Gary Rosenfield of AeroTech and Quest Aerospace

In this episode, we talk with Gary Rosenfield, who founded AeroTech Consumer Aerospace in 1982. AeroTech makes ammonium perchlorate composite propellant motors, often referred to as simply “composite motors.” This distinguishes them from the traditional model rocket motors, which use black powder propellant.

AeroTech is known for making high power motors, up to the enormous M, N, and O impulse motors. But they also make low and mid power motors for model rocketeers.

A small selection of AeroTech reloadable motor casings

Around 2014, AeroTech merged with Quest Aerospace, a model rocket company which manufactured kits and black powder motors. The motors were rather similar to the Estes black powder motors, but included the much-loved Q2G2 igniters.

An Estes C6-5 on left, with a starter. An old Quest C6-5 on right, with the Q2G2 igniter.

Q2G2’s were fast igniters. That is, they required less amperage to fire, and with a small black pyrogen tip, they were great for igniting black powder clusters – configurations of two or more motors.

With clusters, it’s important to have all motors ignite simultaneously, or the rocket could leave the pad with one or more motors unlit. This can sometimes result in a less-than-straight flight trajectory, and it’s what makes clustering a fun challenge!

Following an accident in a port in China, through which Quest’s old motors were exported to the U.S., Quest motors and igniters became unavailable for a long time.

Bill Stine, who had founded Quest, challenged Gary to create an A-impulse motor with composite propellant.

Gary accepted the challenge, and after a long period of development and experimentation, the new Quest composite motors became a reality.

Dubbed “Q-Jets,” these little 18mm motors are the same length and diameter as standard A/B/C model rocket motors, but because they contain the more energetic AP composite propellant, Quest/AeroTech can get a D powered motor into the smaller sized casing.

A Quest Q-Jet D motor, top, is the same size as an Estes C engine, bottom. The narrow part sticking out on the right of the Q-Jet is the ejection charge well.

This is because AP propellant has a higher specific impulse than black powder propellant.

Q-Jets are fast, fun, zippy motors. And AeroTech has lots of different AP motors for rockets of all sizes.

You can get Q-Jet’s from our sponsor, eRockets.biz, by clicking here.

And you can get AeroTech motors from eRockets by clicking here.

And, hey, if you appreciate eRockets sponsoring The Model Rocket Show, let owner Randy know when you place your order! I’m sure he’d love to hear that his support is appreciated.