Tripoli Rocketry Association


Tripoli Rocketry Association, Inc.
Typenon-profit organization

The Tripoli Rocketry Association (TRA) is one of the two major organizing bodies for high power rocketry.

It was founded in 1964 in the Pittsburgh, PA region as a high school science club, integrating both rocketry and space science. The name "Tripoli" was chosen because the founding members came from three different towns, and one of them helped fund the club's early projects using gold coins that his father had brought back from Tripoli (whose name approximately means "three towns") Lebanon after World War II.[1] By the late-1980s, it transitioned from a regional club into formal, incorporated, USA-national organization, with a focus on self-regulating advanced, High-Power Rocketry (HPR). The deregulation of the aviation industry by the Reagan Administration also facilitated the growth of HPR activities.

The founder was Francis G. Graham. Early members who helped expand the club were Curtis W. Hughes, Kenneth J. Good, and Arthur R. Bower, with Thomas J. (Tom) Blazanin leading its formalization as an incorporated national organization in 1987 with the assistance of Alaska lawyer Darrel J. Gardner.

Tripoli organizes many rocket launches, both regional events hosted by local prefectures and larger international launches like LDRS ("Large Dangerous Rocket Ships") [2] and BALLS. They also provide insurance for organized launches, administer a member certification program for flying high power rockets, and perform testing and certification of commercial hobby rocket motors.

Tripoli has expanded internationally over the years, and currently has clubs in many different countries including Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the U.S . Additionally, it formerly was active in Israel.

Tripoli was involved as a plaintiff in a nine-year lawsuit (in conjunction with the National Association of Rocketry as a co-plaintiff) against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) as the defendant, regarding its claims of jurisdiction over and legal classifications regarding permitting, storage, and use of ammonium perchlorate composite propellant (APCP) in rocket motors. On March 16, 2009, the US District Court for the District of Columbia found in favor of TRA/NAR, and ordered the ATF to vacate APCP from its list of regulated explosives.

External links

  • Tripoli Rocketry Association web site
  • Patricia Leigh Brown; A Cult of Backyard Rocketeers Keeps the Solid Fuel Burning; New York Times, October 14, 2006
  • Mike Anton; Spare Time Rocket Science; Los Angeles Times, January 18, 2008


  1. ^
  2. ^ Christopher T. Pearson. "The LDRS Story" (pdf). Retrieved 7 February 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) An authoritative account by the organizer of the origins and early years of the LDRS high-power launches, and their transition into national TRA events.