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An Introduction to Model Rocketry Part 1: The materials you need

Model Rocketry is the hobby of building and launching model rockets. Sounds kind of silly but that's what it is. It is called "model" rocketry because the rockets are typically built by the hobbyist -much like model airplanes and other things are built. So, one of the best aspects of the hobby is that there are two distinct phases. The first phase is the building of the rockets and the second phase is the launching of the rockets.


This is a three page introduction. On this first page I show you the materials you need. In the second part I show you how the rockets are made and in the third part I show you how to launch rockets.

Part 1: What do you need to try out model rocketry as a hobby?

If you are starting with no materials at all here is a basic list of what you need:

  • A model rocket kit (so you can build the rocket)
  • Some engines (these are the power packs that make the rocket go)
  • some fireproof wadding
  • A Launching Pad

Let's take a closer look at these items:

A Model Rocket Kit: This kit comes with two rockets that you build and the launching pad that you also build. There are lots of other kits you can purchase. I like this one because it is cheap, gives you two rockets and the launching pad. It's a good place to start the hobby inexpensively.

The Tandem X Rocket Kit

Tandem X Launch Set Estes Rockets I also have a tutorial on this rocket kit where I build it and show you how to do it Tandem X Launch set tutorial The two rockets you see on the box are the two that you get.


Model Rocket Engines: These are what makes the rocket go and each one can be used only once so you need to buy a supply of them. They are usually sold in packs of three.

rocket engine

A Typical model rocket engine.


Rocket engine three packs

Here are some typical engine packs.


Rocket Wadding

Rocket Wadding - This is a package of sheets of wadding. It is very similiar to heavy paper tissues but it is fireproof. This is an important part of rocketry. It helps prevent your rocket or parachute from catching on fire. I will show you how this is used.


launching pad

Here is a typical launching pad. This is the one that comes with the estes tandem-x kit. It is about three feet in height and how you see it in this picture is similar to how you would use it to launch rockets. The rocket sits on the metal plate and when it is launched it runs up the metal rod. There is a small guide tube on the rocket that the rod goes through.

The little black box you see is the launch controller. This has the button that you press to launch the rocket. This also comes with the kit. The red package are the wires that go from the controller to the launch pad. This way you can stand back when it launches. I will show you more about this.

Okay, Aside from that all you need now is 4 AA batteries for the launch controller and you are ready to start your hobby. Now in the next section I will take you through the steps of what you do. This is the fun part!

An introduction to Model Rocketry Part 2: What you do