As NASA and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) prepare to launch the first Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft under the space agency’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract AmericaSpace decided to take a peek at a recent offering from the company that has ignited the passion of commercial space flight fans. In this case a model of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft.
Like the popular Estes brand of rocket models this kit is a somewhat reasonable facsimile of the actual thing. It is obvious that some thought went into the making of this kit. Not everyone might be interested in an actual model to fly; some may want something just for display. As such, the plastic segment that represents the shroud around the rocket’s business end has slots where the fins that help direct the rocket in flight. SpaceX has made them clear and removable.
The kit is not without its issues however – ones which make it unsuitable for kids. The body of the Falcon 9 is basically a cardboard tube. To decorate it to resemble the F9 you use a large decal that must be carefully aligned and placed on the tube – this is no easy task.
Decal issues rear there head again in terms of the Dragon spacecraft that caps the model. Placing the decal on should be done slowly with strict attention paid to alignment.
Both of these decals will, more-likely-than-not, develop wrinkles. For the F9, these can be worked out using one’s fingernails. This is not easily done with the Dragon spacecraft.
The kit comes with all the components needed to allow the rocket to be launched and returned safely. This includes a parachute that is emblazoned with the Falcon 9 logo, a very nice touch.
Most space buffs love to have replicas of their favorite rockets hanging around as a symbol of their passion. For “shuttle-huggers” getting models and replicas has been a cinch. For fans of United Launch Alliance, SpaceX and ATK launch vehicles – the pickings have been somewhat slim. SpaceX has somewhat addressed this oversight with this working rocket model. Overall, the kit is a nice first step and is worth your hard-earned coin. With luck, SpaceX will reach out to professional replica manufacturers to have different versions of their iconic vehicles produced.
This kit is a lot of fun and even has a bit of the youthful attitude that has made SpaceX such a hit - is represented on the back of the model’s box:
*Model in this box will not reach the speeds of the magnitude described above. It will however return to you in much less time.