Micro Rocket Motor and Model Jet Resources
Plan: Earth Satellite


MODELS > Plans: Miscellaneous > Satellite

 Earth Satellite

by Ray Malmström

Reprinted from The Eagle Book of Spacecraft Models, 1961, p. 34




  Two ways to get the Satellite plan:
Easy, but smaller
Print this page. At the bottom, and fitting within the page width, is a copy of the plan.
More work for you, but larger
Click this link to a separate copy.
If you want to print it in full, you'll need to save it to disk, then open it in a graphics program in order to print it.
EARTH satellites (or sputniks) have been successfully launched from our planet several times, and probably while you are reading this, one of these ‘man-made moons’ is busy circling the earth, collecting and sending back information about the hazards that astronauts will have to meet in their journeys in space.

Our model of an earth satellite is particularly interesting, in that, unlike the other models in this book, it can be flown around a pole indoors (provided there is ample ventilation). You will not need to wait for the winter storms to finish before getting this little job into orbit. Fitted with a Jetex 50C motor, this model will circle a central pole in much the same way as the man-made satellite circles the earth. So if you are feeling like a spot of ‘orbiting’ and the weather has ‘grounded’ your other models, get out the building board and let’s get started.

Trace parts A and B on to a piece of ¹/16" sheet balsa made from joining together two pieces each measuring 3" wide and 7" long. Cut out pieces A and B. Turn piece B over and trace on to it the exact position of the 1/8 thick plywood Jetex clip mounting piece, asbestos paper and reinforcing piece. Cut out these pieces and cement them to piece B (not forgetting the reinforcing piece on the opposite side). Give piece B a thin coat of dope, pinning it down to the building board while drying. Join together two pieces of ¹/16" sheet 3" wide and 6" long and trace on to this the flying disc with the hole cut in the centre, noting the grain direction (this is important). Mark the point where the thread line from the centre pole (when flying) attaches to the flying disc. Give this disc a thin coat of clear dope, again pinning to the board to avoid warps. Cement the disc to the top of piece B, holding it in position with pins until set. With a set square check for a right angle between the disc and piece B. Add piece Y below the flying disc and drill a small hole for the line.

Paint a table tennis ball with silver paint and cement in the recess in the centre of the disc. Paint piece A with clear dope, pinning it to the board while drying. Add reinforcing pieces and cement it to the top of the disc and to the table tennis ball control sphere. Cement small pieces of neoprene tubing (reinforcing the joints with tape) and push in 3" lengths of ¹/16" diameter dowel rod as aerials.

  Satellite side view

Satellite side view

Side views, showing motor mounting and stand

Satellite side view

Rear view, on stand
Satellite RTP flying Make the nose cone; drill it and slide it on to the front aerial. Sliding this backwards or forwards will help you to balance your satellite. Screw on the Jetex clip and slip your 50C motor into position. Add weight to the nose cone recess until the model balances when suspended from the point shown. Make the stand as shown so that you can display this unusual little model on your bedroom mantelpiece or in your den. A simple pole is shown in the sketch on page 38 [see right].

This little satellite flies on a 7-8 ft. thread line, so you will be able to fly it in any small hall or in your youth club room. However, you must see that there are plenty of windows open to provide adequate ventilation. This point is stressed by the makers of Jetex motors, and we emphasise their instructions here. Load your Jetex motor, insert it in the clip and light the igniter wick with a piece of smouldering balsa wood or string (not a match). Hold the model by the top and, with the line fairly taut, push it smartly forward as shown in the sketch on page 38 [see above]. Your satellite will orbit the pole until the charge or charges are expended. The landing is fairly hectic but, as it is an all-sheet model, repairs are extremely easy and quick, so that there is no worry on that score—and remember that the real sputniks burn up when re-entering the earth’s atmosphere!

Satellite RTP flying

Round-the-pole flying

Satellite side view

Ignition hints
- Eagle Book of Spacecraft Models, 1961 (p. 38)
Plan for Earth Satellite and construction chart (A larger copy of the plan is also available to view or download).



 - Article and plan contributed by Brian Benson and Roger Chapman


  Terms of Use
Queries? Corrections? Additions? Please contact us.