Starter Sets

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Active Member
Jan 22, 2009
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I was looking at Starter sets online because I would like to get my nephew into Rocketry. I am torn between The Estes Alpha 3 and Quest Astra 3. He is 10 years old so I was looking at those 2 because they seem pretty simple. Does anyone have any input on which is better? I never actually bought a starter set when I began. I already had a model I had built and a friend of mine gave me an old launch pad and launch controller.

Also, I am a bit perplexed about a starter set I am seeing out there called the Sky Eagle Starter set. Is this a rocket company I have never heard of? Does anyone have any input on that set?
Sky Eagle is sold in the USA by Apogee (here is the link you forgot to provide):

It is a Chinese rocket and a Chinese knock-off of the Estes pad and controller. I've seen them live and in person.

Of the 3 you asked about, the winner by a LONG margin is the Quest set. The controller is far superior. The rocket is far superior. The pad is good. The motors are great and if you get a new set from Quest direct, they will probably include the new Q2G2 igniters which are the best igniter ever made (in my personal opinion).

The Astra is better than the Alpha because it is longer and also uses a Kevlar shock cord anchor. The longer tube actually allows you to install the proper amoount of recovery wadding. The Alpha is too short (in my opinion) and most beginners end up with melted parachutes after one or two flights as it is difficult to install enough wadding AND install the parachute.
i'd agree with the above, except, my club lies the alpha as the first rocket up nearly every meeting, its had loads of flights and is still going strong.
i'd agree with the above, except, my club lies the alpha as the first rocket up nearly every meeting, its had loads of flights and is still going strong.

I'm probably agreeing with you as well. The Alpha can be flown many times by an experienced rocket flyer. In the hands of a beginner, the short length makes installing wadding and the parachute difficult.
I was in WallyWorld the other day and they had an Estes starter kit only available at Wally World for like $14 with a decent sized snap together rocket.
I'll take exception and suggest the Quest Astra as a great starter for the following:

1) Their launch controller is far better than Estes' imo. It has both audible and visual warnings. Estes' controller only has the visual.

2) The Astra is simply Quest's competition for the Alpha. The Alpha is more well known for a variety of reason, but the Astra is a higher in quality of materials.
Thanks for the input everyone. i went with the Quest Astra III Starter Set. I bought it direct from their site. Im sure my nephew will be happy.
I'd take a quest igniter any day over estes for LPR. Did you think ahead and order the 12v adapter for it or even know they had one? It's only like $4-$5. If not, give them a call and maybe they can tack it on. I don't have one but will order one if I ever order anything direct.