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Optical Tracking
Optical Tracking

Altimeters have become a more popular way to determine rocket altitude. But Optical tracking does not require fliers to buy and risk damaging or losing costly altimeters.

NAR Sporting Code rules for Tracking - From the NAR website.  Defines the requirements for optical tracking (using at least 2-station azimuth and elevation), and approved Data Reduction methods.

Tracking Powder - From the NAR website.  Why and how to use tracking powder in a model to produce a highly visible "cloud" at ejection, to help people on the ground to see and track the models

Tracking Model Rockets - from Apogee Components - A list of links on how to optically track model rockets. Info on simple single station (Elevation only) tracking, and 2-station 3D tracking (Azimuth & Elevation).

Determine Maximum Altitude - From NASA's Glenn Research Center, part of their rocket education series.
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Estes  TR-3:  Altitude Tracking    - Very old Technical Report that many learned the basics of tracking with.

For historical purposes, and to show what a lot of fliers used for tracking in the 1970's, was the old Centuri Sky Trak:


Tim Van Milligan / Apogee  - How to use Inclinometers (elevation only)

How to use a Theodolite to track rockets in azimuth and elevation (3D).

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