Roger SmithRoger Smith created and maintains PayloadBay.com. With his wife, Bracha Smith, he runs JonRocket.com.
Roger Smith with his "Mustang Sally"
Roger's father was in the US Air Force and was stationed at Eglin AFB in the Florida panhandle for 20 of his 26 years of service. So, Roger grew up in Northwest Florida.
In the sixth grade, Roger was introduced to model rocketry. As a class project, the students built and flew Estes Mark II rockets. Roger's interest in rockets continued through junior high school until other interests took over.
Roger graduated from the University of West Florida in 1985. He began working as a software developer for a defense company. Almost 25 years later, Roger is still working for the same company - sort of. While Roger didn't change jobs, the company merged with other companies then was bought by a larger company.
In 1994, Roger moved to the Orlando area in Central Florida. About the same time he bought the "25th Anniversary" reissue of the Estes Saturn V kit. Building the Saturn V re-introduced Roger to rocketry.
In 1999, Roger married Bracha Smith. Together, Roger and Bracha bought a new home. The builder of the home, Ken Wright, saw Roger's collection of model rockets. Having built and flown rockets as a youngster, Ken was inspired to get involved again in rocketry.
One day, Ken told Roger about an area rocketry club he had "discovered." Roger and Ken attended a Spaceport Rocketry Association launch. There, they discovered larger rockets.
Today, Roger has a Level 2 certification and flies rockets at several Central Florida sites.