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Pack 109

Space Derby

Pack 109 Space Derby Race Pictures


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 trophies.

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 Events,


Created May 2, 2004
Modified September 8, 2009
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