Model Rocketry for Youth Groups in Southern California

Model Rocketry is a fun hobby that can grow into an adult activity or even lead to a career.

Photos from Rocketry Events

For a youth group such as a Cub Den, Brownie Den, or Indian Guide Tribe  to get involved in model rocketry there are prerequisites.
Note – if planning for an organization to attend a launch, please inform the hosting organization well in advance of how many people to expect. Many launches cannot host large numbers of people. Some need many volunteers to assist.

Pack 206 at ROCtober 2014

1) Model Rocket kits –  kits may be purchased from hobby stores or from online retailers.  For a group – bulk kits are available. Ehobbies sells kits and bulk kits.  Your unit(s) will need to assemble the kits before the launch weekend. It’s a fun activity.  Usually all that’s required is Elmer’s wood clue or carpenters glue.

Apogee Rockets provides instruction, kits and materials for model rocketry. They are one of my favorite retailers.

2) Model rocket engines – Ehobbies  also sells model rocket engines. As does Hobbylinc and Apogee Rockets.
Alternatively, at some launches, vendors are available that sell engines and igniters.

3) Locate a place to launch.  In Southern California, there are two major groups that provide lawful launch facilities:
Southern California Rocket Association.
Rocketry Organization of California
Mohave Desert Advanced Rocketry Society

Rocketry Organization of California

I am very familiar with ROC.  They have a great site at Lucerne Dry Lakebed with portapotties.

The ROCtober launch is really well organized for Youth Groups. At ROCtober 2014, there were about 800 youth on site.  Youth groups may be welcome at other times, but your experience may differ.

4) Prepare to camp. You will need tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, easy ups, water, chairs, trash bags, utensils, water bottles, fire stand (no fire on the ground).  Scouts may wish to bring a bicycle. Scout units generally camp about 1/4mi back from the launch line.

5) Food – you can cook your own food as long as it’s not on the lakebed e.g. on a stove.  A supermarket is up the road a little way back in Lucerne if you need something.

You must bring and take everything you need, but the supermarket in Lucerne is helpful.

6) The launch site is in the desert. It’s fine to camp there as part of the group, either with a trailer or tent. If tent, be sure to stake it down. W can be a problem.

Most launches are in the early morning. The mornings can be very cold and sometimes in hot weather, a break is taken in the afternoon.

For Cub Scouts, the site must be approved, and a Baloo trained individual must be on site. I am Baloo trained.  My understanding is that the LA BSA Council has approved RocStock for Cub and Boy Scout Camping. There is a lot of fun there so you don’t need to worry about it.

Also,  please read the Rocstock page on youth groups.

Mohave Desert Advanced Rocketry Society

I have been to their launch at Aerial Acres. They are properly licensed and very friendly. They are very bare bones though. But if you have a rocket to launch, you can head out there. You should have a fine time. Probably capacity – a den, tribe, or small group of youth up to about 10 youth. Bring water and food.

Also note for now, MDARS new web home is

The January 17, 2014 Launch will be a Aerial Acres and will start around 9 AM –  Come early and assist in the setup.

Aerial Acres Directions: From Mojave, go East on Highway 58. About 15.6  miles later take the Clay Mine Road exit and turn left (North). About 7.3  miles the pavement will end, continue on the dirt road (about 1/2 mile) you should see the launch site the one on the left (watch for the M.D.A.R.S. signs).  35o 06′ 17.2″ N (35 o 06.287’ N) 117 o 47′ 42.12″ W (117 o 47.702’ W)

M.D.A.R.S. is a member of Tripoli Rocketry Association the supported club  devoted to the enjoyment of rocketry. The club is the 36th prefect of the Tripoli Rocketry Association. M.D.A.R.S. Has two launch locations with FAA  waivers up to 22,000 feet. Our launches are generally on the forth Saturday of every month. Members benefit from the knowledge of other members. Kevin
Metzler,the club President Has a full knowledge of how High Power Rockets work also a full set of Aerotech RMS 29mm-54mm Hardware is provided for club  use. All launch equipment (launch control, pads, etc.) is provided.
M.D.A.R.S. Dues are $35.00 annually. M.D.A.R.S. T-Shirts may be purchased for $10.00 at launch and Polo Shirts for $20.00 and Hat’s with M.D.A.R.S. logo for $10.00 ($5.00 off one of the three, if paid with your annual dues).  (Art is copy written and designed specifically for M.D.A.R.S.).Photos of last months launch and other activities can be found at
— David Allday 11/17/2014

Adam Selene
Creative Commons License
Model Rocketry for Youth Groups in Southern California by Adam Selene is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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