Mars Lander - Scratch Built - 3" Nominal Diameter

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Launch Lug and Spool Modification

Notched the spool rear centering for the Kevlar shock chord. This will allow routing the Kevlar from the external lugs down into the spool.​
003.JPG 006.JPG001.JPG 002.JPG
Foot Pads

A new pair of shoes..... I cut these on the wood lathe and then drilled (3) 3/8" dia. Forstener bit holes in each pad for the legs / struts.​

001.JPG 002.JPG003.JPG

004.JPG 005.JPG006.JPG

And that last couple of days of snowfall really filled up Mt. Princeton. That likely means some quality launch time ahead.

Last edited:
Gonna be a busy day!

Do you preload your birds (wadding when needed, chutes, motors sans igniters) at home before heading to launch site?
Motors, yes. Chutes, maybe. I reuse a lot of the chutes, they're all in disconnect swivels.​
Last edited:
Hadn't thought about the foot pads, I'm guessing the help out the CP a good bit. Also suspect the cost a bit of altiitude, but it's a SPORT ROCKET.
Spar Urethane Gloss

Bought a quart of Spar Urethane Gloss ($22 :oops:) and applied a couple coats to the Mars Lander.​

001.JPG 002.JPG004.JPG 003.JPG 2024-05-21 Mars Lander Open Rocket Photo Studio.jpg
Last edited:
That bright wood finish could almost justify a steampunk treatment, though I'm not actually into steampunk. Will look good either way. On the next one, I suppose it would be destructive to use wood from a bonsai that's at the same scale as your model. Just to get the grain on the right scale. ;-)
High Temperature Paint

Shot some Rustoleum High Temperature Paint on the tube extension and centering ring that will get the brunt of the ejection charge.​
Who needs expensive hardwoods like balsa when the backyard is full of pine. Money better spent on BIGGER MOTORS!
Some people's back yards are full of paulownia.


For people who haven't heard of it, paulownia is very light, comparable to the balsa that Guillow used to put in some of their die-crunched plane kits, and is invasive in certain parts of the USA. It grows very fast. There are other places where it's a native tree. Plant one in your back yard, wait a couple or three years, and you will have a lifetime supply of model rocket wood.
Last edited:
Some people's back yards are full of paulownia.
So lucky to live where the paulownia wood grows. A solid paulownia Mars Lander would be something launched at 8,800 feet above sea level in a drag race with the heavy high country pine that takes forever to grow. Maybe it could fly on an F15 at that altitude?
It has that 60's to 70's Colorado Mountain gift shop look that certainly appeals to childhood memories of this present day old dude. My inner child is tugging on mommy's skirt saying "I WANT THAT ONE!" No dear, mommy says, the space toy is too expensive. How about that little treasure box with an Estes Park decal on it? I still have that box, but now I can have the space toys too! :)