Hybrid Motor Rocket Competition

2014-2015 Hybrid Motor High Powered Rocket Competition

Sponsored by the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium (FSGC) and the North East Florida Association of Rocketry (NEFAR)

The objective of the competition is to build and launch a hybrid powered rocket.  There are two categories of competition to choose from.  The first category consists of launching a hybrid rocket to the maximum altitude.  The second category challenges the teams to fly their rocket closest to 2000 feet in altitude.  There must be at least two teams competing in each category.  If there is only one team, that team will be asked to move to the other category.

  • The rocket can be built from scratch or from a kit.
  • The engine must be a hybrid motor rated “G” or from a lower class.  The engine can be built from scratch or purchased from a company.  NOTE: If the motor is built from scratch or is modified in anyway, a minimum of 2 documented motor tests must be done to demonstrate the safety, quality, and performance of the motor.  Documentation must be performed and submitted two weeks before launch and must show thrust curves, impulse, burn-time, etc. from the 2 tests (please confer with the judges prior to making any modifications to the motor).
  • Points will be awarded for the phases of the competition.  The successful flight is worth 80% of the total points and the teams Engineering Notebook report is worth 20% of the total points.  The points for each part are as follows:
    1. Points for Flight
      • 100 pts for highest or closest to altitude
      • 90 pts for 2nd highest or closest to altitude
      • 80 pts or 3rd highest or closest to altitude
      • 70 pts for 4th highest or closest to altitude
      • 0-10 pts for self built motor
      • 0-5 pts for self built rocket
    2. Points for Engineering Notebook
      • Rocksim or other software Simulations (30 pts)
      • Engineering Data (70 pts)

The engineering notebook will be a bound notebook (Composition type noteBook) which will have all of the team’s engineering data, calculations, drawings and sketches, test results, notes, ideas, meeting notes, etc.  This notebook will be returned to the teams on flight day.  NOTE: The notebook is NOT a formal final report.  We are looking for your project/laboratory workbook.

This competition is open to any university or community college team in Florida, both public and private.

Part I – Proposal

The faculty advisor of the university team must submit a 2 page proposal with a budget of up to $1,000. If a team is planning to enter both categories, please submit separate proposals (maximum 2 pages each)

The proposal must include the following:

  1. Team Name
  2. Project Manager Name and Email Address
  3. Name and Email Address of the Project Manager’s Alternate
  4. All team members names and their email addresses in addition to the following:
    • Status (e.g. sophomore, junior, senior etc.)
    • Hometown
    • Gender
    • Race (needed for reporting to funding authority)
  5. Category or categories the team plans to compete in (maximum altitude and/or closest to 2000 feet in altitude).
  6. Detailed Budget.

All teams that submit a proposal will be able to take part in the competition and compete for the prizes.  At least 6 teams (from both categories) will be selected and awarded up to $1,000 to build the rocket (detailed budget must be provided in the proposal).  For teams that design their own engines, static testing and data from two test launches is expected.  The funds will be provided as a cost reimbursable grant to the faculty advisor.  The funds can be used for supplies, motors, kits and travel.  Salary and capital expenditure is not allowed.  Indirect costs are not allowed.

Part II – Reports & Flight

Teams will then build and test their rockets for flight and submit their engineering notebook due approximately 2 weeks before the launch.  Also, the program manager or their alternate representative from each team will be required to submit every 2 weeks a “progress and accomplishment report” of no more then 3/4 page text to the PBWorks website @ http://hybridrocket.pbworks.com/.  Reports should include work done plus attachments including parts lists, photos, etc.  NOTE: There are no points awarded for submitting the Progress Reports however, points will be deducted for non-submittal and late reports.

Also, each team will be required to submit to the PBWorks website @ http://hybridrocket.pbworks.com/ a Hazard Analysis and a Failure Modes & Effects Analysis by the time listed in the Timeline below.  The Hazard Analysis should focus on the handling and use of the nitrous oxide and any pyrotechnic systems or materials.  The Failure Modes & Effects Analysis should focus on what kinds of things could go wrong with your launch equipment and rocket, as well as, what you have done to mitigate or reduce the identified failure modes.  These reports should be no more than 4 text pages in length, tables and graphs are not included in page count. They should be updated and resubmitted as your designs evolve.  The reports are to show that you are ready to test and fly your rockets and motors safely.  Failure to submit these reports may result in your being removed from the competition.


Teams will have their rockets and motors inspected for safety by a NEFAR representative just before launch.  NEFAR will sponsor the launch at the club site in Bunnell.  Results of launch must be into the judge by 3:00 pm on the day of the launch; judge will leave site at 3:15 pm.  NOTE:  We are not responsible for problems at the NEFAR launch site.  Be there early.  Don’t wait until it is too late to launch.  To be awarded points for flight you must have a successful flight; i.e. Launch, deployment of recovery system, and controlled landing.  All other flights will be judged on a case by case base.  NOTE: rockets deemed unsafe will not be allowed to fly in the competition until fixed and approved.

NEFAR Website – http://www.nefar.net/

Part III – Additional funding

The winning teams from each category will receive additional funding according to the following chart. These additional funds will be provided to the winning team(s) faculty advisor to defray their expenses incurred for travel to the competition location.

Place Maximum Altitude Category Closest to 2000 ft. Category
1st Place $500.00 $750.00
2nd Place $300.00 $450.00
3rd Place $100.00 $200.00

Time line

  • Sept. 12, 2014: Proposal with Budget, Deadline
  • Sept. 26, 2014: Announcement of winners and grant awarded to faculty advisor
  • Oct. 10, 2014: First of the every two week report due.
  • Nov. 14, 2014: Hazard Analysis, Failure Modes & Effects Analysis due.
  • April 3, 2015: Engineering Notebook due at Florida Space Grant Offices.
  • April 12, 2015: Launch Day – CANCELED!!! Use Alternate Launch Day!!!
  • May 9, 2015: Alternate Launch Day

Altitude Determination


A recording barometric altimeter must be used to record data for competition.  The launch site should be considered zero altitude and the altimeter should be calibrated to zero, it is up to flier to provide proof of a properly calibrated altimeter to the Judge upon request.

Altimeters with altitude sensors other than barometric sensors, such as accelerometers or magnetic apogee detection, may be used to deploy the recovery systems.  However, they are prohibited from use in determining the actual altitude.

Determining Actual Altitude

The actual flight profile will be determined by the competition judges.  The graph or other flight profile display provided by a recording device will be examined for accuracy.  If it is shown that a sudden peak in altitude is attributable to the ejection charge, that peak will be not be used to determine the recorded altitude.  The altitude just prior to or just after that sudden peak will be the official recorded altitude.

Launch Rails & Firing Electronics Requirements 

Teams should provide their own launch rails/pads and firing electronics and if requested must be inspected for safety by a NEFAR representative.  NOTE THIS REQUIREMENT: firing electronics must be at least 500 feet away from launch rails/pads.  Firing electronics should incorporate at least one safety switch to prevent accidental ignition of rocket during setup.  Please insure that you have enough current available to ignite the motor with 500 foot of cable.  If you wish to use NEFAR launch equipment please contact Robert Eppig for our NEFAR representative contact information – to check if what you need is available.  Please check early if you wish to use NEFAR equipment-THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THAT WHAT YOU NEED IS AVAILABLE. 

Static Judging

For the teams that build their rocket and/or engine from scratch, their scores from the judges will reflect the originality and performance of the rocket and/or the engine

Motor Class Total Impulse

G or less: 160 Newton-seconds or less

Submit Proposal and Engineering Notebook to:

Gene Tavares, 407-823-6173, Eugene.Tavares@ucf.edu

Submit technical questions to:

Robert Eppig,  beppig@cfl.rr.com

Competing Teams will receive a login to the PBWorks site by Sept. 30, 2015


2013-14 Participating Universities

  1. University of Central Florida (1 team)
  2. University of Florida (1)
  3. University of Miami (1)
  4. University of West Florida (1)
  5. Daytona State College (1)
  6. Florida International University (1)
  7. Florida Institute of Technology (2)
  8. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (2)
  9. University of South Florida (3)


2013-14 Winners

Maximum Altitude

First Place: Florida Institute of Technology

Second Place: University of West Florida

Third Place: University of Florida

Closest to 2000 feet

First Place: University of Central Florida

Second Place: Florida Institute of Technology

Third Place: Florida International University


2012-13 Participating Universities

1. University of Central Florida

2. University of Florida

3. University of Miami

4. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

5. Florida Institute of Technology

2012-13 Winners

Maximum Altitude

First Place: University of Central  Florida

Second Place: Florida Institute of Technology

Third Place: University of Florida

Closest to 2000 feet

First Place: Florida Institute of Technology

Second Place: University of Florida

Third Place: University of Central Florida

2011-12 Winners

Maximum Altitude

First Place: University of Florida

Second Place: Florida Institute of Technology

Third Place: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Closest to 2000 feet

First Place: Florida Institute of Technology

Second Place: University of Florida

Third Place: University of Central Florida

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