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Model Rockets

Model rockets, you say, what are they ... idealizations of instruments of war? Not at all. They are idealizations of one of man's primal urges, mastery of the skies.

In practice model rocketry is safe (remote control firing, parachute recovery), inexpensive (average costs:  engines 25d, vehicles $2.50), scientific (limitless opportunity for creative one-man research), and great fun. Practical applications include smog sampling, weather studies and aerial photography. Model rocketry supplies becarhe available as a safe and meaningful alternative to the dangerous "Basement Bomber" activities of amatuer rocket builders impressed by the first Sputniks in the late 1950's. The National Association of Rocketry was formed to promote safe and educational model rocketry activities among manufacturers and enthusiasts.

Brochure:  National Association of Rocketry, Box 178, McLean, Virginia 22101

The inexpensive NAR member-ship includes a subscription to Model Rocketry Magazine, an independent and outstanding monthly mag produced by MIT students during their free time. Coverage ranges from elementary How-To articles to the unbelievably esoteric. Standard magazine format and circulation but it is managed as a sort of commune. All profit goes into an informal fund used for research and financing field trips to regional flying competitions and NASA events. Typical articles explain model rocket applications in tracking systems, telemetry, aerial photography, and activities in the Soviet Union, a country which long ago realized the educational aspects of model rocketry. Subscription available separate from NAR membership.

$5.00 (for one year, monthly) Model Rocketry Magazine Box 214 Boston, Massachusetts 02123

There are nearly a dozen manufacturers of kits and parts to choose from, but ESTES and CENTURI are consistently the best. There are many similarities between these two, but their differences are striking. Estes is the venerable pioneer, but it stresses bold innovations such as flexible landing gear and unbelievably inexpensive kits for aerial photography cameras (Still camera: $4,001). Soon to come out with a motion picture camera suitable for use in flying models ... less than $20 .. .WOW!)

Centuri is noted for kits of handsomely detailed scale models and formidable power of their larger engines. Centuri, like Estes, has a well developed educational services program where free textbooks and discount prices are offered to any sort of reasonably legitimate educators such as teachers. Boy Scout leaders and Civil Air Patrolers. Both are mail order orientated, with excellent personalized service. The safe and inexpensive engines of all manufacturers are standardized and interchangeable.  Estes and Centuri each send free newsletters to regular customers.

Model rocketry is a going thing, not only because it offers an opportunity for inexpensive creative research into the relatively unexplored field of sub-sonic rocketry, but because it is a fun way to participate in the Space Age.