Hi, this is Pack 109 from San Antonio Texas. This is our first
attempt at a Space Derby.
The space derby is similar to the pinewood derby
except that the models are miniature "rockets",
propeller driven and powered by three rubber bands - that
travel along a heavy monofilament fishing line. The rockets
are blocks of balsa wood that are carved by the boys, with
guidance from their parents or other family members. The Cub
Scout then glue fins to the rocket. The Cub Scout puts a rubber
band powered propeller on it, which needs to be wound. The
Scout then races his rocket against other Scouts down a track
of fishing line. The rockets are built from kits that are
sold at the Scout Shop.
Your pack should sets simple, uncomplicated
rules and informs each pack family before the rockets are
built. Here are some sample space derby rules. The races can
be run indoors or outdoors.
Space derby kits with building instructions
can be bought at your local Scout shop. Also available are
space derby carriers, an accessory kit, extra rubber bands,
propeller assembly kit, and space derby medals, ribbons, and
This was Pack 109 first attempt at a Space Derby.
Parents and Scouts shared tips to increase the speed of each
Scouts rocket. Several things were learned on this day; the
first thing we noticed was that most rockets had the propellers
on backwards. The cone shaped end of the propeller should
face the rocket. The propeller should be wound clockwise;
you should feel wind, as the propeller is unwound. We learned
that the course should be longer than the rockets can travel
so as not to ram into the metal poles at the end. Next time
we will try a longer distance, this will keep the rockets
from banging into the metal poles at the end. We also found
out that it is more challenging and time consuming to host
a space derby than a pinewood derby.
We found that Scouts should be told that they
would be in the next race. This allows the Cub Scout to start
winding their rockets. Each Scout was encouraged to wind 100
times. Several scouts tried to wind more and often their rubber
bands would break. While the Scouts where winding they would
sometimes loose the wind and hurt their fingers. We encouraged
parents of the Tiger and Bobcat Scouts to wind for their boys.
Several times rubber bands broke as the rockets were being
placed on the fishing line. Allow time for the Cub Scouts
to have a few practice runs. Advise Cub Scouts not to take
to many practice runs, we had a few rubber bands break after
six runs. As a Pack be sure and have extra rubber bands available.
Space Derby, Construction
Tips, Preparing for flight,
Rules & Procedures, Special