Southern Arizona Rocketry Association

Desert Heat 2023 Details

The 2023 Desert Heat launch will be held Friday, March 31 through Sunday, April 2 at the Tucson International Modelplex Park Association (TIMPA) site near the town of Picture Rocks. The launch range is open on Friday afternoon and evening to all flyers who have volunteered to keep SARA flying through the pandemic and fire hazards we've faced in recent years.  On Saturday, the range will be open all day, and a night launch will be held Saturday night. The range will also be open Sunday until Noon. 

The FAA waiver ceiling for class 2 rockets is 5,000 feet AGL (3,000 ft AGL after dark). Certified motors up to and including simple M are permitted, but hybrid motors and any motors of K impulse or higher must be cleared in advance. The recovery area of this site is a square 2500 ft on a side, bounded by dirt roads to the north, south, east, and west. Additional recovery on foot is available north and west of the TIMPA property, but no recovery is available east of the bounding road to the east of the TIMPA property.  City of Tucson personnel are the only authorized personnel permitted to the east and southeast of the TIMPA field. The terrain is flat, with sparse trees < 20 ft tall, and in most places, the range has been cleared of tall grass and weeds that would hinder recovery.

To mitigate the safety risk of heavy rockets and rod whip, rail guidance is required for rockets using F motors or above. This applies to clusters of smaller motors as well--any flight with total installed impulse > 40 Newton-seconds. The RSO may permit some exceptions for special circumstances incompatible with rail use, like odd rocs or saucers.

Night flying requires active lighting (glow sticks are insufficient) secured on board all rockets, and fully redundant and independent circuitry and power supplies for high power rockets. Fliers on the flight line and recovering rockets must wear reflective vests and flashing lights to help ensure the LCO can see them in the dark. For first time night flyers, we'll have a $5 night lighting workshop at 5 pm Saturday!

Several times each day, we will hold flier safety briefings to review range safety measures in place. Failure to follow these procedures may result in expulsion from the launch. Be sure you attend at least one of these briefings.

Finally, volunteers make this launch possible, so please see the registration desk if you do not know when your assigned role and time slot is.  You can sign up for a volunteer role when you register.

Spectator Area

  • Please park in the designated areas
  • There is NO POTABLE WATER at the TIMPA facility. Plan to bring plenty of your own drinking water.
  • Please visit our rocket and food vendors; their presence is part of what makes this event special!
  • There are flush toilets supplemented with portable toilets, and there is a handwashing sink at the restrooms. Please don't clog the sink or toilets with paper towels or other refuse, and please do not wash pots and pans at the wash sink.
  • RV or tent camping is available, but due to the fire hazard around the camping area, no fires are permitted, either on the ground or in fire pits. Gas cooking is ok in RVs or on tables over bare dirt.
  • Only registered fliers with valid wristbands are allowed past the registration desk in the ramada. 
  • Please pre-register to save time (and money) on launch day. You can quickly pick up your wristbands and any merchandise you ordered without standing in the onsite registration line.

Flight Line Layout

Registered flyers may proceed to Safety Inspection east of the Registration tables. Once cleared to fly by Safety Inspection, proceed to Pad Assignment, at the flag pole near the Launch Control Officer. The Pad Assignment volunteers will assign your flight a bank and pad, and let you know when it's safe to proceed to the pad to load your rockets. Do not proceed past the Pad Assignment area until instructed to do so by the LCO.

Range Setup

The range has 7 pad banks allowing simultaneous loading and flying of different east/west halves of the range. West banks (A, C, and E) may fly while the East banks (B, D and F) load, and vice versa.

 Pad Banks  Impulse Class Flown at the Pad Bank # of Pads
 A and B  D and below  16
 C and D  E, F, G 
 E and F  H, I, J, K
 G  L, M

Rockets with a combined total installed impulse of 40 Newton-seconds (F impulse) or higher must use rail pads. The RSO may approve exceptions for certain incompatible rocket designs, such as saucer rockets or other odd rocs. SARA provides mini, micro, 1010, and 1515 rails. Approved personal pads may be permitted subject to coordination with the RSO and LCO--please ask. The table below shows what size/length pads will be available.

 Rod/Rail  Size  Length
 Rod  1/8"  3 feet
 3/16"  3 and 4 feet
 1/4"  4 and 6 feet
3/8"  6 feet 
Rail  Micro 3 feet 
 Mini 4 feet 
 1010  6 and 8 feet
 1515  12 feet

SARA cannot support personal launch controllers; only the SARA launch controllers will be used at this launch.

Copyright © 2022 Southern Arizona Rocketry Association (SARA)
SARA is a volunteer-run 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation based in Tucson, Arizona

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