Space Derby Rules, Procedures and Tips for 2013

Space Derby Rules

All rockets must pass the following inspection to qualify for the race:

  1. Only basic materials supplied in the Official BSA kit may be used. The hanging device supplied in the kit must be used.

  2. The nose cone (propeller assembly) must not be glued in place on the nose of the rocket. A notch or groove should be formed in the tail of the rocket to seat the band holding dowel. The band holding dowel must not be glued in place. (These rules allow band replacement in case of breaks)

  3. The rocket body may be no longer than 7 inches, not including the propeller and fins. Width 2.75 inches -Three rubber bands per rocket. Each Pack must supply extra rubber bands if the Pack should need them.

  4. There are no restrictions on the weight or design of the rocket. Rockets may be detailed in any way as long as it does not exceed length restrictions, is flight-worthy, structurally sound and does not interfere with another rocket during the race.

  5. Rockets with wet paint will be disqualified

  6. Scout may use graphite powder between the propeller and the bushing if desired. Other forms of lubrication are prohibited.

  7. Scout shall use rocket built for this year, no previous year rockets will be allowed.

  8. Each ROCKET will be wound the same amount of turns. Track will be 40 foot set up. (if available an auto winder will be used on race day)

  9. Prior to each heat, rocket numbers and lane assignments will be announced. Pilots are to take their rocket from the space hanger and give them to the official winder and then take their position at the finish line. Upon completion of the race, “Space Command” will give the rocket back to the pilot to place back in the designated space hanger.

  10. At registration judges will assign a number to the rocket and separate it by Den.

  11. Once the rocket is submitted for entry, no further adjustments can be made except in the case of mechanical failure (see 6).

  12. The race will be double elimination. A rocket must lose twice before it is eliminated.

  13. Any entry that experiences a mechanical failure will be allowed to re-race if it can be repaired during the same heat. It will count as a heat loss if it cannot be repaired prior to the beginning of the next heat. All repairs of this type must be done with “Space Command” observing and certifying as to its flight worthiness.

  14. In the event that all rockets don’t reach the end of track, the one that goes the furthest is declared the winner.

  15. One Rocket Only per scout.

  16. Racing volunteers are only allowed in the Space Track area.

  17. No late registrations will be accepted after den has started the race.

  18. Racing will be conducted using the Lane Rotation Method

  19. All rulings by “Space Command” are FINIAL.

Note: All illegal rockets must be disqualified prior to racing. Please don’t cause disappointment and embarrassment to you Scout by allowing an illegal rocket to be raced at the Pack level, brought to district, and insisting that it be raced.


Space Derby Procedure

  1. Every boy brings his rocket to the inspection table to have his entry checked and numbered.

  2. Then the scout goes to the registration table where his name and rocket’s number are entered on a heat sheet.

  3. Contestants report to gatekeeper, who lines them up in the order in which they will compete. As the cub time approaches he will begin to wind his rocket.

  4. When the cub scouts name is called, he will hook his rocket on the guideline assigned to him.

  5. The gatekeeper releases the rockets.

  6. The winner takes his rocket to the registration table for recording. He then returns to the spectator area to wait until his name is called again.



  1. Rockets are to be submitted to the registration table.

  2. Each rocket will be inspected, registered and assigned a sticker with a spacecraft number.

  3. After registration, rockets will be held by “Space Command” in the designated space hanger until race time.

  4. If at registration, a Rocket does not pass inspection, the owner will be informed of the reason for failure, and will be given time within the official registration period to make the adjustment.

  5. The rocket you compete should be a new rocket, with a balsa wood body, not one built in a previous year.


Space Derby Pre-Race Check List

  1. Propeller is balanced. Sand if necessary.

  2. (Remember to learn the direction to spin propeller THIS SHOULD BLOW WIND TO THE REAR OF THE CRAFT)

  3. Propeller wire is as short as possible. Notch on propeller engages propeller wire securely.

  4. Rocket body is shaped as small as possible. FAST ROCKETS HAVE A MINIMUM PROFILE.

  5. Inside of body is hollowed out to reduce weight. If possible, select the lightest body you can obtain. LIGHTER ROCKETS GO FASTER.

  6. Plastic hanger is fastened securely to body.

  7. Groove for rear dowel is deep enough so dowel does not twist when rubber motor is wound tight

  8. Rubber bands have been tested to select the most powerful. Lubricate rubber bands in castor oil or a glycerin/soap mixture.

  9. Propeller nose button is lubricated with graphite.

  10. Rocket body is waxed to a high gloss to decrease wind resistance.

  11. Fins are accurately aligned so rocket flies straight.

  12. Rocket is balanced fore and after when a pin is inserted in rocket carrier hole.