The Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Tripoli Rocket Association (TRA) and Spaceport America (SPA). The agreement was signed and executed by ESRA President Cliff Olmsted, SPA Executive Director Scott McLaughlin and TRA President, Bob Brown. The MOU stipulates the adoption of rules and requirements for TRA membership and clearly explains who is covered by Tripoli insurance while participating in the Spaceport America Cup (SAC).

Key elements of the agreement are:

  • For the first time at SAC, hybrid flights which fully comply with the Tripoli Safety Code* will be covered by Tripoli insurance.
  • All flyers working on safety-related systems or present downrange must be active Tripoli members. This includes all 10k and 30k COTS/SRAD Solids and COTS/SRAD Hybrid flights. Liquid SRAD category rockets are not included in this MOU.  NAR membership does not meet this requirement.
  • Motors and energetic materials may only be possessed or handled by Tripoli members with appropriate high-power rocketry certification levels.   NAR membership does not meet this requirement.  NAR members must join TRA and have their certifications copied over.  This was agreed to by NAR President John Hochheimer and TRA President Bob Brown.
  • ESRA recommends student teams who have a NAR certified Flyer of Record should cover the cost of the TRA membership for their Flyer of Record.
  • Any Commercial Solid, Research Solid, Commercial Hybrid, or Research Hybrid flights must have a current Tripoli L3 certified member as Flyer of Record. Again, a NAR Certified Flyer of Record does not meet this requirement.  The Flyer of Record must be present at the launch. The Flyer of Record may be a student member, a team mentor, or other Tripoli L3 certified member as coordinated by ESRA.
  • The language of the MOU prohibits changes to the MOU within the last 30 days before or at the launch.
  • COTS and SRAD Hybrids and Solid rocket teams which do not fully comply with Tripoli Safety Code (described in the MOU as Non-Tripoli Safety Code Compliant) will not be approved to launch. Liquid category teams are solely responsible for arranging their own insurance in advance as per the ESRA Rules and Regulations.
  • Liquid category rockets will be segregated from all other operations and spectator areas by at least 1500 feet. Liquid launch operations shall be conducted by the student teams under ESRA coordination but different personnel than those operating ESRA's Launch Control Operations. The separation will be visibly and clearly marked.
  • ESRA will curtail all other launch operations when liquid category launches are underway.

A copy of the executed MOU will be available on the Tripoli website

* TRA Safety Code may be found at