Space Derby

General Info

The space derby is a racing event where Cub Scouts race miniature balsa wood gliders that are propelled by a rubber band and propeller.

Each scout receives a kit with the required materials to whittle and shape into their own rocket vision. Shape it, decorate it, and then race it! The great part about this project is that no special woodworking tools are required to build the rocket- the balsa wood can be trimmed down with a hobby knife or potato peeler and then sanded to the desired shape. It’s a great opportunity for parents to work with their scouts on designing and building a fun rocket that will be raced against others in the Pack!

Pack 315 reintroduced this event in 2021 and it was a huge hit!
Unfortunately Scouts BSA has since discontinued producing materials for the event, but Pack 315 has inventory and will continue the event as long as possible!

Space Derby Rules

The Space Derby rules below must be followed in order for your rocket to pass inspection and be allowed to race.

Official Rules:

  • Due to limited inventory, only Cub Scouts will be able to participate.

  • Scouts must build a new rocket for the year (or have one that has not previously been raced).

  • Rockets must be submitted for inspection on race day at the registration table.

  • Each rocket will be inspected, registered, and assigned a sticker with a number and/or color.

  • After a rocket passes inspection, it can no longer be modified or altered by the Scout or parent. The only modifications allowed will be to repair broken parts or damage sustained during handling or racing.

  • No later registrations will be accepted after the race has started.

  • Each rocket propeller will be wound 100 turns for each race.

  • If rockets don't reach the end of the track, the one that goes furthest is the winner.

Rocket Requirements

In addition to following the official rules, cars must meet this requirements:

  • Only parts contained in the official BSA Space Derby kit may be used to build the rocket.

  • Weight – No Minimum or Maximum (as long as all necessary parts are used)

  • Width – No Minimum / 6” Maximum (including fins or any accessories)

  • Length – 61⁄2” Minimum / 7” Maximum (not including propeller or fins)

  • Height- the rocket must be able to be installed on the plastic track hanger (see picture on the front of the Space Derby Kit box). As a result, no feature on the top of the rocket can interfere with this track hanger, which tapers from the top of the hanger fitting that is attached to the rocket to a maximum of 1.5” from the surface of the rocket at its highest point.

  • Number of installed rubber-bands: 3

  • Do not glue the nose cone/propeller assembly in place.

  • You may add accessories and decorations to the kit parts if the rocket otherwise complies with these rules, is flight-worthy, structurally sound, and doesn't interfere with another rocket or the track during the race. Add-on details cannot add any unfair propulsion advantage to the rocket (as determined by Race Officials).

  • Rockets must use the hanger fitting supplied in the kit. It must be installed with the tapered end facing forward.

  • Create a notch or groove in the tail of the rocket to seat the band-holding dowel so it doesn't spin as the rocket is wound. Do not glue the band-holding dowel in place.

  • Any additional starting or propulsion device is prohibited. The rocket must be propelled only by the thrust created by the propeller unwinding on the twisted rubber bands.

2022 Space Derby Assembly Tips.pdf