R1 and Alice’s Estes Zinger.

After having it built for a month, we finally flew R1, the first rocket I’ve designed in ~30 years. I had put this together overnight as a backup rocket in case something happened to Alice’s Estes Zinger at her first launch, but we did not wind up flying R1 then. Yesterday’s PARA520 launch presented an opportunity though and it had a great debut flight, sailing straight up and then… drifting into an intensely muddy but fortunately empty cow pen. Ok, that last part could have been better, but at least the clean paint job did not get particularly dirty.

R1 modeling in OpenRocket.

R1 is a very basic rocket largely made out of parts from an old Estes Designer’s Special box. Although no doubt overkill for such a straightforward rocket, it was modeled in OpenRocket in order to adjust the sizing and hit a good stability caliber. It has a balsa nose cone, BT20 tube, and four trapezoidal fins. These were cut by hand from 1/6″ balsa but I made a mistake and oriented the grain weakly, which I only realized when they snapped in transport. So I cut sticker paper for both sides of each fin and glued the leading edges, so now they look sharp and are very strong. Recovery system is a small parachute and it launches on 1/8″ rod. The finish is simple spray painting that was literally still drying in the car on the way to our January launch… The purple body came out particularly rich and smooth though despite the hasty work.

On the launchpad at PARA, March 7.

On the launchpad w/ Alice’s orange starter rocket.

In the end I’m very pleased with this simple rocket. Clean looks, strong, flew well. Can’t ask for much more for a last minute, late night scratchbuild.