufacturing permit the members had obtained- although a recent enquiry produced no evidence of any localy-manufactured approved motors (this may well be due to poor archiving of historic documents)

The Association was active up until around 1991, then disapeared from the public eye. The Association contiinued to circulate their quarterly newsletter up to mid 1996. In the last issue of the newsletter, the editor wrote:  "We would like to thank all our loyal members, rocketry friends and fellow dreamers for the support during the last couple of years. Sadly due to the fact that we have been unable to secure our explosive manufacturing permit from the Police, we have been forced to terminate our manufacturing and supply of motors and igniters.. The Association will continue to support its members, but we realize without a secure supply of motors, the Association and indeed the hobby of rocketry is at risk of fading into the mist of history.."

Members of the Association however continued to meet from time to time with irregular launches held up until 2004.

The Rocketry Association of South Africa originally adopted the International NAR Model Rocketry Safety Codes

Rocketry Association of SA is now fully incorporated under ROCKETRY SA



The South African Rocketry Association (SARA) was unofficaly formed in the late 90's,
followed by a period of "free-to-do-as-you-please" experimentation (resulting in a split of the membership) in early 2003.

Since 2003, the group re-focussed their research efforts, which ultimately resulted in a positive turn-around

The group focuses on Amateur Rocketry and have a vision of "reaching an altitude of 100km"

While it is known that the group conducted some research on Liquid Motors prior to 2010,
The group is now (2014/2015) dedicated to the research of mainly Hybrid Motors.

The group comprises of 5 -15 Members

A brief Timeline of SARA:

  • 2004: Development of a rocket kit, using a G-Class sugar based propellant. approximately 150 units were manufactured
  • 2004: Development and presentation of a rocketry course in association with Anglo Platinum
  • 2005: Development and production of a H-Class Hybrid Rocket Motor
  • 2006: In association with Sci Bono, presented a rocketry course for under privileged students including building and flying their own small rockets (ran course 3 times yearly until 2009)
  • Interim:  Continued research into the design and testing of a Hybrid Rocket Motor
                 Development of a fuel which increased the ISP of the hybrid motors dramatically
                 Design and building of an O-Class motor
                 Design and manufacture an injector system
  • 2008: Launched and flew the Vulcan rocket to an altitude of approximately 10 km
  • 2009: Built and test-fired a P class rocket motor with intention to reach 20 000 m
  • 2010-2012: SARA is in-active as an association, however, members continue to meet and develop informally
  • 2013 After a period of inactivity, the Group launches their Vulcan hybrid Rocket to an altitude of 9500m
  • 2014 The Group continues research into the use of alternative Fuels
  • 2015 The group is working on a new Ejection System for use in their hybrid test motor. 

Although there is no evidence of published rules and regulations, it is most likely that these are based on the USA HPR codes

The Group continues to play an important role in keeping Amateur Rocketry alive in South Africa


Amateur Rocketry Association of SA (ARASA)

The Amateur Rocketry Association of SA (ARASA) was founded in 1992

ARASA's main goal was the research and development of Amateur / Experimental Rocket Motors and alternative fuels

Membership in the club was limited to a hanfull of rocketeers who shared a passion for engineering and science.

Although the group only met every other month, they successfully developed, built, launched and safley recovered a number of hybrid motors, the designs of which have been passed onto the SA Experimental Sounding Rocket group.

The group mainly experimented with zink-sulfur (ZS), Hydrogen/Oxygen hybrids and later on APCP propellants.

The group was terminated mid 1996, and all further research and development officially halted after the group failed to obtain the necessary permits/licenses required for "explosive manufacturing" and/or approval from the SAPS.

The Association adopted the SAASA codes, which are based on International Amateur Rocketry Safety Codes

ARASA is fully incorporated under SAASA


HPR Rocketry Association

Established in 2003 with the intention of Promoting High Power Rocketry in South Africa.

The HPR Rocketry Association actively and regularly conducted launches.

The HPR group based their initial Safety Standards and Codes of that of New Zealand

The HPR Rocketry Association is now fully incorporated under SAASA


SA Model Rocketry Association (SAMRA)

The SA Model Rocketry Association (SAMRA) was established in 1978 with a focuss on the Promotion of Model Rocketry

The Model Rocketry Association of South Africa was the first Rocketry Association in South Africa.

The Association published a regular (quarterly) newsletter.

At its peak, the Association had a membership component of around 2400 members.

The Association was very active up to the late 90's, at which time the supply of Model Rocket Engines started to dry up.

With no local manufacturers of Model Rocket Motors, and a system that deemed Rocketry a threat,
Model Rocketry in South Africa became inaccessible to the general public.

By 1990, Rocket kits disappeared from hobby shops, with many shops reporting losses due to rocket kits becoming "unwanted stock"

With the exception of a few individuals who were able to acquire limited quantities of Model Rocket Motors via unknown sources,
Model Rocketry was only available to a select few..

Many rockets to this day are launched using modified firework devices - which are typically available from China, at a fraction of the cost of imported rocket motors fromt the US. 

Note: While the use of modified fireworks does seem to offer a workaround for the problem, it remains illegal in South Africa as you must obtain a license/permit in order to modifiy any explosive - and yes, no matter what your friend says, fireworks are classified as explosives!

The Model Rocketry Association adopted the NAR Model Rocketry Safety Codes
(the NAR codes were used "as is" up to 2003, at which time, the SAASA codes were adopted)

The SA Model Rocketry Association (SAMRA)  is now fully incorporated under SAASA


The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) was established in 2010

SANSA has an Official Government Mandate to promote and manage the usage of Space resources within South Africa

While SANSA is expected to play a key role in the future management of space exploration and the promotion of Rocketry within South Africa, the Agency has a lot of catching up to do..




Other Rocketry Groups in South Africa

Since 2010, a number South African Rocketry Clubs were formed,

Most of these clubs have based their "rules and policies" on those of NAR,Tripoli, CAR and SAASA

  • Johannesburg HPR - SAASA Affiliated
  • Bloemfontein Rocketry Club
  • Potchefroom Rocketry Club
  • Bushveld Rockets (Limpopo) - SAASA Affiliated
  • CTMRC - Cape Town Model Rocketry Club (
  • KZNR - KZN Rocketeers (club)