The Universal AstroCam by Estes is now available at JonRocket.com. The AstroCam is a small high-definition video camera that you can attach to your rocket to capture the sights and sound of a launch from the rocket’s viewpoint.
The Universal AstroCam quickly attaches to your rocket using two straps and a small piece of tape. After the flight, it is just as easily removed for use on another rocket. The camera’s compact and lightweight profile means it has minimal impact on the trajectory of your flight and can be used on almost any rocket.
The AstroCam’s chrome finish makes it easy to spot high in the sky while the camera hood protects its view from any glare. Despite its small size, the AstroCam records high-quality video footage and incredible audio. It easily detaches from the rocket and attaches to any USB port on your computer for easy video file management.
Launch Lab’s Bullet Bobby draws its inspiration from a video game villain from the 1980s and from Estes’s line of “Goonybird” model rocket kits. Featuring high-quality parts including a strong, 3D-printed nose cone and a nylon parachute, the Bullet Bobby flies on 18mm motors.
In the late 1970s, Centuri released a line of fighter jet inspired model rocket kits including the F-16 Fighter. Drawing on Centuri’s classic design, Odd’l Rockets has released its own F-16 kit.
The Odd’l Rockets F-16 features laser-cut parts, waterslide decals, a stronger body tube, and excellent instructions. But, it is the vacuum formed plastic canopy that sets the F-16 apart from other kits.
In 1970, Estes introduced the Goblin as a free kit which they included with some orders. In 1972, it appeared for sale in their catalog.
Estes recently reintroduced the kit which is available at JonRocket.com. With a 24mm motor mount and streamer recovery, the Goblin is designed for high-flying. And, with a yellow and black paint scheme and classic decals, the Goblin also looks good sitting still.
On January 19, 2006, an Atlas V launched from Cape Canveral Air Station to prepel NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft on its three billion mile journey to Pluto. When New Horizons reaches Pluto in the Summer of 2015 it will be travelling about 30,000 mph, too fast for it to be able to slow down to got into orbit around Pluto. Instead, New Horizons will snap photographs and capture data as it passes within 6000 miles of Pluto’s surface.
When I was young, my favorite rocket was the Estes Omega. I had saved for weeks to purchase the Omega and the Cineroc movie camera payload for it. I flew the Omega only once with the movie camera. But, I flew it many more times without the camera.
At the time, it seemed like a really big rocket. And it flew using really big (and scary and expensive) D motors. Although it was a two-stage kit, I always flew it as a single stage rocket. After all, two D motors were even scarier (and more expensive).
For some of the later flights of the Omega, I attached two small gliders to the rocket. The little foam gliders would separate and glide back to earth as the rocket came down under its parachute.
The little foam gliders I used back then were delta shaped, looking sort of like the Space Shuttle’s orbiter which was still just a design on the drawing board at the time. Manufactured by Guillow, the gliders cost 25 cents each.
The gliders were designed to be hand-launched or launched with a rubber band. But, I stuck a small dowel into the foam hook on the bottom of the front of the glider. Then I cut a small section out of a launch lug. I glued the launch lug section onto the rocket’s body tube centered between two fins and just high enough above the fins so that the glider would hang on the lug with the back of its wing resting on the fins.
After I placed the rocket on the launch pad, I’d hang the glider on the launch lug segment. At apogee, the glider would fall off and glide down on its own. The Omega’s mighty D engine was powerful enough to allow the rocket to carry two parasite gliders at once.
We recently added Guillow’s Delta Dart gliders to our online catalog. These are almost the same as the gliders I used so many years ago. The are are a little lighter than the ones I remember. And they cost a little more than 25 cents each. But, they work just as well as parasite gliders.
We recently added Quest’s Water Rocket kits to our catalog. We didn’t sell them in the past because we thought they were just cheap toys.
But, a few weeks ago we watched our grandson and his friends play with a set and we were impressed. The water rocket sets are well designed and constructed. And kids love them.
We found that you do have to be careful. Follow the directions to the letter and you’ll be safe and have fun. Specifically, make sure that you use the included stake to hold the launch pad to the ground so that it doesn’t tip over when the rocket is launched. Make sure that the nut and bolt on the top of the pad are tight. And, before each launch, ensure that the string is threaded through the hook near the bottom of the launch pad.
One of the newest additions to our online catalog is the Quest X-30 Aerospace Plane flying model rocket kit. Although new to our catalog, the X-30 kit has been out of production for several years. We were fortunate to have acquired a number of these vintage kits which are now for sale at JonRocket.com.
Chris Michielssen built the X-30 shown in the photograph. He describes building and finishing the kit in a series of articles in his Model Rocket Building Blog. Chris illustrates his blog posts with step-by-step photographs of the construction of the kit.
Assembled, the X-30 is a little over 17″ long. It flies on a C6-3 motor and is recovered using two 12″ parachutes. An Estes C6-3 is probably better-suited for this draggy model than a Quest C6-3. And, you may wish to replace the two small parachutes with a single 18″ parachute. A single parachute is easier to fit in the rocket and less likely to tangle on deployment.
While it is challenging to build, and can be a finicky flier, the Quest X-30 kit will make a unique addition to your rocketry fleet.