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RockSim Virtual Rocket Contest
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Airbus Pic Claude Paquin has become our fourth guest judge and creator of this Virtual Rocket Contest.

The theme for this contest is Big and Fat.

This contest was inspired by the new Airbus A380 carrier. This monster of the skies will be able to carry 555 passengers with a range of about 9000 miles.

As we all know, life is not only made of minimum diameter rockets, and it is often necessary to have a decent amount of cargo space while maintaining flexibility and good overall performance.

Side Note: Not a Rocket, but Impressive. See this A380 Slide Show (2.4M)

Contest Requirements:

  • RockSim Owners: Entry must be (1) RKT files (any version)
  • RockSim DEMO Entries: Entry must be from version 8 Demo
  • Non-RockSim Entries: Entry must include all the details necessary to recreate the rocket in RockSim, which can then be tested in the RockSim version 8 Demo
  • Name your Rocket
  • Contestants may only have (1) entry
  • Contestants must be on EMRR's Announcement List to be eligible
  • Build Bonus: Bonus points will be gained if you build, fly and produce pictures of the rocket:
    • +1 point for picture of the rocket static
    • +1 point for picture of the rocket launching or descending
  • Newbie Bonus: To encourage new contestants, bonus points will be awarded to first- and second-time contestants
    • +1.6 points for first-time entrants
    • +0.5 points for second-time entrants
  • Early Bird Bonus: To reduce log-jams near the contest deadline early entrants will receive bonus points, based on the time they submit a qualified design.
    • If there are 10 entrants or less, the early-bird bonus will be +0.9 points for first entrant +0.8 points for second entrant etc. to 0.1 points for 9th entrant
    • If there are more than 10 entrants, the early-bird bonus will be (0.1 * Number of later entrants).
    • No early bird bonus during final week, regardless of order of entry
  • Bonus points are added to the final score.
  • Entries must be received by 4/30/2006.
  • Contest will take place from 5/1 - 5/7.



RockSim Rocket Design Requirements:

  • Cargo Space requirements:
    • All designs must have an internal cargo space (payload space) of at least 555 cubic inches. You may have more cargo space than the minimum.
    • The cargo area must be made of standard body tubes from the Rocksim database and have an outside diameter of at least 4.000 inches.
    • Tubing ID Minimum Length Required
      PML PT-3.9 3.9 46.5
      LOC BT-5.38 5.38 24.4
      PML PT-6.0 6.007 19.6
      LOC BT-7.51 7.515 12.5
      You can use the table (right) to determine the minimum length of your payload area based on popular airframe sizes. The smaller the diameter, the longer the payload area has to be. Your choices are not limited to these sizes. You can use whatever is in the Rocksim database. The formula to determine the minimum length of the cargo area for straight tubing is L= 555 / (3.1416*ID*ID/4).
    • Note: This is the minimum available space required. Couplers are allowed in the cargo bay without penalty if you want to extend it past the standard tube length. If you want to use a tube in part as cargo space and in part for parachute or electronics, you need to add a bulkhead to separate the two zones.
    • You may not use the cargo space for your parachute, shock cord, or any other object. This space is reserved for the payloads used in events 2 and 3.
    • For multi-stage designs, the cargo space has to be in the sustainer.
  • Body Tubes:
    • All tubing must come from RockSim database.
    • Tubing sections may not be longer than their database default lengths. Tubing sections must be joined by realistic couplers, bulkheads, transitions, centering rings, or sleeves.
    • Each rocket must have at least two different airframe sizes. There is no minimum length.
  • Motor Configuration:
    • Designer's choice, with a minimum of 2 engines (staged or cluster)
    • Maximum total impulse allowed is 2560 N-S (full K motor).
    • You must choose your motors for each Event
    • All motors contained in this file are valid. (
    • All motor tubes have to be filled for all events. Motor size may be one size smaller than the motor mount tube (i.e. 38 mm in 54 mm, 29 mm in 38 mm, etc…).
    • Motor delays must be per the .eng file or a user-selected delay if a mass of 2 ounces is included for a timer. The timer will allow you to specify your delay with a precision of 1 second. In other words, you have to round your delay to the nearest second (just to avoid those 8.7180223642 second delays…)
    • No manual modification of the .eng file
    • Motor overhang will be the default 0.5 inches unless told otherwise.
    • If you use more than one stage or want to do air-starts, you must include a mass of 2 ounces for electronics.
  • Fins:
    • There must be at least 2 sets of 3 - 8 fins.
    • Each qualified set must have a semi-span and a root length equal or greater than half the diameter of the tube it is mounted to. (You know why; this judge does not like microscopic fins)
    • At least one fin set must be a Custom Design with at least 7 corners (include leading and trailing edges). Corners closer than 1/8" to each other are allowed but do not count toward the required number (the idea is to have interesting shapes and not just rounded corners).
    • Additional sets of 2-8 fins are optional. These extra fins do not need to meet the location, semi-span, or root-length requirements. (microscopic fins can go here)
    • Fins can not be any thinner than 3/16 (0.188") of an inch if balsa, cardboard, or paper, or 1/16" (0.063") if stronger material.
    • Tube fins and ring fins are allowed, but must have both their mass and drag accounted for.
  • Recovery:
    • Parachute recovery.
    • Parachute must be at least 0.001" thick.
    • Maximum size: Whatever will fit into the body tube.
    • Minimum size: Speed at landing must be less than 20 feet/sec.
    • You must include a realistic shock cord.
  • Other:
    • Launch lugs are OPTIONAL. We will be flying from our trusty virtual 6-foot tower.
    • Materials must be standard weights that are in the Rocksim database
    • Materials must be standard thicknesses that are in the Rocksim database
    • NO CP Overrides
    • NO Mass Overrides (other than those in the standard RockSim database)
    • Mass Objects ARE allowed for adjusting CG. Mass objects may not be located in the cargo area of the rocket.
    • Must have at least 1 caliber of stability (RockSim Based) when loaded with your selected motor(s)

Contest Events:

  • Your rockets will participate in four events and will accumulate a total score. All events will use a 6-foot (72") launch tower and your choice of motor configuration (different for each event). For each event, you must also choose a launch angle, no more than +/- 20 degrees.
    1. Altitude Efficiency: Go as high as you can, but do it efficiently. The score for this event will be calculated as follows: Altitude efficiency based on cargo volume = Max Altitude * cargo volume / total impulse.
      • Settings for this event will be: calm winds (0-2 mph), fairly constant speed (0.01). No thermals.
    2. Cargo Efficiency: It is important for your design to be able to carry a large payload to far away destinations. For this contest you will carry a payload (mass object of your choice) in your cargo area and try to keep it in the air as long as possible. Note: You must place your mass object in the center of your cargo area.
      • Score = time in the air * cargo weight in ounces * cargo volume in cubic inches.
      • (Hint: Remember to maintain your landing speed under 20 feet/sec.)
      • Settings for this event will be: calm winds (0-2 mph), fairly constant speed (0.01). No thermals.
    3. Accuracy: The score for this event will be based on a combined ranking from two categories. For this event your mission is to lift your bird to an altitude of 500 feet and land it as close as possible to the pad. You must carry a 3-pound payload for this event.
      • 3a) closest to 500 feet altitude
      • 3b) lowest deployment speed
      • 3c) closest to the pad
      • (Hint: This is mainly about engine selection and launch rod angle.)
      • Settings for this event will be: calm winds (0-2 mph), fairly constant speed (0.01). No thermals.
    4. Drag Race: The score for this event will be based on a combined ranking from these two categories. No payload for this event.
      • 4a) Fastest time to clear the tower
      • 4b) Highest top speed (Hint: Lightweight rockets will give you an edge here).
      • Settings for this event will be: calm winds (0-2 mph), fairly constant speed (0.01). No thermals.
  • Flight Conditions:
    • Cloud Coverage: No Thermals
    • Launch Guide Length: 72 inches
    • Misfires: None
  • DQ Conditions:
    • The only cause for DQ is if your landing speed is higher than 20 feet/sec.
  • DQ Results:
    • No points just for that event.
  • Submission Checklist
    • Contestants must provide one RockSim file
      • RockSim RKT file
      • Rocket Name
      • Limit of 2560 N-S per flight
      • Motor and rod angle selections for Events below:
        • (Launch angle limited to +/- 20 degrees. Be sure to give the proper "plus" or "minus" sign indication. If no sign is specified, we will assume you wanted "minus", into the wind.)
Motor Configuration Launch Angle User Selected Delay Mass Object
Altitude Efficiency _________ ____ Degrees   0 Ounce
Cargo Efficiency _________ ____ Degrees   ___ Ounces
Accuracy _________ ____ Degrees   48 Ounces
Drag Race _________ ____ Degrees   0 Ounce


PRIZE TABLE (Can you contribute? Earn a point in the EMRR Challenge by contributing under your name!):

Link Out
$10 Gift Certificate for something of your choice!

Peter Stanley

(Counted toward 2006 EMRR Challenge)
Scale Bash
1 Copy of Scale Bash
Shock Cords
1 inch Shockcord set in lime green with sizes in 3,15,20,and 30ft a $35.00 value

Bill Cooke
Semroc Squire
(1) Semroc Squire Kit
Pemberton Technologies
(1) Pemberton 3FNC Kit (Retail on the kit is $99)
Chan Stevens

(Counted toward 2006 EMRR Challenge)
ExoSkell Nike
(1) each Estes Exo-Skell and Quest Nike-X
$20 Gift Certificate for something of your choice!

Bruce Sexton

(Counted toward 2006 EMRR Challenge)
(1) Semroc Hydra VII
Sirius Rocketry
Sirius Rocketry
(1) Decal Sheet Three-pack which will include an Outlander/Mars Lander Decal Sheet, a Detail Decal Sheet #1, and our forthcoming Detail Decal Sheet #2. These are all huge 8-1/2 x 11" full-color waterslide decal sheets, valued at $6.50 each ($19.50 for the bunch).
SpaceCad Logo
(1) SpaceCAD Registration License

Let the Games Begin!

Current Standings
#11 - Bob Cox Semi-Centipede of Zeu image 0 0 0 1
Length = 614.5"
Diameter = 4.0"
Weight = 16.7 lbs
Last but not least, Bob Cox entered his "Semi-Centipede of Zeus". Somehow Bob must have sensed Bill Cooke’s entry and decided to build an even longer rocket. Bob Used 16 sections of 4 inch tubing for a total cargo volume of 6,461 cubic inches. "It is over 50 feet tall. That's half of 100 feet, hence the name: The Semi-Centipede of Zeus". Err… So that’s how he designs his rockets…
#4 - David Allen Viceroy image 0 0.8 0.5 2
Length = 89.5"
Diameter = 4.0"
Weight = 2.8 lbs
David Allen is our fourth contestant and he submitted "Viceroy", a single stage, 4-inch rocket that has a cluster of one 54mm motor and… two 6mm motors! An interesting concept based on smaller cargo volume (he went for the minimum 555 cubic inches), and low weight. A classy design that includes two sets of three fins located at the base of the rocket and giving the illusion of only one set of 6 fins. With a name like that, no doubt this rocket is intended to dethrone someone…
#5 - Chan Stevens Fat man in the Bathtub image 0 0 0 3
Length = 127.4"
Diameter = 11.7"
Weight = 20.2 lbs
Chan Stevens’ entry is called "Fat man in the bathtub". I do not dare to ask when and where he got the inspiration for this design… Chan went the route of a two-stage design using 11.4 inch tubing for his cargo area. With a cargo volume of 4593 cubic inches, a long boattail and elliptical fins for the sustainer, this rocket is bound to do well in the first two events. Will that be enough to earn him the coveted title? Time will tell.
#3 - Andy Peart Attack'Em image 0 0.9 0.5 4
Length = 115.1"
Diameter = 11.7"
Weight = 23.1 lbs
Andy Peart used 11.4 inch tubing to create this mean looking one-stager aptly named "Attack ‘Em". Is he trying to intimidate the other contestants? Andy used a very short 6 inch tube located at the base of the boattail of the rocket as his second airframe diameter. "Attack ‘Em" has 4899 cubic inches of cargo space and it is obviously designed to take advantage of the "cargo multiplier" in events 1 and 2.
#2 - Todd Mullin VRCX image 0 1.0 0 5
Length = 163.4"
Diameter = 4.0"
Weight = 6.6 lbs
Todd Mullin stacked several 4 inch tubes to get 1214 cubic inches of cargo volume with a relatively small frontal area. He calls his rocket VRCX (for Virtual Rocket Contest #10). His design features two stages, a very compact nose cone, and booster fins that make you wish this rocket never comes in ballistic!
#6 - Ben Levison Dark Matter 2 image 0 0 1.6 6
Length = 126.3"
Diameter = 4.1"
Weight = 5.6 lbs
This is Ben’s first participation in a VRC. Welcome and good luck! This unique design called "Dark Matter" was submitted by Ben Levison. He will be using a cluster of four motors, coupled with a 4-inch diameter cargo bay with an internal volume of 866 cubic inches. A truly unique fin arrangement gives this rocket a mystifying look.
#1 - Phil Handley Anti-Crambaster image 0 1.1 0.5 7
Length = ?
Diameter = ?
Weight = ?
1) Phil Handley had the first entry for this contest and submitted this two-stage, 4 inch rocket called the "Anti-Crambaster". Phil takes the approach of near-minimum cargo volume (578 cubic inches) and low drag to maximize altitude and speed.
#8 - Bill Cooke Cetus image 0 0 0 8
Length = 547.0"
Diameter = 6.2"
Weight = 45.6 lbs
Can you say forty-five-footer? For this contest Bill Cooke has created the "Cetus", a behemoth of a rocket 45 feet long and 6 inches in diameter. No doubt about Bill’s Strategy: 12,142 cubic inches of cargo space will certainly help in events 1 and 2! Even the Airbus A380 would be intimidated by this thing. By the way, the name Cetus comes from the constellation of Cetus the Whale.
#9 - Dave Austerberry Oracle of Prometheus image 0 0 0 8
Length = 215.5"
Diameter = 4.0"
Weight = 7.1 lbs
Dave Austerberry is our ninth contestant and he has concocted the "Oracle of Prometheus". This is a two-stage rocket with a cargo bay made of 4-inch tubing. Overall capacity is 1613 cubic inches. I do not know much about mythology but I sense there is a connection to Zeus somewhere in there…
#10 - Doug Gardei Time Cop 2 image 0 0 0 8
Length = 98.8"
Diameter = 5.5"
Weight = 14 lbs
Doug Gardei is our tenth contestant, with his entry named Time Cop (2). Time Cop has a cluster of one 54 mm and 8x29 mm motors. The cargo section is made of 5.5" tubing and it has an overall cargo volume of 614 cubic inches.
#7 - Bruce Levison Meltdown image 0 0 0 9
Length = 177.9"
Diameter = 4.0"
Weight = 6.5 lbs
Following in his son’s steps, (sounds weird, doesn’t it?) Bruce Levison submitted this "puller" design he calls "Meltdown", which features front mounted motors. Is this just a friendly competition between those two, or is it part of a plan for this father-and-son team to rule the universe? In any case, Bruce’s design uses 4 inch tubing and has a cargo volume of 1181 cubic inches.

Big and Fat Contest
Final Standings

Name Rocket Event #1 Points Event #2 Points Event #3 Points Event #4 Points EB NB BB Total Bonus Total Place
Phil Handley Anti-Crambaster 1 1 4 2 1.1 0.5 0 1.6 9.6 7
Todd Mullin VRCX 2 5 4 4 1.0 0 0 1 16 5
Andy Peart Attack 'Em 4 10 1 1 0.9 0.5 0 1.4 17.4 4
David Allen Viceroy 1 0 7 10 0.8 0.5 0 1.3 19.3 2
Chan Stevens Fat Man in the Bathtub 7 4 7 1 0 0 0 0 19 3
Ben Levison Dark Matter 1 1 1 7 0 1.6 0 1.6 11.6 6
Bruce Levison Meltdown 1 1 1 5 0 0 0 0 8 11
Bill Cooke Cetus 5 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 9 8
Dave Austerberry Oracle of Prometheus 3 3 1 2 0 0 0 0 9 8
Doug Gardei Time Cop 2 1 1 4 3 0 0 0 0 9 8
Bob Cox The Semi-Centipede of Zeus 10 7 10 1 0 0 0 0 28 1

EVENT #1 - Altitude Efficiency:

As expected the larger rockets scored well in event #1. Bob Cox got off to a good start, and is leading the event with an efficiency score of 11,369 . His rocket had a large cargo area, but was still just light enough to be launched on a long burning K250W. Chan Stevens and Bill Cooke also fared well in this event with respective scores of 8,454 and 7,395. Worth noting is the motor selection for David Allen's rocket. With a cargo of only 555 cubic inches, he managed to get an efficiency score of 5548 by using only 320.6 N-s of total impulse.

EVENT #1 - Altitude Efficiency Results Table (click here)

EVENT #2 - Cargo Efficiency:

Oh, the drama! In event #2 one of our contestants pushed the envelope a little too far and exceeded the landing capacity of his bird. As a result we have a DQ for landing speed in excess of 20 fps. It is Andy Peart who seemed to have found the best combination of cargo volume, payload mass and hang time. His flight resulted in a score of roughly 343 millions. He is followed by Bob Cox, who lifted an impressive 336 oz. of payload and generated a cargo efficiency score of 299 millions. Todd Mullin takes third place despite a relatively modest cargo volume by managing a hang time of nearly 840 seconds and a score of 219.7 millions.

EVENT #2 - Cargo Efficiency Results Table (click here)

EVENT #3 - Accuracy:

After events 1 and 2, where the big oversized rocket had the edge, many competitors are looking forward to events 3 and 4 shift the advantage. Event #3 includes three sub-events: Closest to 500 feet altitude, lowest deployment speed, and closest to the pad. Although it is relatively easy to get two out of three, many contestants had to sacrifice either on deployment speed or on landing accuracy in order to optimize the other two. Let's see who got all the parts of the puzzle together: Todd Mullin had a great start, with an altitude of 499.58 feet; only 0.42 feet shy of the objective. He was followed closely by Bob Cox and Doug Gardei, with 1.03 and 1.28 feet respectively. Not sure what happened to David Austerberry here. It seems like he forgot to add his 48oz. payload when running his sims. In the second part of the event, it is Chan Stevens who scored the most points, with a deployment speed of 0.55 feet per second. He was followed by David Allen at 1.22 fps and Andy Peart at 1.49 fps. Lastly, Phil Handley landed his bird 11.098 feet from the pad to take the honors of the "closest to the pad" portion of this event. He was followed by Bob Cox at 21.586 and David Allen ad 28.229 feet. Three categories, three different leaders. In the end, it is Bob Cox who accumulated the most points thanks to two second places. The final results for event #3 are: Bob Cox in first place, followed by David Allen and Chan Stevens, tied in second.

EVENT #3 - Accuracy Results Table (click here)

EVENT #4 - Drag Race:

Drag Race! This will be the best opportunity for the smaller rockets to accumulate points and move up in the overall ranking. This event is divided in two parts: Time to clear the launch rod, and highest top speed. In the first part of this event we have David Allen and Ben Levison sharing first place with a time of 0.103 seconds. They are followed very closely by Bruce Levison, who cleared the rod in 0.109 seconds. In the second part, David Allen left his competitors in the dust with a top speed 2,162 feet per second. Ben Levison got second place with 1649 feet per second and Bruce Levison got third with 1,532 feet per second. Overall, it is David Allen who takes the top points for the event. He is followed by Ben Levison in second place and Bruce Levison in third. Worth noting, Bob Cox, the current leader in the overall points finished this event in eighth place and added only one point to his score. Will he be able to maintain his lead???

EVENT #4 - Drag Race Results Table (click here)


  • If we submit a design and it doesn't qualify for some reason, are we allowed to rework the design and resubmit or even submit a new design?
    • Yes, either, both...we will review them and let you know.
  • What is the measure for the one caliber rocket stability requirement Barrowman or Rocksim?
    • RockSim.
  • Show me an example of submission data to this contest?



Ejection Delay

Launch Angle

Mass Object

Altitude Efficiency

K550 + 2 X I200 Ignited at 4 seconds

10 seconds

0 Degrees

0 Ounce

Cargo Efficiency

K695 + 2 X H268 Ignited at 0 seconds

8 seconds

+2 Degrees

80 Ounces


I357 + 2 X H128 Ignited at 1 second

6 seconds

-7 Degrees

48 Ounces

Drag Race

K1275 + 2 X H165 Ignited at 0 seconds

12 seconds

-3 Degrees

0 Ounce

  • How are Contest Points scored?
    • An event "placement score" is determined based on your rank. First place gets 10 points, second place 7 points, third place 5 points, fourth place 4 points, fifth place 3 points, sixth place 2 points, seventh place and below get 1 flight point. If you DQ due to excessive landing speed your score would be zero (must be a qualified flight to score).
    • Your overall ranking will be based on your total score for the four events.
  • Aren't the RockSim 5 and 6 users going to be upset about not being able to use the RockSim 7 variations? How about using the other software?
    • No, RockSim 8.0 Demo is now available at Apogee
  • How about using the other software?
    • Okay. What do you have? We will need to build up your model in RockSim 8.0 to participate.
  • Drag coefficient: Should we use the default Cd (0.75 for sustainer, 0.78 and 0.80 for boosters), or should we calculate Cd at simulation time?
    • Calculate at Simulation Time. Also, it will be set to "Use the Rocksim Simulation equation in simulations".
  • I didn't see anything about dual deployment (i.e. drogue chute and main chute). Is that allowed?
    • No, you must use the "Deploy at engine ejection" option, or you can select your ejection time, rounded to the nearest second if you choose to use electronics (which requires a mass object of 2 ounces) .

The winners agree to write a kit review using the format guidelines included in EMRR's site. Previous winners are eligible for future Rocket Give-Away. EMRR assumes no responsibility for the kit once it leaves our location. EMRR is not liable for any damages or injury caused by the assembly or use of the kit.

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