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Celebrate the 45th Anniversary of the Moon Landing with a DIY Adafruit model rocket!


Thanks to Adafruit super fan Dennis (caitlinsdad on Instructables) for sending in another one of his great Adafruit themed projects! This one is a scale model rocket to celebrate the 45th Anniversary of the moon landing. Very cool!

Semi-scale? Super-scale? Fn good-enough-for-government work-scale? Make realistic model rockets based on real rockets. This is the Little Joe II, test vehicle for the Apollo space capsule which was launched on a Saturn V rocket. Wow, it’s been 45 years since the first landing on the moon with Apollo 11. I remember watching that on a black and white TV.

This is a recreation of a model rocket that I built from scratch as a kid. Estes had a Little Joe II model rocket and the Saturn V which were the coolest things and top of the line. Couldn’t afford to get one at that time so I built my own. Model rocketry was a great thing to get into since it was a way to learn about the “Space race” or who was going to get on the moon first. Any geek worthy of attending Starfleet Academy would know their spacecraft history. From the Mercury program, Gemini, and to the development of the Apollo program, space capsules that carried astronauts into outer space have always been fascinating. And Soyuz was the only other game in town.

Model rocket launch day was always exciting because that meant we had saved up enough to buy a pack of engines. It was a rare occasion to get C6-5s since they were more expensive. We launched from the middle of a small park in Brooklyn, always hoping for favorable wind conditions so that the rockets would not drift into the creek or hit the trees(yes, they grow in Brooklyn) when the parachute deployed. And also, hoping that big dry cell battery still had enough of a charge to make the nichrome wire ignitors glow to fire up the engine.

This turned out more of a static display model bigger than it ought to be but with slight modifications it could still fly, maybe with a couple of E or F engines. Cool to hang from the ceiling. Way back when, I only recall from seeing in magazines that people in Poland or Czechoslovakia were experimenting with high power model rockets. But alas, here in post 9/11 NYC, it would be difficult to fly even small model rockets without causing alarm, not even sure if it is legal now but supplies are sold at local craft stores.

Paper, thin cardboard, glue, some balsa wood and paint were all you needed. Model rocketry encompassed all the basics of crafting and the thinking of engineering. I just wanted to put up this instructable to show everyone what little it takes to stoke the imagination. Even if you do not have building skills, that’s what it is all about. Learning, doing, making mistakes, try again. Get hands on. Get experience. Make it better.

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