Estes Mars Lander Stuff

The Mars Lander  has been one of my favorite model rockets since it's inception. ('69 to '83)

 Recently, I was lucky enough to pick one up on Ebay, already built for $50!! Sure, it's risky to buy pre-built models, but I lucked out -- this one was well worth it and in great shape, all things considered.

From the look of it, this model was built at least 20 years ago.  It has this funky antique look to the paint and slight yellowing to the decals.  

It needed some minor repairs to make it flight worthy, but that was quickly dispatched.  It didn't look like it had ever been flown, and still had the original rubber shock cord. (yes, I replaced that with a new one)

RockSim 7.0 file




Just the launch

Making the movie

Naturally, I wanted to fly this little gem with a camera and the DMC fit it... well, nicely.  (yes, it does look odd)

I picked up a RocSim of the Mars Lander, added the weight and shape for the camera and found it would fly on an Aerotech 18mm D13-4 (alt. est. 380')

Wanting to make this more interesting, I did the first 2 flights without the DMC camera.  I used the the recommended C6-3 motor and video taped the flights from a couple of different angles.

The first flight went flawlessly and landed upright, but on the second I didn't wrap the chute in the shrouds.  I was hoping it would open sooner, but this seemed to cause the parachute to snag the legs and it came down sideways.  (I caught it)



On the third flight with the camera and the D13, I packed the chute like I did for the first flight and it worked perfectly. BUT it looked like it was going to land on the concrete, so Peter caught it. (whew)

So, uh...we had to stage the movie's landing sequence. (Shades of Capricorn One).  Sorry, but that part where the Lander is nicely framed on the ground was done for your entertainment benefit. 

For you who don't recognize the music, it's the theme from Lost in Space, the last couple of seasons.

Hope you enjoy it still. ;)


The Crash (flight 5)

For some reason (defective C6-3?) the rocket became unstable just moments after launch.  Needless to say it was disappointing but fortunately the damage wasn't severe. One leg broke free but it was easily fixed. The nose was crumpled a little but that too was easily fixed.  It will fly again, but maybe never again on a C6-3, I'm looking at 18mm reloads and Apogee 18mm Ds (once they're back in production)


Estes Outlander (Mars Lander Redux)

On the left is the "CSM Lander" modification, on the right is the "stock" Outlander.  

PhotoShop 7.0 file of the above image - in case you want to play with your own design changes.  

Coming soon, the RockSim file. - home site