I’ve received a request from NASA Education advising everyone to discontinue use of air pressure paper rocket launchers seen in the NASA Rockets Educator Guide. I know that a large number of teachers, scout leaders, clubs, and other organizations use these types of rocket launchers because they are affordable and easy to build.
I’ve included an image of the launcher (made with PVC pipe and using a bicycle pump for pressure) from the Rockets Educator Guide to help you determine if equipment you are currently using may be dangerous. If your launcher looks similar to this image, please discontinue use. It may be susceptible to failure.
For more information, read the notice below:
Recently, an air pressurized paper rocket launcher being used by an educator failed. This launcher is described in NASA’s Rockets Educator Guide, publications EG-2011-11-223-KSC, pp. 86-90 and EG-2008-05-060-KSC, pp. 86-90. NASA completed an engineering investigation into the failure and determined that the launcher, or design equivalents, should not be used. NASA has removed the launcher design from its website and its education curriculum. Individuals and organizations should immediately discontinue use of the launcher published in the referenced NASA publications. The point of contact for additional information is James Stofan, Deputy Associate Administrator for Education Integration at firstname.lastname@example.org. We request that your organization assist NASA in disseminating this information as widely as possible throughout the education community.