In this experiment, I will be observing the performance of three-Estes brand model rockets.
Which rocket will reach the highest altitude?
Which will have the best landing?
Which rocket is most stable during flight?

Science Terms

Altitude : the height of an object or point in relation to sea level or ground level.

Propulsion : to push forward or drive an object forward

Trajectory : the path followed by a projectile flying or an object moving under the action of given forces

Rocket : a cylindrical projectile that can be propelled to a great height or distance by the combustion of its contents, used typically as a firework or signal.

Fun Facts

  • The world's tallest and most powerful rocket - Saturn V - was launched by NASA and used to send astronauts to the moon. It was 363 feet tall!
  • A typical rocket produces more than a million pounds of thrust that allows it to carry more than 6,000 pounds at speeds topping 22,000 miles per hour. This is equivalent to the power generated by 13 Hoover Dams, carrying the weight of 8 horses, and travelling at speeds 15X faster than a speeding bullet!
  • The first rocket which could fly high enough to reach space was the V2 Missile - launched by Germany in 1942. The first rocket to actually launch something into space was Sputnik - a satellite launched by the Soviet Union on October 4th, 1957.
  • Laika, the first dog in space!

  • Space X rockets at launch site

  • Elon Musk's Starman in Tesla Roadster


I hypothesize that the rocket with the longest body and 3 fins - Hijinks - will perform best. I believe it has the most aerodynamic shape.

Possible Outcomes

  • The shortest rocket - The Exectutioner - could fly fastest because it is lightest
  • Rascal, the heaviest rocket, could be the most stable and stay in flight longest
  • The rockets with 3 fins could fly faster than the 4-finned rocket - Rascal
  • Hijinks - the longest rocket may perform best because it could fly faster and have better stability


  • 1. Gather materials for construction of rockets

  • 2. Construct the bodies of each rocket and glue fins in place

  • 3. Insert the recovery system into each rocket tube (include wadding and parachute/streamer) and place nose cone on top

  • 4. Prepare size C6-5 engines for each rocket (this will hold the fuel source and ignitor)

  • 5. Construct launch pad and insert batteries into launch controller

  • 6. Launch the rockets, one at a time, in an open area for full observation

  • 7. Observe how far the rockets fly / how fast they travel / how long they're in flight / how easy they are to recover

  • 8. Record the results and draw conclusion


  • Three small model rockets (in this experiment, I'll be using Estes brand rockets)
  • Three rocket engines, equivalent in size (I'm using C6-5 engines)
  • 3-4 squares of recovery wadding (for barrier between engine and recovery system)
  • Recovery system for each rocket that includes a parachute or streamer
  • For the body of each rocket: 1 launch lug, 3-4 fins, 1 nose
  • One launch pad with controller, to be used for all 3 launches


Rascal, our 4-finned rocket, performed best: having the closest landing and least amount of damage

All 3 rockets flew very high into the air, reaching altitudes of atleast 1000 feet!

Our smallest rocket - The Exectutioner - had the worst recovery (it disappeared in the clouds!)

My hypothesis was that Hijinks, our longest rocket, would perform best. Unfortunately, Hijinks suffered minor body damage and was out-performed by it's heavier, more stable opponent - Rascal.