SA ROCKETRY CLUBS & ASSOCIATIONS
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 / SAASA
"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.
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
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,
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 comprises of 5 -15 Members
A brief Timeline of SARA:
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,
By 1990, Rocket kits disappeared from hobby shops, with many shops reporting losses due to rocket kits becoming "unwanted stock"
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 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
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