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OpenRocket: How to Design, Simulate and Create Rockets


Have you heard of Rocket Science? When there is something difficult and for doing sake, we say, ” this is not a rocket science”. But think, if you really need to build a rocket, you will need a software for virtual creation and testing. Now also think if you only want to create rocket as hobby, you will prefer a free rocket simulation software. I will say, “it is not a rocket science2. But no body has ever done a real rocket science in my whole previous 7 generations. 🙂

OpenRocket (current version 13.05) is Open Source rocket designing and simulation software which let you think and design the rocket before the actual work starts. In OpenRocket software, you can see all the parts to design a rocket are available. You join them, set the configuration parameters, adjust the different parts by selecting, nose cone, body tube, transition, different types of fins, inner tubes, coupler, engine block and much more. And you can design the rockets in stages means, doing in parts.

You can also create flight simulation. You might be thinking how to bring it back. You can design parachute and its place. I am trying to understand it but it looks like I am gonna take the whole life span to understand rocket design. The above image is what I was messing with.

Today is the first day, I tried to design rocket using OpenRocket. I feel like PRO though I know nothing about Rocket Science. The have really made OpenRocket very easy and interactive. There are no complicated processes and controls. You select the proper parts, set the configuration parameters, adjust the values and you are done. You can see your rocket before the real birth of your rocket. The Astronaut Farmer (2006) is one among my favorite movies. I am thinking to watch it again.


  •     Fully cross-platform, written in Java
  •     Fully documented simulation methods
  •     Open Source, source code available under the GNU GPL

User interface

  •     Easy-to-use user interface for rocket design
  •     Real-time view of CG and CP position
  •     Real-time flight altitude, velocity and acceleration information from a continuous simulation performed in the background
  •     Zoomable schematic view of rocket from the side or rear, with rotation around the center axis


  •     A multitude of available components to choose from
  •     Trapezoidal, elliptical and free-form fins supported
  •     Support for canted fins (roll stabilization)
  •     Staging and clustering support
  •     Automatic calculation of component mass and CG based on shape and density
  •     Ability to override mass and CG of components or stages separately

Simulation and analysis

  •     Full six degree of freedom simulation
  •     Rocket stability computed using extended Barrowman method
  •     Automatic design optimization — you can optimize any number of rocket parameters for flight altitude, maximum velocity or a number of other values
  •     Realistic wind modeling
  •     Analysis of the effect of separate components on the stability, drag and roll characteristics of the rocket
  •     Fully configurable plotting, with various preset configurations
  •     Simulation data can be exported to CSV files for further analysis
  •     Simulation listeners allowing custom-made code to interact with the rocket during flight simulation

OpenRocekt is open source. This means you can play with code, distribute the modified code, even you can create your own rocket designing software based on OpenRocekt source code. It is also platform independent. You can run it on any operating system which supports Java. You can also use it on your tablets and smartphones running Android.

You can read OpenRocekt documentation and can also download from here.


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