Rocketry Loses Another Friend

Darrell Mobley created Rocketry Online, one of the first rocketry web sites on the internet. Later, he started Rocketry Planet which has become the premiere site on the web for rocketry news. Rocketry Planet also hosts one of the most popular rocketry discussion forums.

Darrell Mobley died a few days ago.

Darrell was an active rocketeer and I met him several times at NEFAR launches. He usually brought a selection of his amazing collection of rockets including a number of Estes Maxi-Brute Honest Johns modified to fly on high-power motors that are almost as large as the rockets.

I just spent some time reviewing photographs I took at NEFAR launches. Looking for a photo of Darrell to include in this article, I found him in a few shots. He always wore a bright yellow t-shirt which made him easy to spot. None of the photos seemed approprite to use to illustrate this post, but, I

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Ellis Kansas Declared ‘Rocket Town’

The city council of Ellis, Kansas, passed a declaration to call the city “Rocket Town” on July 28, 2011. The declaration is in honor of the fourth anniversary of Big Creek Rocketry, a rocketry education program offered through the Ellis Public Library.

At the city council’s regular meeting on July 5, 2011, Ellis mayor Dave McDaniel read the proclamation calling for the city of about 2000 residents to be called “Rocket Town” on July 28. On July 28, Big Creek Rocketry will host a night model rocket launch.’s Second Anniversary Celebration – A Sale and Free T-Shirts is celebrating its second anniversary, but we’re the ones giving away the gifts! Complete an order of $100 or more with between now and Wednesday, July 7, 2011, and we’ll send you a FREE JONROCKET.COM T-SHIRT.

The new shirts are also available for purchase from

We also have many of our products on sale at UP TO 15% OFF our already discounted prices. Please shop early since the special sale prices are available only on in-stock items.

If your order is placed now through July 7 and totals $100 or more, please use the “Comments” field at checkout to tell us the size of the t-shirt you wish to receive (Youth Small, Medium, or Large; or Adult Small, Medium, Large, XL, XXL, or XXXL). If your order totals $200 or more, we’ll send you two shirts. For $300 or more, we’ll send three shirts, and so on. Just be sure

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Giant Leap Rocketry Releases the MARIAH-54

The Mariah-54 is a minimum diameter 54mm kit from Giant Leap Rocketry. Like its smaller cousin (the Mariah-38) the Mariah-54 features Giant Leap’s new Shotgun Recovery System. This means that the Mariah-54 is dual-deployment but has only one separation point to reduce drag and increase performance. The Shotgun configuration makes this a unique and high-performance rocket. The Mariah-54 is complex and comes with a detailed twenty-five page instruction and flight manual. It is intended for intermediate to advanced flyers who want to reach extreme altitudes as well as for those attempting speed or altitude records. The kit includes Magna-Frame composite tubing, curved fins in G-10 fiberglass, a Pinnacle nosecone, parachute, and Kevlar recovery system. The Mariah-54 also features an updated version of the Bread-Box Avionics Bay with a sliding access door to easily insert your electronics. The Mariah-54 is available at an introductory price at of $119 from Giant Leap Rocketry. It is also available

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OMG! CATO Among New Words in Oxford Dictionary

Major news media outlets recently reported that the new words added to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) for 2011 include several time-saving online abbreviations. Abbreviations such as LOL, OMG, and IMHO are familiar to most people who have spent any time on internet discussion forums, reading email, or composing “Tweets.”

The media, however, failed to note another abbreviation found among the 900 new words, CATO.

A contrived initialism for “Catastrophe At Take Off,” the abbreviation CATO is used as a noun and is generally defined as “a catastrophic failure.” Although originally used to describe the dramatic malfunction of a rocket motor, the use of CATO has broadened to include a range of calamitous events such as a rocket “shredding” in flight due to aerodynamic stress or a participant in an online discussion suffering apparent meltdown as the result of others committing common grammar mistakes.

No one from the OED was available to comment on the

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DFR Technologies Releases Five New Scale Delta Kits

DFR Technologies has released five new model rocket kits. All are scale models of the Delta series of rockets.

The Delta II kit (DII-18) is a 1/72 scale model of the Delta II-7925H configuration which launched the rover Opportunity to Mars in 2003, the Planet Mercury Messenger mission in 2004, and the Dawn Asteroid mission in 2007.

The Delta III kit (DIII-18) is 1/72 scale model of the Delta III rocket which was launch just three times. The first two missions failed and the third placed a dummy satellite in a lower than required orbit.

The Delta IV Medium 4 + 2 kit (DIV-M42-18) and Delta IV Medium 5 + 4 kit (DIV-M54-18) are 1/124 scale models of the Delta IV rockets which have launched a variety of small to large spacecraft into Low/Medium Earth Orbit, Geosynchronous Orbit, and planetary trajectories.

The Delta IV Heavy kit (DIV-HVY-18) is a 1/124 scale model of the Deltla

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