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Scout Launch Day

A day for all kinds of scouts to experience rocketry!
Saturday, October 14, 2017 will see SARA's fall 2017 Scout Launch Day--a day for scouts of all sorts--Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, STEM Scouts, Explorers, Venturers, and so forth.  The launch will be at the SARA launch site, 3580 N. Reservation Road, Marana, AZ, from 9 am - 1 pm on Saturday, October 14, 2017. SARA will host scouts who want to fly rockets--either their own rockets, or, you may rent a rocket with a motor ready to fly! SARA provides the launch equipment, expertise, and last minute repair help. Scout units bring their scouts, rockets, motors, sufficient leadership to maintain control of the scout unit, and a sense of adventure! 

To help everyone have a good time at the launch, we ask that you preregister to let us know how many scouts plan to attend.

Choosing a Rocket to Build

Scout units have a lot of options for choosing which rocket to build, but you should tailor your build to the skill level of your scouts.  For first time builders, SARA recommends the School rocket, from Balsa Machining Service (BMS). You may purchase the rocket online from BMS--they are a reliable small business located in  Pahrump, Nevada--just 2 shipping days away--at  The School Rocket is a simple model with streamer recovery that is great for first time builders. The balsa fins fit nicely in the through-the-wall fin slots, and they fly nicely on A8-3 motors, which, like the School Rockets, are available at BMS in bulk packs. School Rockets are priced at $5.25 in bulk, and A8-3 motor bulk packs run $65 for 24 motors. The School Rocket instructions indicate that all you need to assemble the model is white or yellow glue (like Elmer's School Glue), Scotch tape, a stapler, and sandpaper and paint. A hobby knife (in adult hands) is a good idea for cutting the laser cut fins out of the balsa sheet.

For scouts in 3rd grade or higher who have built rockets before, you can look to build more challenging models from brands like Estes or Quest, but you should target models that fly on A, B, or C motors, and are of skill levels 1, 2, or in rare cases, skill level 3. Scouts will often want to build a complicated larger model, but unless the scout has experience and adult support, this can be a frustrating experience. Avoid the Estes Pro series or similar mid power rockets that require motors larger than D power.  Also consider whether or not you plan to paint rockets; that can add several days to your build cycle. There are many rockets that do not require paint to look good, and some can be customized nicely with marker or stickers.

Sources of Model Rockets and Motors

Tucson has a number of good hobby shops that can help you order rockets and motors. Here are a few:

Hobby Town USA

3700 E Speedway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85716 (520) 882 8888
Hobby Town USA has a good selection of model rocket kits, motors, and accessories.

Hobby Place at Ace

7071 E 22nd St, Tucson, AZ 85710  (520) 747-9473 
Hobby Place at Ace has a section of model rocket kits and motors, as well as a large section of paints, adhesives, and other modeling tools.

Online options also abound. In addition to Balsa Machining Service mentioned above, these are some reliable online sources of model rocket kits, motors, and supplies:

AC Supply 

AC Supply is an educational supply store with a modest selection of rocket kits and motors at discounted prices. Shipping from their location in Missouri tends to take 3 or 4 days, but orders that include motors may take longer..
Hobbylinc is based in Georgia (delivery time can take a week, and may be delayed due to recent hurricane activity), but they have a wide selection of model rocket parts, motors, and accessories at discounted prices.

Discount Rocketry

Discount Rocketry has a wide selection of model rocketry kits, motors, and accessories. Shipping from their California location tends to take 2 days, but orders that include motors may take longer.

Your Rocket Build Day

Also put thought into how you want  your rocket build will go. It is best to plan a build day for small groups to build their rockets, with adequate adult leadership no fewer than 1 adult per 3 grade school age scouts. In older scouts, this amounts to dens or patrols or Girl Scout troops. It is easiest to build the same model with all scouts, so adult leaders don't have to learn multiple models' instructions. It also avoids the logistical trouble of taking specific orders from scouts. 

Let SARA Help with Your Build Day

Apart from last minute minor fixes, do not plan to work on rockets at Scout Launch Day; SARA members can provide some limited assistance in last minute fixes, but only for safety related issues. Don't make that a part of your plan. In fact, SARA members can attend your build day to help with construction, prepare models for flight, and to go over range safety procedures before the launch, so your scouts are familiar before they arrive. Please email to schedule a build day visit to your unit.

Let SARA Know You Are Coming

If you are thinking of attending SARA's Scout Launch Day, please complete the pre-registration form to let us know how many scouts and leaders you plant to bring coming. We want to make sure we have enough volunteers available to help the day run smoothly, and we don't want to overcrowd our launch site.  We ask that scouts come in class A or class B uniforms; siblings of scouts can launch, too, but please keep your group together. Depending on turnout, we may need to assign time slots for each unit.  

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