Houston 6-pad Launch Controller

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  • The Houston launch controller includes a 6-pad rotary switched controller box with safety key, main power switch, audible and visual continuity indicators, a single 50 ft cable to the pad, and the Goddard igniter distribution box. It uses a 12V battery source like the optional sealed lead acid battery, and is intended for use with the Rocketry Works Cape Canaveral 6-pad launch pad.
  • Houston 6-pad Launch Controller
  • A removable safety key and illuminated power button are both required for use. The rotary switch prevents multiple simultaneous launches (drag races). This is a deliberate safety feature for this controller's intended use in school settings where spectators are not accustomed to range operations.
  • The Houston launch controller comes with its own tool box to protect the controller and accessories between launches.
  • The Houston launch controller and accessories store easily in the included tool box, with additional room for pad equipment, motors, igniters, recovery wadding, or even a few small rockets. The battery shown in the photo is an available option, and the blast deflector plates shown are included with the Cape Canaveral launch pad (sold separately)
  • The Houston Launch Controller is intended to be used with the Rocketry Works Cape Canaveral Launch Pad (sold separately)
  • The Goddard igniter clip distribution box hangs on the 5/16 inch hex wrench that comes with the Rocketry Works Cape Canaveral launch pad. The 9-conductor 50 ft cable plugs into the distribution box as do the igniter cables' RCA plugs. An 85dB buzzer sounds inside the distribution box to indicate continuity when you press the yellow Arm button on the controller.
  • The Cape Canaveral launch pad (sold separately) includes eyelets to loop the igniter leads so it's clear which leads go to which pad.
  • Circuit Diagram for the Rocketry Works Houston 6 pad Launch Controller.
  • 12 v 5 Ah sealed lead acid battery
  • 12 Volt SLA/AGM Battery Charger


The Rocketry Works Houston Launch Controller provides robust electrical ignition for up to 6 pads. More than a decade's experience running group launches informed the design of the Houston Launch Controller, and the pad features a number of innovative efficiency and safety features:

  • Robust internal electronics ensure safe operation using a variety of battery sources
  • Removable safety key as required by the NAR Safety Code
  • Large, covered red illuminated main power toggle switch permits quick and obvious safing the pad between flights
  • 6-pad rotary dial switch that allows only 1 pad to launch at once--a deliberate choice that is safer for group launches than permitting multiple simultaneous launches
  • Audible warning at the pad, and illuminated continuity indicator at the controller when you press the yellow Arm Pad button, exceeding the NAR Safety Code requirements
  • 2 buttons are required to launch--an additional precaution that reduces the chance of accidental launches and exceeds the NAR Safety Code requirements
  • A single 50 foot cable reduces launch range clutter and is plugs into the igniter lead distribution box, which hangs conveniently on the Rocketry Works Cape Canaveral Launch Pad (sold separately).
  • Supports flights up to G power with its 50foot reach, exceeding the NAR Safety Code's 15 foot minimum safe distance requirement for up to D power, and 30 foot requirement for E through G power
  • Comes with 6 igniter leads that connect to the pad distribution box, plus extras so you're not stranded on launch day if you suffer equipment damage.
  • Designed for use with 12 volt sealed lead acid batteries to reduce the incidence of battery-related misfires common with alkaline battery systems
  • Can also use a 12 volt car or boat battery as a power supply
  • Comes in a sturdy 19 x 9 x 9 inch carry case by Stanley Tools, with all components in the box, with more room inside the case for motors and a few small rockets.

This pad is an outstanding choice for classroom use, or as a launch controller for scout, 4H, or other community group or rocketry club launches. A lot of thought and testing went into the development of this launch controller, and we feel it's the best launch controller for the purpose on the market today.

 As a thought exercise, consider for a moment the value of this launch controller.  This controller comes with everything you need to get the job done:

  • High quality, safe, and intuitive launch controller.
  • A single 50 foot cable to reach your launch pad for up to G power motors; no tangles between the controller and the pad!
  • A igniter lead distribution box that includes an audible continuity and pad armed buzzer--so spectators hear the pad armed warning coming from the pad, not the controller box.
  • A battery cable that will power strong ignitions for hundreds of launches.
  • Available 12V reliable-all-day battery and charger
  • 6 igniter leads to provide power to up to 6 pads, plus extras so you're not stranded if you suffer equipment failure

No other commercially available controller offers this much in this price range. Other offerings require you to purchase extension cords separately (add $50 to their cost), and then you'll have a tangle of hard-to-manage cords that can trip people. You'll want a toolbox to carry that tangle of cords and the rest of your gear, and again, Rocketry Works provides that, too. And some controllers may try to use alkaline batteries for a workhorse controller like this, which is a recipe for a lot of misfires over the course of a day. None of these pitfalls are an issue for the Rocketry Works Houston 6 pad launch controller.

Product Documentation

Product documentation is available here.

What's in a Name?

Rocketry Works tradition holds that we name our launch controllers after famous mission control centers, as an homage to their history and service.  For our workhorse multiple pad launch controller, we chose to  name it after NASA's Houston facilities, centered around Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX.  Since its construction in the early 1960s to support project Gemini, till those fateful words from Apollo 13 ("Houston, we have a problem"), through the shuttle programs and today, the Johnson Space Center has been the nerve center of NASA's mission operations.

600px-mission-control-center.jpgJohnson Space Center in Houston,TX


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