There was a rocket contest in Houston last week. My current project is to model a Little Joe II rocket, and they happen to have one on display at Johnson Space Center. I really wanted to get some photos of the details on the real rocket, and driving down for a contest launch sounded like a good excuse. Participating in an NHRC launch also gains me a gate pass for JSC. That lets me hang around the rocket park as long as I wish!

As you may know, I enjoy building paper models. There are some plans available free online for building model rockets out of paper. I thought it would be fun to combine both interests, though not terribly competitive.

My weapons of choice were designed for the Civil Air Patrol model rocketry program. They offer two basic kits, one for A, B, and C motors while the other is for D motors. I was able to use both versions in this contest. I also took advantage of the payload section they have as a option to hold an egg.

Neither rocket won the contest for me due to my mistakes. I did not have a D motor with an ejection delay long enough. This resulted in the rocket breaking in half when ejecting the streamer at high speed. My eggloft flight never had its parachute open. This again was my fault. We had a rain storm approaching, and I rushed packing the parachute into the rocket. It did allow a close to worst case test for the payload bay. The egg survived the flight event without a parachute. I believe the paper cone being crushed on impact acted as a shock absorber. One of my normal plastic egg holders would have just shattered.


Overall I enjoyed building and flying these rockets. They are inexpensive and fly well. I will probably try designing my own payload bay in the near future. The CAP version was quite oversized for my egg. There was plenty of room for a second egg which may come in handy during dual eggloft contests. Reducing the payload bay dimensions and using a large transition instead of thin body tube should result in a competitive rocket.

The D powered rocket functioned perfectly. The only change I plan to make for the future is printing out the parts in full color.

Also, here is a photo of the rockets I took to Baikonur. On the left is the Saturn 1B kit I purchased, and on the left is the Bumper-Wac model my teammates designed. My Bumper-Wac is now rather pink on top due to the ejection powder we used. I am currently learning how to use some new software I obtained to help create photo galleries on websites. Hopefully I can post my trip pictures very soon.