Space Derby Rules & Guidelines
Cub Scouts will find the Space Derby exciting. They blast off with models of miniature “rockets” propeller-driven and powered by three rubber bands that travel along a heavy monofilament fishing line. The official space derby kit includes all necessary materials and instructions for building. Join in the fun as the countdown begins for the space race of the century.
RACE SUGGESTIONS FOR PACK ORGANIZERS OF THIS EVENT
1. To stage the race, boys wind up their rocket’s motor (rubber band), then hook the rockets over the guidelines, centering the rockets between the vertical dowels and locking the propellers behind the horizontal dowels on the starting gate. Start the countdown and fire at ‘zero’ by lifting the rear of the starting gate frame which releases the rockets.
2. Run the race in heats, up to four contestants at a time. Boys work hard on their rockets, so each boy gets to try at least twice instead of eliminating him from competition after the first race. For example, in a 6-boy den, try heats of three boys each. The winner of each heat goes into the den finals. Then race the other four again with the winner competing with the other heat winners for the den championship and entry into pack finals.
3. Recruit adult partners as your flight operations team – two as starters with green flags, two as judges with checkered flags, and two as gate-keepers to line up the boys. Use other adults as inspectors, scorekeeper, etc.
4. Leaders should have extra rubber bands and props handy for emergencies. Remember that it takes three rubber bands to fly each ship properly.
5. To save time, whenever a ship gives any trouble, pull it off the line and run it with the last heat. Allow boys to wind propellers before coming to the starting gate.
6.Use Power Pro fishing line. Power Pro is a high-tech “super-braid” line that has almost zero stretch and is considably thinner for a given pound test. It’s surface is also very slick. The 60 lb test I used is about the same diameter as typical 20 lb mono. I tested it in the back yard before deciding to use it and my test rocket required about 30% fewer turns to go the 50 feet verses regular Mono and got there quicker too. This is fast stuff and I highly recomend it to anyone wishing to tune up their track. The no-stretch property of this line makes it easier to get each lane set to the same tension also.
7. Track:It is also nice to load the starting gate with 4 space derbies. I could not imagine what 6 lanes would be like!
8. Measurements that are NOT included: The upright dowels (to stabilize the space derby in the starting gate) should be 3 inches tall and spaced about 2 inches apart.
9. Thread the monofilament fishing line through each eye on the gates back and forth. Do not make separate lengths of line for each lane. This makes it easier to make all the lanes the same tension by simply pulling the gates away from each other. Weigh down the starting and ending gates with sand bags.
10. Tie several (5) pieces of cloth at and just beyond the finish line. This acts as a bumper stop without damaging the propellers.
11. Carefully look at the illustration in the Cub Scout Leader How-To Book.
12. 100 turns, 3 rubber bands for a 45 foot run. To reduce rubber band breakage, do not wind more than 100 turns.