If you have never attended a CMASS launch, this document will give you all you need to know to launch your rocket, be safe, and have a great time.
- The front page of the CMASS web site gives info on the upcoming launch, other events as well as useful links. Check the site the day of the launch for the final 'Go/No Go' notice.
- The link for the current launch schedule can be found on the CMASS from page.
- Launch Etiquette information can be found here.
- CMASS launches at two fields: Woodsom Farm in Amesbury and School Street Soccer Fields in Acton. Directions to both sites can be found here.
- Launches are usually 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. But will vary depending on weather and time of year.
- You do not need to be a CMASS or National Association of Rocketry (NAR) member to launch. Launch fee is $5.00 for the day (purchased at the field), or you can purchase a season's pass ($20.00) here. Spectators are always welcome; there is no fee for spectators.
- CMASS abides by the NAR safety codes.
The Launch Fields
- Woodsom Farm is CMASS's main field. It can accommodate motors up to J. The FAA waiver is 3500 ft. Although any flight above 2000 ft. is risky and should not be attempted without recovery via Dual Deploy, Chute Release or something similar. Eleven Low/Mid Power launch pads are set up with one to three High Power pads. High Power launches and any flight above 1000-ft will be suspended if the wind is blowing toward the power lines. Presently, parking is permitted at the launch area. Woodsom Farm has many dog walkers and pedestrians along the path to the launch area. They have right-of-way. So please drive very slowly and let them pass before continuing on. Weather and wind velocity can be viewed by clicking the 'Windy' link located at the bottom of the CMASS front page.
- Acton Field is smaller and can accommodate motors up to G. No High-Power launching is permitted at the field. Eleven Low/Mid Power launch pads are set up. Parking is on School Street next to the soccer field. Weather and wind velocity can be viewed by clicking the 'Windy' link located at the bottom of the CMASS front page and entering 'School Street Fields Acton MA' in the search box.
- There is a Port-a-John at both fields during the flight season supplied by CMASS.
- To get an idea of what the launch fields look like, you can view photos from recent launches in the Gallery.
What To Bring
- Rockets (including recovery components), motors and igniters. No launch equipment is necessary. All launch equipment is supplied by CMASS. Please note, recovery wadding should not be fiberglass insulation.
- Masking tape, super glue (or similar), sandpaper and other items for last minute repairs. Pen or pencil to fill out launch cards.
- Chairs, small folding worktable. This makes it easier to prep rockets for flight.
- Picnic Blanket (or similar) to set your rockets out.
- Bag to take your trash with you at the end of the day.
- Water and food for the day. CMASS sells drinks, hot dogs and snacks at most launches.
- During Summer months - extra water, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat. Many also bring a pop-up. Neither of the fields have any shade and both are usually several degrees hotter than what is predicted for the area in general.
- During Spring and Fall - dress in layers. Woodsom Farm is usually several degrees colder, and the winds are stronger than what is predicted for the area in general.
The Launch Protocol
- A launch card must be filled out for each launch of a rocket. These can be found at the RSO (Range Safety Officer) table or printed beforehand. Fill out the launch card for your rocket. If anything is unclear, just ask the RSO.
- Prep your rocket for launch and bring it, along with the launch card, to the RSO table.
- The RSO will inspect the rocket for safety and assign a launch pad for your rocket.
- Load your rocket onto the launch rod. Be careful NOT to bend the rod and make sure the clips are not touching each other or anything metal. If you are not sure what to do or need help, ask the RSO. He will ask someone to help you load your rocket for launch.
- Stand back the required distance and wait for the LCO (Launch Control Officer) to launch your rocket.
Retrieve your rocket and do it all over again.
- Please do NOT enter the circle of launch pads. There are a lot of wires there and it is very easy to trip on one, possibly injuring yourself or causing damage to the equipment. If your rocket lands within the circle, notify the LCO and get permission to enter the circle to retrieve your rocket.
- If your rocket lands beyond the launch field and on someone's property, do NOT walk onto the property to retrieve your rocket. Knock on the house door and ask the owner's permission to retrieve your rocket. It is very important that we respect the privacy and property rights of the homeowners adjacent to the launch fields.
- If you find a lost rocket, bring it to the RSO table. They will make an announcement.
- If you come upon a rocket that has just landed, let the owner retrieve it. Many owners want to inspect their rockets for damage before they pick it up.
- Dogs are welcome, but they must be on a leash while at the launch.
- Children are always welcome, but please have them walk and not run while at the launch.
- Set up and take down of the launch equipment is a lot of work and we always welcome help. Don't worry about not knowing what to do. Everyone is friendly and willing to teach.
- Feel free to roam around and look at the different fleets and ask questions. Everyone is friendly, willing to help and love to talk about their rockets.