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Tuesday, September 26 2017 @ 01:03 AM AEST
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CASA gets the word out

I had occasion to pop into my friendly Local Hobby Shop today. I admit to not having done so for several months. I was somewhat surprised to see a smart looking CASA flyer on the counter with the friendly catch line "New to Model Rockets? Get to know the rules." on the front. On the back is some notes about what kind of rockets can be flown where. It's great that CASA has produced an informational flyer like this. I think it's testimony to the great work that some of the clubs around Australia have done in growing this amazing hobby.


It's a shame they made a small error in describing their own regulations that would incorrectly shut out an almost entire impulse level from use in small model rockets..

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Site upgrade redux

I've upgraded the site again. Let me know if things don't work the way you think they should.

I thought I'd also let you know that NASA have released some great photos on Flickr. Well worth spending some time to look through them.

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Site upgrades in progress

Update: The software upgrade has gone well, and the gallery and forum are back on line. The main problem is my theme has had a suboptimal transition. I'm looking into it. Sorry for the ugliness.

I'm currently working on upgrading the site software. Parts of the site like the photo gallery will go offline during the process. This is a jump of a couple of major release versions, so fingers crossed all goes well. I have backups, but hope I won't need them.
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Australian Mint releases 40th Anniversary of Moon Landing commemorative 50 cent piece

If you've been under a rock for the last week or so, you might have missed all the celebrations surrounding the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing. You might also have missed Australia's involvement in televising that moment to 600 odd million people around the world. The Australian Mint has struck a commemorative 50c piece in honour of the occasion. Keep an eye on your change in coming months, or, jump straight to the Australian Mint's website and grab an uncirculated coin including the cover.

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TRA & NAR win 9 year case against BATFE

In what will be the biggest story this year in the global hobby rocketry community, Judge Reggie Walton has issued his final ruling in the long running case of NAR/TRA vs BATFE. The communication from TRA President Ken Good spells out the results. At this early stage, I don't know if this judgement will have any effect on rocketry in Australia, but any effect can only be positive. Several Australian states labour under draconian laws that label Ammonium Perchlorate Composite Propellant (APCP) as an explosive. This ruling in an American court has scientifically proven that APCP is not an explosive, and the BATFE listed it without any regard to fact. Once the dust has settled in America and the full effect of this ruling is seen, hopefully we may be able to use it as a precedent for having some of our own laws relaxed. Make no mistake, this win is a huge step forward for legitimising our hobby amongst those agencies that don't understand how safe and responsible we are.

From: Ken Good
Sent: Mon 3/16/2009 11:42 PM
To: TRA Prefects List
Subject: Victory in the Litigation Against the BATFE

March 16, 2009

TRA Prefects and Members:

After a nine-year effort by the leaders of TRA & NAR, the legal team of Joe Egan, Marty Malsch, and John Lawrence, and with the generous and solid support of our members, we have at last won decisively in our litigation against the BATFE. The District Court opinion, issued today by Judge Reggie Walton and appended below, constitutes a clear and full victory, and vindication of what we have asserted these long and difficult years.

As quoted in the opinion, BATFE’s regulation of APCP was found by Judge Walton to be "arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with the law." and has been ordered by the Court to be "vacated" or canceled.

NAR President Trip Barber and I will be in communication with our legal counsel over the next several days on exactly what we need to do next to ensure that BATFE complies with this order, and to determine the details and timing of ending our interaction with the agency as a regulator of APCP. We are not making any assumptions concerning the agency’s next actions – they may consider an appeal or other further legal options to try to hang on, but the burden of proof is now on them, and their roadmap of such proof has utterly failed them.

Until we understand the next steps and how we will ensure the agency adheres to this court order, please refrain from confrontations with any BATFE agent, do not surrender or destroy your LEUP, and do not remove material from any magazines yet. We will issue a joint statement at some point in the next several days on our next steps as soon as these are known.

Thank you all again for your unflagging support and your enduring patience.

Ken Good
TRA President

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Say NO to Clean Feed Internet

At first, this post might seem somewhat off topic. I assure you it isn't.

Australian Labor Party Senator Stephen Conroy is attempting to introduce mandatory Internet filtering at the ISP for all Australians. His proposal is for a two tier system. One will be targeted toward families and children, and it will filter the Government's own blacklist of sites as well as additional material that may be considered offensive. The other will only filter the Government blacklist. Every Australian Internet connection will be subject to one or the other of these filtering schemes.

Senator Conroy says that the schemes will also filter out "illegal content". Unfortunately, we don't know exactly what he means by that. The current blacklist, maintained by ACMA, has roughly 1300 entries. The Senator suggests that this list will grow to over 10 000 entries. Clearly, there is intent to seriously curtail access to a vast body of content on the Internet. The blacklist has been exempted from being discoverable via FOI requests, so we'll have no idea what's actually on it. Already, Family First Senator Steven Fielding is drooling at the idea of an Australia wide censorship regime, and is pushing for sites dealing with anorexia and euthanasia to be added to the list - sites that aren't actually illegal. Additionally, the filtering infrastructure will allow the Government and ISP staff to snoop on all your Internet activity (including Internet banking and online shopping), ostensibly to log and report on attempts to access content they deem illegal.

What does this have to do with rocketry? Many Australian rocketeers have an interest in propulsion research. While the greater body of researchers are offshore, it follows that most websites that deal with the topic are also offshore. It's only a hop, step, and a jump to seeing propulsion research websites being classified as explosives manufacturing sites and then added to the blacklist. In it's current form, Senator Conroy's plan for Cyber Safety doesn't include any method of appeal to have sites removed from the blacklist.

I urge all rocketeers, indeed all thinking Australians, to educate themselves about this proposal. There are many reasons for opposing this plan. Contact your local federal member of Parliament and express your disgust at what can only be described as a censorship and snooping scheme of Orwellian proportions.

Further information is available at:-
No Clean Feed website
System Administrator Mark Newton's letter to Hon. Kate Ellis MP

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Rockets of the World back in print

The long wait for the next printing of Peter Alway's classic book is over. I'm waiting for my copy, but I have it on good authority that it contains the data for the Redstone Sparta, the launch vehicle that sent Australia into orbit.

Get it from the NARTS section of the NAR website, or from ARA Press.

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In a nutshell, this site exists to act as a guide to what is happening in the wider Australian Sporting Rocketry community. I'll be keeping an eye out for news about clubs and events, as well as items of interest to space and sci-fi enthusiasts. I'm always happy to receive suggestions and leads from the community. Like any website, this site will be a perpetual work in progress, so let me know what sort of things you would like to see. You can submit stories of your own by using the Contribute link at the top of the page (vendors/manufacturers also welcome).

Some features of this site are only available to logged in users. Read on for information about what members can do.

UPDATE: If you are using Hotmail, or another large free email provider, please check your Junk Mail folder for any emails from this site. I have made some changes that should satisfy their junk mail filters, but they often have policies that can be hard to comply with if you don't have full admin access to the webserver.

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'Matrix' producer plans remake of sci-fi classic

From Yahoo! News:

MADRID (AFP) - US filmmaker Joel Silver, who produced all of "The Matrix" films, said Tuesday he is planning a remake of the 1976 Oscar-winning science fiction classic "Logan's Run."


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