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Hello,
Model rockets have been around for over 30 years. I have seen a lot of model rocket companies come and go and some product lines have increased and decreased quite a bit over the years. Was there ever a Golden Era of model rockets? If so when was it?

Brian
 

sandman

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Actually, model rockets in thier present form have been around for about 47 years.

The First were produced in about 1957 and bring really big bucks on Ebay or The Rocketry online auction. I think the last Rock-A-Chute (one of the first) brought in about $3,200!

The golden age is believed (my opinion) to be the late 60's throught the 70's.

Some collectors and some of you younger wippersnappers believe it stretched into the 80's.

I think the original Golden Age of model rocketry ended when Estes bought out Centuri (or was it the other way around?):confused:

Actually I believe we are in a new Golden Age right now. OK, let's call it a renaissance.

Companys like Squirrel Works, Fliskits, Thrustaero and SEMROC are currently producing quality kits with good ol' balsa parts.

sandman
 

qMaxx

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IMO, the "Golden Age" of hobby rocketry would be from about the late '60's to the very early '80's. A lot of innovation was going on at that time, especially in the early '70's, and the hobbyists benefitted greatly from that, with new and unique designs, techniques and materials.

I have a collection of Model Rocketry Mags from the early '70's, and there's some really interesting stuff in there. A lot of stability questions that we take for granted were worked out in that time, not to mention boost glider methods were changing (Jon Robbins' Groundhog swing-wing series). The kits that nearly everyone here lusts after were sold in that time frame (Estes Maxi-Brutes, Mini-Brutes, Goonybirds, the 2 Saturns, Interceptor, Orbital Transport...Centuri's SuperKits, Little Joe II, Orion, Taurus, Vulcan, X-24 Bug, etc). The early '70's saw the beginnings of onboard electronics (Estes TransRoc), crude guidance (an MRM from '70 or '71 had a cover story about ram-air guidance), and things we could never do nowadays (launching an Estes Saturn V inside the Astrodome, anyone?).

There are other reasons too...like that's about the time I first got into rocketry (my first rocket was the Estes Vampire starter set...my first kit was the Apogee II - hey, I was 8 and had no clue about skill level and such...I just knew it looked neat:D ), and I suspect that that's about the time most of us here were just getting started.

Edit: Sandman...the only reason I mentioned the '80's was because that was about the time that many of the "popular" kits (mainly those I mentioned above) started disappearing.
 

shrox

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The golden age is now. After I am dead it will be over. Then all Shrox designs will be sealed in a capsule and launched into space, eventually spiraling into the Sun to be consumed by the fires of nuclear fusion.
 

SecretSquirrel

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Originally posted by shrox
Then all Shrox designs will be sealed in a capsule and launched into space, eventually spiraling into the Sun to be consumed by the fires of nuclear fusion.

How many 1/4A's will you have to cluster to do this?

;)
 

Justy

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Mabel, start crankin' out more 'Skeet motors...
 

shrox

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Originally posted by SecretSquirrel
How many 1/4A's will you have to cluster to do this?

;)
Oh, I'll be hybrid-ized.
 

SecretSquirrel

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Originally posted by sandman

Companys like Squirrel Works, Fliskits, Thrustaero and SEMROC are currently producing quality kits with good ol' balsa parts.

sandman

Thanks for the kind words
 

mikeyd

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While I find myself reminiscing about rockets of my youth in the 60's and 70's, I believe we are in the Golden age now! With some of the great creative minds here, Shrox, Flis, SandMan, and Secret Squirel to name just a very few, and the availability of resources given us by todays technology, we have many avenues available now that we did not have in the past!
Happy flying, and Happy Fourth!
 

DynaSoar

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Originally posted by bswan72
Hello,
Model rockets have been around for over 30 years. I have seen a lot of model rocket companies come and go and some product lines have increased and decreased quite a bit over the years. Was there ever a Golden Era of model rockets? If so when was it?

Brian
I've been flying them for 40 years. THIS is the Golden Age so far. Later, when things are even better, that will be even more Golden.

My prophesy for the future of rocketry: someday soon someone will purchase parts "off the shelf", whether from rocketry companies or other sources, and build a rocket that does what CSXT's custom built GoFast did -- reach space (100km+). The stuff is available. My figuring is it'd cost less than a new car. After that, more people will do it, and the rest of the hobby will become known as the lower powered but relevant part of that activity.
 

Gus

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It's now.

Low, mid, and high power kits galore.

Build-your-own courses, hybrids, reloadables, and single-use motors, and low power stuff available throughout the country at Walmart.

Tremendously creative new designs from Flis, Shrox, and others. And even Estes starting to show signs of creativity again.

Magnificent scale models from Sandman, Apogee, Cosmodrome, Scale Models, Neubauer, the Launch Pad, et al.

Incredible model rocket design software, and computers to run it on.

Internet access to model rocket shops across the country and world.

Daily auctions on ebay of hundreds of rocketry items, all available without leaving my house.

And most imporantly, places like TRF and EMRR where you can get advice from the most knowledgable people in the hobby, immediately, with no admission fee!

I've said it before, I'll say it again, this is a WAY better hobby now than it was when I was a kid.

The Golden Era of model rocketry is right now.
 

nomopbo

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Wow Gus,
Darn near brought a tear to my eye;)
That is pretty much what I was thinking, but I am too new to the hobby to comment.
Well said.
 

kelltym88

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Originally posted by Gus
It's now.

Low, mid, and high power kits galore.

Build-your-own courses, hybrids, reloadables, and single-use motors, and low power stuff available throughout the country at Walmart.

Tremendously creative new designs from Flis, Shrox, and others. And even Estes starting to show signs of creativity again.

Magnificent scale models from Sandman, Apogee, Cosmodrome, Scale Models, Neubauer, the Launch Pad, et al.

Incredible model rocket design software, and computers to run it on.

Internet access to model rocket shops across the country and world.

Daily auctions on ebay of hundreds of rocketry items, all available without leaving my house.

And most imporantly, places like TRF and EMRR where you can get advice from the most knowledgable people in the hobby, immediately, with no admission fee!

I've said it before, I'll say it again, this is a WAY better hobby now than it was when I was a kid.

The Golden Era of model rocketry is right now.

I've got to agree with Gus, with the resources available today, one can build just about any kit wanted, and some at a fraction of the cost of ebay. Personally, I have been clonning kits lately and am getting more satisfaction from this hobby than ever before.
 

flying_silverad

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I would have to say this will probably be considered a "Golden Era" of sorts. Look at the impact the internet has had on the hobby in terms of exposure. I think you'll see a large influx of newbies and an increased showing of BARS.
 

Guest
Hello again,
A lot of good points in this thread. I guess it is how we define Golden Era. I think right now we have the best available resources to build just about any type of model rocket. Another way to look at it is how many people are involved in the hobby. I sure would like to look at the NAR membership numbers. It would be interesting to see how many members they have now and in the past years.


Brian
 

jflis

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It's hard to see the "golden age" when you are living it. I agree with those who say it is now. It's interesting as I was having just this conversation at LDRS last week. 20-30 years from now it will be easily recognized, but the golden age of rocketry is right now.

Enjoy it folks :)
 

TheRadiator

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I'm with sandman in calling this a Renaissance. However, my view is probably a bit skewed by the fact that I started in 1988, which looking back was in the middle of the "Dumbing Down Age of Model Rocketry" in the 80's thru 90's. IMO there can only be one Golden Age and that belonged to you guys who built and flew in the 60s and 70s.
I think the current "age" has grown from nostalgia of the Golden Age and the dissatisfaction of what was commercially available.
 

fehskens

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I agree with everyone who's said the real golden age is now. Despite all the hoohaw about the BATFE, things have never been better for sport rocketry. Just like there's still a lot of great music to be written in the key of C, there's still a lot of great rocketry to be done up to G total impulse. We have better materials and tools, a much more active and collaborative community, a much larger selection of kits and motors.

I recall the early days of model rocketry (late '50s and early '60s) with considerable fondness and nostalgia, but I suspect that has much to do with the fact that I was a kid then, and sport rocketry was relatively new. But there's no design from that era that you can't build today, with a little resourcefulness. Sure, we'd all like to see the B3-5 (later B14-5) and the A10-0 make a comeback, but maybe they will.

len (NAR 4726).
 

Zack Lau

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I'd have to agree the time is now, especially if you are into building your own electronic payloads. We are at the point in which electronic parts are small enough for model rockets, yet big enough for skilled kitchen table experimenters to work with. While you can't get the parts at the local radio store, you can get them delivered to your door via your favorite shipping company. Imagine having barometers sensitive enough to measure altitude, magnetic sensors that can detect the Earth's magnetic field, and accelerometers accurate enough to get a useful measurement of altitude!
 

shrox

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Not to blow my own horn, (Oh well, TOOT!) I would trace the current rennisance back to 1998 in Austin Texas, where I built the first Hyperion to fly with AARG the Austin Area Rocket Club.



Pretty much all that Estes was offering was plastic Star Wars crap and "The Dude". So I made something different. Ping pong balls were the secret that started this new age of rocketry.
 

TheRadiator

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I remember when I returned in 2001. It was a Super Shot starter set in Wal-Mart for less than $20. Of course, I have deeper pockets than I did in the '80s and early 90's. I think I quit model rocketry in 1991. At that time, I spent all my spare time mowing lawns or raking leaves.
 
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