It Actually Is Rocket Science
I've never once made a model rocket. I've always wanted to, but apart from "tube with explodey rocket part", I really didn't know where to start with designing. I recently found an open-source application that should help me with my lack of rocket science know-how: OpenRocket.
The aspect of actually designing a rocket appeals to me, because not only will I have a better chance of launching a rocket successfully, but I'll also be able to compare expected results with actual results. If my carefully designed rocket veers into the neighbor's yard and blows up the dog house, I want to be able to figure out why!
Screenshot from the OpenRocket Web Site (http://openrocket.sourceforge.net) Depicting a 2-D View of the Rocket Design Process
If you've always wanted to launch a model rocket, but never had that really cool middle-school science teacher that showed everyone how, check out OpenRocket. Even if you did launch rockets in school, with OpenRocket, you should be able to design a far more complex (and more awesome!) design on your computer. If you have any success with your pre-designed rocket, I'd love to see a video! Send a YouTube link to shawn at linuxjournal.com.