Estes Education is excited you are here to begin your rocketry journey! We want your rockets (and lessons) to takeoff safely. We understand it seems like a lot to learn so follow these steps to take learning to new heights!
Identify Your Lesson or Activity
Estes Education is committed to bring you lessons that inspire your students. Check out our materials including lesson plans that meet curriculum standards and youth program guides. Since rocketry is so much more than STEM, it is easy to add rockets to your class or camp with our resources!
Pick the Perfect Rocket
There are several things to consider when deciding which rocket is best for your group of students:
It is important to think about available time to make and launch the rocket. Intermediate and advanced rockets require glue drying time and additional prep time before the launch. If limited on time, a beginner rocket would be perfect for you.
The rocket engine you use determines the launch area required. Our smallest engines, (½ A or A) need 100 ft square area. As you increase in engine size (B, C, etc.), you need double the space since engines double in power with each subsequent letter.
If you are not able to launch a rocket at all, there are plenty of activities you can still do including our Rocket Stability Kit.
Still No Clue?
Choose Your Engine
Estes Industries is known for our solid propellant model rocket engines. Solid propellant engines allow people a consistent, safe, and reliable way to launch model rockets. Rocket engines come in various sizes and are single use. Single stage ½A, A, and B engines are a great starting out point for new rocketeers. The Blast Off Bulk Pack is another great option that has a variety of engines to test.
Sometimes there are multiple engine options for a rocket so let’s break down the 3-part labeling system. Hover over each part to see what the labels mean.
Total Impulse The first part of the code is the letter (A – F) and designates the relative power or total impulse. Rocket engines double in power with each succeeding engine letter. For example, a B engine is twice as powerful as an A engine and an A engine is twice as powerful as a 1/2A. 1 of 3
Average Thrust Following the letter is a number and it indicates the average thrust of a rocket motor. The larger the number, the higher the thrust. Therefore, a large thrust value will take off much faster. This can be important to consider for a few reasons. If you have a windy day, you might want the rocket to take off fast, so the wind doesn’t impact the trajectory or path of the rocket. You might also want a high thrust value if your rocket is heavy (or has a payload) to get your rocket to liftoff. An additional consideration is that a higher thrust value will experience more drag so it will not travel as high (if altitude is important). 2 of 3
Time Delay The last value of the labeling system is another number and indicates the time delay in seconds. This tells you how long the rocket is going to coast. If your rocket is lightweight, you might want it to coast longer. On a windy day, you would also want a shorter delay, so the wind doesn’t carry your rocket away. If a delay is too long, your rocket could already be past its peak or apogee before it ejects its recovery system (parachute or streamer). A short time delay is used in two-staged rocket systems (more advanced rockets). 3 of 3
Get Your Accessories and Supplies
To launch your rocket, you will need a launch pad and controller. We recommend our Lifetime Launch System that comes with a controller, launch pad, and lifetime limited warranty.
Also required for every launch are starters, plugs, and recovery wadding.
- Starters heat the propellant and ignite your engine to launch. The igniter in the rocket engine nozzle is heated by an electric current supplied by a battery-powered launch controller. It is important that they are placed properly.
- Plugs hold the starters into place in the engines
- Recovery Wadding is flame resistant material packed between the recovery system (streamer or parachute) and model rocket engine to protect the recovery system from hot engine gases.the recovery system from hot engine gases.
With every engine order, you will receive starters, plugs, and recovery wadding but it is often helpful to order extra of these items just in case.
HALF-WAY CHECK POINT
Do you have all you need for your lesson or activity and rocket launch?
Build Your Rockets
Prepare Your Rocket for Launch
Now that your rockets are complete, we recommend preparing as much as possible ahead of time and before heading outside.
Get Your Group Ready to Launch
- Stay away from power lines, buildings, tall trees, and low flying aircraft.
- The launch site should be free of an obstructions, dry grass, or weeds
- Do not launch in rain or high winds!
- School athletic fields or parks are adequate for small size rockets but consider the rocket engine before picking a location to launch.
- Establish launch rules before heading to the launch area! Rules can include launch order, spectator location, and who gets to launch the rocket and recover the rocket (we suggest the rocket creator).
- We recommend utilizing tables and cones to designate a launch area and a viewing area as shown below. Only launch crewmembers should be close to the launch site.
You are prepped and ready to fly!
Hover over each of the numbers to view the launch steps
Remove the safety cap from the launch rod
To prevent eye injury, be sure to place the safety cap on the top of the rod when you are not launching 1 of 6
Place the rocket on the rod via the launch lug
The launch lug is the smallest tube on the side of the rocket. 2 of 6
Connect the micro-clips to the starter
One wire should be connected to the red clip, while the other is connected to the black clip.
Clips should NEVER touch. You can bend the wires to make sure the clips are not touching.
After a few launches, the micro-clips may start to get dirty and should be cleaned with a nail file or sandpaper. It is important to keep the clips clean. 3 of 6
4 of 6
Stand back and clear area
It is required to stand back at minimum 15 ft.
5 of 6
Put the key in the launch controller
When not in use, we recommend having the teacher or leader keep the key on their lanyard or wrist.
6 of 6
Countdown and launch!
If possible, allow each student to press the launch button.
We recommend that the builder is the only person allowed to retrieve the rocket.
Make sure to clean up any residual debris from the launch site.
We recommend bringing a camera or smart phone to the launch to take pictures and videos of all the memories you will create.