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Plans included in the Cub Scout Space Derby Kit

Read complete instructions and review the plan to identify the various parts of the kit. Each kit contains the following parts: one each the propeller, brass bushing, nose button, plastic tube, wire propeller hook, hanger fitting, plastic dowel and a number sheet, plus two balsa body blocks, four rubber bands and three plastic sheets for wing or fins; instructions and plans.


Pliers to bend the wire, paint brushes, and medium and fine sandpaper to shape the rocket (No knife)


First cement the two balsa body blocks together, using only water based wood glue. Before the glue dries, align the blocks evenly, and then insert the nose button temporarily in place, to be used as a guide when sanding the rocket. After glue is completely dry, shape the rocket body, using only sandpaper (no knife). Grooves for the hanger fitting and fins can be scored into the balsa, using a pointed object such as a pencil (see plan for location). Coat rocket with at least two coats of base paint. While paint is drying you can cut the fins to your design and assemble the propeller unit as shown in the drawing. When paint is thoroughly dry, sand entire rocket with a fine grade sandpaper, then finish painting the rocket in your favorite color and design. Now carefully glue the hanger fitting and fins in place, using the same glue as is used for the body blocks.

Note: The fin and hanger fittings can be glued in place either before or after you paint the rocket. You may find it easier to glue the fins and hanger in place, after painting, but care must be taken not to use too much glue, or you can mar your finish.

The rubber band motor is most important for achieving top performance. The rubber should be lubricated with a rubber lubricant. In the test flight, first try two rubber bands to determine if they provide enough power for the weight of your rocket lf not, increase to three rubber bands. An extra rubber band is provided in the kit. Do not over wind your motor on your first flight. Wind fifty (50) turns, then release; wind one-hundred (100) turns, then release, etc., until you are satisfied with the performance.

Maximum wind should be approximately 150 turns The more turns in the rubber band motor, the faster the rocket will fly, but remember, the rubber has just so much elasticity before it will break. Therefore, those few extra turns can produce either a winner or a broken rubber band. BE PREPARED!

The rocket design shown is only a suggestion. You can design your own rocket, but you must use the materials provided in the Space Derby kit.


Rockets are flown on guide lines of 50 lbs. test monofilament fishing line. The suggested length is 40 feet suspended between two posts as tight and as level as possible. Lines can be lengthened at your discretion. No rocket carrier is included in this kit. If you wish to test your rocket prior to the race, you may wish to purchase your own Rocket Carrier (Catalog #17098) at your Scout Distributor. For a pack Space Derby, see instructions and information on the Launching Rack described in the 'Cub Scout Leader-How To' book (catalog #S33831).


A small hand drill, as illustrated, is excellent for winding the rubber band motor, and also helps to speed up the event. When using a mechanical winder, it is advisable to have one person hold the rocket and propeller while the other person stretches the band about twelve (12) inches. Then as you wind, gradually shorten the distance between the winder and the rocket (see illustration). Winder fitting and the hook for inserting the rubber band are hand made from coat hanger wire. They are not included in this kit (see Space Derby Accessories). When using the wire winding fitting, remove any sharp edges on the tips.

Space Derby Instructions

© Boy Scouts of America 1980