Mission Bravo Oscar

Mission Bravo Oscar



Teacher Background


Teacher Overview

Mission Packet

Mission Bravo Oscar

Grade 5-8| 9-11 (45 min) Classes

Blue Origin’s New Shepard Rocket is a vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing, crew-rated suborbital launch vehicle that is being developed as a commercial system for suborbital space tourism. Blue Origin is switching propulsion systems to solid propellant. Students must work together to determine which engine size is the best choice thinking about altitude, velocity, and acceleration the type of payload that will be launched.

Mission Bravo Oscar is complete when the following criteria are met:

  • Appropriate personnel are identified, hired, and work effectively together.
  • The mission launch is captured in a mission patch, website, video, news article, and social media.
  • A New Shepard rocket is safely built, transported, launched, and recovered after testing 3 engine types in an appropriate time frame.


Targeted Performance Expectation(s):

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

MS-ETS 1-2

Evaluate competing design solutions based on jointly developed and agreed-upon design criteria using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

MS-ETS 1-3

Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.

Common Core: ELA


Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.


Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.


Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, images, music, sound) and visual displays in presentations to clarify information.


Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.


Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.


Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.


Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening

Common Core: Math


Represent and interpret data.

Data Literacy Objectives

  • Identify different types of data (qualitative and quantitative)
  • Create data visualizations
  • Identify patterns in data

Teacher Background

What is Blue Origin?

Blue Origin was founded by Jeff Bezos in 2000 with the vision of enabling a future where millions of people are living and working in space for the benefit of Earth and to find new energy and material resources and move industries that stress Earth into space. The logo is the symbol of the perfection of flight and represents freedom, exploration, mobility, and progress. The Blue Origin motto is Gradatim Ferociter or “Step by Step Ferociously”.

Launch, Land, Repeat

Blue Origin is working to develop partially and fully reusable launch vehicles that are safe, low cost and serve the needs of all civil, commercial and defense customers. They build reusable rockets – that decrease cost and waste. In fact, 99% of New Shepard’s dry mass is reused, including the booster, capsule, ring fin, engine, landing gear, and parachutes. The rockets’ fuel is highly efficient and clean liquid oxygen and hydrogen. During flight, the only byproduct of New Shepard’s engine combustion is water vapor with no carbon emissions. The ability to launch, land and repeat is largely based on the ability of the rocket to take off and land vertically.


Blue Origin is dedicated to safety, protection of our Earth and research and development for schools, scientists/researchers and businesses. There is an ability to allow research both inside and outside of the capsule.

What is it Like to Fly?

The flight lasts 11 minutes during which time passengers travel over 3x the speed of sound and pass the Kármán Line at 100 km (62 mi). The passengers experience weightlessness for several minutes and witness life-changing views of Earth before descending gently under parachutes.

Vehicles of Blue Origin

New Shepard: Named after Alan Shepard, the first man in space.


  • Crew Capsule: The crew capsule holds six passengers and none of them are the pilot- it is completely autonomous
  • Ring and Wedge fins: Stabilize the rocket and decrease fuel use
  • Drag brakes: reduce the rocket’s speed during descent
  • Engine: This is used to propel the rocket to space and slow it down for landing
  • Alt fins: Stabilize the rocket during flight and steer it to the launch pad.
  • Landing gear – This is a very unique feature since most rockets do not have a vertical landing. 

New Glenn: 


  • The first stage of the rocket flies back to Earth and lands nearly 1,000 km downrange on a moving ship
  • The second stage engines ignite and the 7-meter fairing separates. 
  • The mission is complete when the payload is delivered safely to orbit.

Human Landing System: 



  • NASA’s Artemis Program has a bold challenge to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon
  • Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper will work together to develop a Human Landing System for Artemis

Blue Moon: 



  • This flexible lander will deliver a wide variety of payloads to the lunar surface.
  • Its capability to provide precise and soft landings will enable a sustained human presence on the Moon.

Who is Alan Shepard?

Alan Shepard was an American astronaut, naval aviator, test pilot, and businessman. Born in New Hampshire in 1923, Shepard was interested in flight at a young age, often working odd jobs in exchange for flying lessons.

Shepard passed the entrance exam for the US Naval Academy, when he was only 16 and but had to wait two years before he could enroll. While he was at the Academy, he learned to sail- a 90-foot schooner and later served aboard the USS Cogswell during World War II. After the war, Shepard began his pilot training. It wasn’t easy and it took him a lot of practice before he earned his naval aviator wings.

Then, in 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite. Americans were worried – was the United States not as technologically advanced as we thought? President Dwight D. Eisenhower established NASA and the Space Race officially began.

Project Mercury was NASA’s first manned mission, running from 1958 -1963. Its mission was to launch a man into space and return him safely. Seven former navy pilots were dubbed the Mercury 7 and became the first group of astronauts. Alan Shepard was part of this group. All of the astronauts were under 40, had at least a bachelor’s degree and were 5’10” or less (so they could fit in the capsule).

The Russians continued to get further ahead with their launch of the first dog in space (November 1957) and the first human in space (April 1961). Finally, the US was ready, and Alan Shepard was chosen. On May 5, 1961, Shepard became the first American in space. His Mercury spacecraft was named Freedom 7.

Ten years later, after some medical setbacks, Shepard flew again on Apollo 14. This time, he landed on the Moon, becoming the fifth person to walk on the Moon. Shepard was awarded many honors before he died in 1998 and is now honored again with Blue Origin’s New Shepard, a reusable suborbital rocket system designed to take astronauts and research payloads past the Kármán line – the internationally recognized boundary of space.



Blue Origin New Shepard Builders Kit

Camera or cell phone

Art Supplies


Build Supplies

  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Fine Sandpaper
  • Medium CA Glue
  • Yellow Glue
  • Wax Paper
  • Hobby Knife
  • Masking Tape
  • Primer
  • Clear Coat (optional)
  • White Paint
  • Sand Block

Launch Supplies

Teacher Overview

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Student Mission Packet

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Rocket Reporting Thumbnail

Rocket Reporting




Day Guide

Rocket Reporting Header

Grade 6-10 | 1 (7 Hour) Day

Breaking news! Local youth program reports that students are having too much fun with rockets and they don’t want to go home. Is this news true? You will find out with this program guide where students will learn about news reporting through rockets! Students will develop their communication skills, find trustworthy information, and create their own news report based on their own rocket launch. Stay tuned to learn more!


Rocket Reporting Schedule


Icebreaker Activity Printouts
Rocketry 101 Slide presentation
News Slide presentation
News Article Handouts
Computer with Internet
Projector (If not possible, you can print out the slides or improvise with a white board)
Printer (If needed)
Estes Star Hopper Rocket Kits
Estes Engines and Launch Materials (Recovery Wadding, Plugs, Starters)
Launch system
Camera (optional)
Bandanas or blindfolds
Soft obstacles like cones or blankets
Large, colorful pom poms or balls

Day Guide

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PowerPoint Presentations

Safety Presentation

Rocketry 101 Lesson

News Presentation



Rocket and Role Thumbnail

Rock(et) and Role




Day Guide

Rocket And Role Header

Grade 5-10 | 1 (7 Hour) Day

Students will explore the many careers involved in aerospace, through acting (the perfect summer activity, right?!). Students have the chance to be a human model rocket and create their own skit about a famous person in the aerospace field. They will also build and launch a rocket, the best part! The day will wrap up with a review of the professions and brainstorming their biggest role – their future careers!


Rocket and Role Schedule


Aerospace Charades Cards

Rocketry 101 Slide Presentation

Projector (If not available print slides or improvise with white board)

Aerospace Career Slide Presentation



Laptop Computers with Internet Access

Estes Star Hopper Rocket Kits

Estes Engines and Launch Materials (Recovery Wadding, Plugs, Starters)

Launch System



Day Guide

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PowerPoint Presentations

Safety Presentation

Rocketry 101 Lesson

Aerospace Careers Lesson



Rocket On

Rock(et) On



Leader Background


Camp Guide


Rocket On Student Guide

Grade 4-9 | 5 (7 hour) Days

This youth program and summer camp guide is a complete 5-day program. Rock(et) On includes all the activities you need to create a holistic aerospace experience. Activities highlight a variety of topics including STEM, art, physical activities, leadership, and teambuilding. Participants will have the opportunity to design, build, and launch rockets as well as be creative and create videos. You can also adapt this guide to your program’s needs if you only need a few activities.


Leader Background

Why Rocketry?

The key to successful educational initiatives is to create value for what you are teaching. It is important to continually connect the lessons/activities to WHY they are important. When given value, students are more inclined to be attentive and stay engaged. This creates deeper interest and passion for STEM related activities and careers.

Rocketry provides

  • Connection to STEM Careers: Rocketry and many other design, build, fly competitions are deeply connected to STEM related fields. Creating passion for these things will inspire students to explore careers they might not have previously been interested in or exposed to.
  • Skill Building: Many important skills can be gained from STEM activities. These skills will help students achieve success in many places including: school, college, future careers, and in life, regardless of the chosen career path. The activities in this program offer skill development in the following areas:
      • Growth Mindset
      • Communication
      • Accuracy
      • Attention to Detail
      • Critical Thinking
      • Research
      • Creativity
  • Teamwork: Solving complex problems when thinking about sending humans to Mars or safely launching an air taxi fleet requires a team. Learning to work with others who have different backgrounds, diverse talents and opposing perspectives is a skill that must be taught and nurtured in a safe environment.
  • Leadership: The ability to create amazing things is only the first step to success. Effective public speaking, confidence and the ability to inspire are leadership skills that must be developed along the way.

The human connection and power of inspiration are essential to developing the next generation of aerospace leaders. It is up to us to create the connection that pushes these students to reach their full potential!

Safety First!

Safety Introduction Presentation
We have included a 30-minute safety presentation for you to use during your rocket program. We strongly encourage you review this with the students before a rocket launch to ensure all students and staff understand the proper procedures.


Proper Attire
Ensure students come dressed for indoor and outdoor activities and are prepared for warm temperatures. Below are some items to remind students to bring.

  • Closed toed shoes
  • Sunscreen/sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Water bottle

First Aid Kit
Be sure you have a first aid kit easily accessible in your facility. When going out to launch rockets, be sure to bring that kit with you and have it close by.


Fire Escape Route

In case of fire, ensure staff have been briefed on the fire safety escape plan.


In Case of Emergency
Always identify an ICE (In Case of Emergency) lead for your program and ensure all staff/students know who to contact during an emergency.


Media Release
We believe in the power of a good story.
We believe in the power of education.
We believe in the power of our youth.
We believe in the power of YOU.
Your mission, your efforts, and your passion improves the lives of children. Let’s share our stories together.


We want to share your success with rocketry to the world. Together we can share the inspiring stories of the youth, families, and the communities you serve.


Please share this release form with the parents of all students attending this program prior to the program starting and email the completed forms to us at educator@estesrockets.com. We encourage parents to sign so we can all share the power of STEM education.




Send us pictures and videos from your program! Follow us on your favorite social media platforms @esteseducation and tag us!



Estes Rocket Kits

Estes Rocket Engines

Extra Wadding

Extra Starters

Building Supplies


Paint or Markers (depending on rocket kit)

Hobby Knife




Launch Supplies

Estes Launch Pad(s) & Launch Controller(s)

Water Source



First Aid Kit

Trash Bag or Bin

Other Supplies

Pens or Pencils (1 per student)

Markers, Colored Pencils, and/or Crayons

Paper (8.5 x 11)

Computer (for teacher use only)

Large Poster Sized Paper (24 x 36)

Masking or Duct Tape (enough rolls for groups of 2-4 students)

1 or 2 Liter Soda Bottles (one for every 2 students)

Cardstock, Cardboard or Manila Folders

Permanent Markers


Yard Stick


Water Bottle Rocket Launcher, such as Aquapod Bottle Launcher or StratoLauncher + StratoFins Water Launcher Kit

Bicycle Pump with pressure gauge, needed for the bottle launcher; note: do not use mechanically compressed air with launchers built with PVC pipe!

Large binder clips (1 per launch pad)

Fishing line OR smooth string

Long balloons (Many party supply stores carry variety packs that may include long balloons. Ask if they will special order packs of long balloons for you. The balloons become cylinders 5 inches in diameter and 24 inches long when inflated. They are sometimes called 524 (5 by 24 inches) airships. Find manufacturers and distributors by searching “524 balloons” online.)

Bathroom size (3 oz.) paper cup

2 straight drinking straws

50 small paper clips

Sandwich-size plastic bag

Masking tape

Small Rubber Bands



Physical Education Equipment

30 Small playground balls (ball pit balls, bean bags, or other small balls that are not to hard)
12 Pool noodles
2 Large bins (trash cans, etc.)
** below is a recommended list. (use whatever you have, get creative)**
Hula hoops
Jump ropes
Bean bags
Small toss rings
Whiffle ball bats
Playground balls
Blind folds

Optional Supplies (NOT Required)

Projector (not required but have an alternative for delivering lessons. You can also print them)
Computers OR cell phones (enough to split students into small groups)
Free video editing software (iMovie, Windows movie maker, etc.)

Microsoft PowerPoint
Skit props (or have students make their own!)
Paper cups
Popsicle sticks
Balloon hand pumps
Wooden spring-type clothespins

Estes Supporting Materials

Safety Presentation
Rocketry 101 Lesson
Rocket Academy Lesson
How to Get an Accurate Flight Lesson
Aerospace Careers Lesson
Vision Statement Worksheet
Aerospace Charade Cards
Be a Positive Influence Worksheet
Water Bottle Rocket Initial Design Worksheet
Water Bottle Rocket Revised Design Worksheet
Water Bottle Rocket Launch Score Card
Heavy Lift Rocket Mission Report Worksheet
Mission to Mars: Rocket Launch Scorecard
NASA Patent Portfolio
Estes Camper Awards

Camp Guide

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A. Vision Statement Worksheet

B. Aerospace Charade Cards

C. Be a Positive Influence Worksheet

D. Water Bottle Rocket Initial Design Worksheet

E. Water Bottle Rocket Revised Design Worksheet

F. Water Bottle Rocket Launch Score Card

G. Heavy Lift Rocket Mission Report Worksheet

H. Mission to Mars: Rocket Launch Scorecard

I. NASA Patent Portfolio

J. Estes Camper Awards

Power Up Cover

Power Up

Looking for a different lesson plan? Click HERE to see them all!




Teacher Background

Unit Plan
Student Portfolio

Grade 6-8 | 10 (45 min) Classes

In this lesson, students will answer the question, how does gravitational potential energy transform to kinetic energy in a model rocket flight? The students will read a story about humans living on Mars in the year 2343 who wish to launch rockets to the moons of Mars. They will anticipate how the gravitational force on Mars will affect their exploration.


Students will hypothesize how the gravitational force on Mars will affect the gravitational potential energy of a model rocket. After a review of potential and kinetic energy, students will practice what they learned and build and test a rubber band rocket. They will then review the data and apply their learnings to build a model rocket in groups to analyze its transformation of energy.


After the flight, the students will combine their data into a class data chart. They will compute how their rockets would be affected if they were being launched from Mars.
The student’s final product will be to complete a Claims- Evidence- Reasoning writing piece supporting their final conclusions. A traditional multiple-choice quiz is included for use if desired.


In 1949, a clandestine group of government scientists met at a secret airbase in Nevada to form Project Star Hopper. The goal was to produce a fast and maneuverable piloted vehicle to compete with the unidentified objects commonly referred to as “flying saucers.” With the nation’s best engineers on the task, plans were drawn up for a sleek and functional atomic-powered vessel that could be launched quickly to intercept the aggressors. The result was the Star Hopper – the world’s first interplanetary spacecraft. A small fleet was constructed and tested, and by 1955, they were ready to protect the skies from alien invaders. Or so we were told…


It was absolutely crucial that the Star Hoppers were able to land accurately on the stars if they were to be successful in identifying the aliens. The engineers at Project Star Hopper need your help to determine how to make the rocket land accurately for the pilots navigating space. The focus of your research will be on the recovery system and adjusting the length of the streamer


Targeted Performance Expectation(s):

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)


Develop a model to describe that when the arrangement of objects interacting at a distance changes, different amounts of potential energy are stored in the system.


Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.


Evaluate competing design solutions based on jointly developed and agreed-upon design criteria using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.


Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.

Common Core Standards - English


Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.

Common Core Standards - Math


Use variables to represent numbers and write expressions when solving a real-world or mathematical problem; understand that a variable can represent an unknown number, or, depending on the purpose at hand, any number in a specified set.


Write an inequality of the form x > c or x < c to represent a constraint or condition in a real-world or mathematical problem. Recognize that inequalities of the form x > c or x < c have infinitely many solutions; represent solutions of such inequalities on number line diagrams.


Understand the concept of a ratio and use ratio language to describe a ratio relationship between two quantities.


Use ratio and rate reasoning to solve real-world and mathematical problems, e.g., by reasoning about tables of equivalent ratios, tape diagrams, double number line diagrams, or equations.


Recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities.



The peak altitude or highest point of a rocket’s flight.


Energy that is stored due to the gravitational force of the Earth, dependent on the object’s mass and height, and measured in Joules.


Force that pulls everything down toward the center of the Earth.


Device used to ignite a rocket engine


Unit of work or energy, abbreviated as J


Energy of motion that is dependent on mass and velocity, measured in Joules


Relationship between two variables such that when one variable changes, the second variable changes in the same manner.


Relationship between two variables such that when one variable changes, the second variable changes in the opposite manner.

Teacher Background

Energy Transformation

Potential energy is energy that is stored in an object and is dependent on its position. While there are several different types of potential energy, Gravitational Potential Energy is the focus in this lesson. Gravitational Potential Energy (GPE) is the energy that is stored because of the object’s height. It is a result of the gravitational force of the Earth. GPE is calculated by multiplying the mass of the object by the gravitational force (on Earth, this is 9.8 m/s2) by the height (or distance that the object can fall). It is written:



Gravitational Potential Energy = m x g x h
m = mass (kg); h = distance the object can fall (m); g = acceleration due to gravity (9.8 m/s2) 


Thus, a heavy object will have a greater GPE than a lighter object. The higher the object is (in other words, the farther away the object is from the center of Earth), the greater the GPE. The unit of measurement for GPE is the Joule, abbreviated J.

Since GPE depends on gravitational force, an object on a planet other than Earth will have a different GPE. As an example, the gravitational force on Mars is 3.7 m/s2. An object on Mars would have less GPE compared to its GPE on Earth, assuming the same mass and distance from the planets.

In a model rocket, the transformation of energy is related to the momentum of the rocket. The Law of Conservation of Energy states that energy is neither created nor destroyed, it is transformed. In a model rocket, the GPE is transformed into kinetic energy. Kinetic Energy (KE) is the energy of motion. KE is calculated by multiplying two variables – mass and velocity. The equation for KE is as follows:

Kinetic Energy = 1/2 x m x v2
m = mass (kg); v = velocity (m/s)

KE is a scalar quantity. Since it does not have direction, KE is described in magnitude. The unit of measurement for KE, like the unit of measurement for PE, is the Joule, abbreviated J.


Energy in Rocketry

Review the steps of the rocket flight sequence, alongside the energy conversion:

Step Flight Sequence Energy Conversion
1 Electrically ignited model rocket engines provide rocket liftoff. Since there is nothing moving, the rocket’s KE = 0 and the GPE =0 since its height is 0
2 Model rocket accelerates and gains altitude.
3 Engine burns out and the rocket continues to climb during the coast phase. The rocket is gaining both speed and height, so GPE and KE are both increasing. Right before it coasts, the KE is the highest
4 Rocket reaches peak altitude (apogee). Model rocket ejection charge activates the recovery system. The rocket has the greatest height therefore the greatest GPE and there is no KE.
5 Recovery system is deployed. Parachutes and streamers are the most popular recovery systems used. Rocket returns to Earth. As the rocket falls, GPE is converted to KE.
6 Rocket touchdown! Right before landing the KE is greater than the GPE

Using the Estes Altimeter

Altimeter Functions: The altimeter will record the highest point that the rocket reaches. This is called apogee.


  1. To turn on and use the altimeter,
    1. Install the battery.
    2. Using a pen or screwdriver, slide the switch to ON.
    3. The Altimeter will display 0 feet or meters. (When not in use, always turn it off.)
    4. With the altimeter on, press and hold the button until the required function is displayed, then release it to provide access to that function.
  2. To change units from ft to m, press and hold button until UNIT is displayed, and then release the button. Press button until 0000 is displayed and altimeter is ready for flight.
  3. To clear the altimeter from the previous launch, press and hold the button until 0000 is displayed, then release. This will clear the display, but the altitude will still be stored in memory.  Data for up to 10 flights will be saved.
  4. To view recorded flights, press and hold the button until REC0 is displayed then released. Press and release the button quickly while in the REC0 mode to view each of the 1-10 recorded flights in order of “last flight first”.
  5. To exit REC0 mode, press and hold the button until the REC0 display starts to flash and release the button. Press the button until 0000 is displayed.
  6. To clear flight data memory, press and hold the button until the CLER mode is displayed and then released. Press and release once more to clear the memory of all the launch data. (Be sure you have written it down first!)

Installing the Altimeter: Attach the altimeter to the base of the nose cone with the clip. If launching the altimeter inside a rocket body tube, pack recovery wading and the parachute with sufficient room for the altimeter to fit easily.


Each Student Needs:

Student Design Portfolio

Safety Goggles





Meter Stick

Rubber Band

Bamboo Skewer


Masking Tape


Permanent Marker

Stopwatch (1 per group)

The Class Needs:

Potential and Kinetic Energy Slide Presentation (Available as part of the Unit Plan Download)

Green Eggs Rocket Kit

C11-3 Engines

Lifetime Launch System

Estes Altimeter


Exacto Knife

Camera (optional)

Unit Plan

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