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marslndr
09-05-2007, 11:58 AM
I'm kind of obsessed with this rocket. For me it represents the golden age of rocketry. I never bought it as a kid, I thought it was too expensive/hard. As an adult I have cloned one and have 2 Semroc landers.

Does the good doctor have any insight to its development? I see from the history post that it was designed by Wayne Kellner. Can anyone fill in any information? It seems it was inspired by the LEM, and it has the Martin Marietta name on it. The urban legend when I grew up was that Estes had asked Martin Marietta to come up with a design that could be turned into realistic looking rocket, but I have never found any proof of this.

The lander is such a different rocket from anything produced at the time. With out computers it must have had a few spectacular failures before Mr. Kellner got it right.

Can the Doctor or anyone shed any light on the development of this classic?

Thanks

Mark

Shreadvector
09-05-2007, 12:45 PM
While you're waiting for an answer, feel free to Google "mars excursion module". Lots of reports and diagrams out there.

Rocket Doctor
09-05-2007, 02:23 PM
I cannot shed light on this one. Perhaps Matt Steele could lend a hand or possibly Roy.

Royatl
09-05-2007, 02:54 PM
I cannot shed light on this one. Perhaps Matt Steele could lend a hand or possibly Roy.

wish I could, but I have no idea. I, too, was struck by how different it was from everything else that came out in '69 or for many years after.

marslndr
09-11-2007, 02:30 PM
Does anyone know if Mr. Kellner is still alive? I tried a google search, but nothing conclusive came up. Anyone know when he left Estes?

Thanks

Mark

ManofSteele
09-23-2007, 08:10 PM
I cannot shed light on this one. Perhaps Matt Steele could lend a hand or possibly Roy.

Sorry - that was before my time at Estes as well. Ron Mclaren did the Mini-Marz Lander while we were there that was a lot of fun.

Matt

scigs30
09-24-2007, 12:44 PM
Is Semrocs' version a clone of the orig. Estes Mars Lander? If not what are the differences? I am collecting most of the 1979 Estes Catalog and the Mars Lander is not one that I was looking at collecting. I was never interested in it, and I hear it is not a good flyer. I see it on Ebay all the time going for 150.00. I spend a lot on rockets that I like and want to build but the jury is still out on this one. If I build it I may just build the Semroc version. I do agree it is a neat looking craft and someday I would like to build a scale plastic version.

Rocket Doctor
09-24-2007, 12:53 PM
Is Semrocs' version a clone of the orig. Estes Mars Lander? If not what are the differences? I am collecting most of the 1979 Estes Catalog and the Mars Lander is not one that I was looking at collecting. I was never interested in it, and I hear it is not a good flyer. I see it on Ebay all the time going for 150.00. I spend a lot on rockets that I like and want to build but the jury is still out on this one. If I build it I may just build the Semroc version. I do agree it is a neat looking craft and someday I would like to build a scale plastic version.




Contact Carl at Semroc carl@semroc.com

marslndr
09-24-2007, 01:21 PM
Sigs30,

Carl at Semroc would be the best to answer your question, But having cloned a Mars Lander and bought 2 Semroc landers I can tell you they are very close, in fact I replaced my flat wraps with Semroc ones. They are so nice I did not even paint them!. The Semroc lander has updated material but builds an excellent, accurate lander. Some people have had trouble with stability, But I have not to date, and I have flown mine in 10-15 mph winds.

Mark

snaquin
09-24-2007, 01:50 PM
Is Semrocs' version a clone of the orig. Estes Mars Lander? If not what are the differences? I am collecting most of the 1979 Estes Catalog and the Mars Lander is not one that I was looking at collecting. I was never interested in it, and I hear it is not a good flyer. I see it on Ebay all the time going for 150.00. I spend a lot on rockets that I like and want to build but the jury is still out on this one. If I build it I may just build the Semroc version. I do agree it is a neat looking craft and someday I would like to build a scale plastic version.

From the Mars Lander instruction manual available for download on the Semroc website:

"The Semroc Mars Lander is a faithful recreation of
the original. It uses laser-cut balsa fins and laser-cut
fiber parts instead of the original die-cut parts. The
fiber is also thicker for sturdier construction. High
gloss embossed wraps are provided for authentic
looks of the original. A slightly larger chute is provided
for longer life and a gentler recovery. A Kevlar
cord is provided for better shock cord retention".

http://www.semroc.com/Store/scripts/RocketKits.asp?SKU=KV-54

I have one still in the bag and it's well worth the $39 Semroc is asking for it.

.

Carl@Semroc
09-24-2007, 02:11 PM
The Semroc Mars Lander is close to the original. As Steve quoted from the instructions, the fiber parts including the rings, are the main difference. Anticipating the Quest D18, the thinner fiber did not look heavy enough for the extra stress. This and the larger chute adds about .8 oz to the weight. The CG-CP is about .40 for the original and .39 for the Semroc version. Both versions are marginal as far as stability is concerned. There is almost no stability if the angle of attack gets more than about 10 degrees. Wind and flights off vertical are disasterous. Adding about 1/2 oz of weight to the nose cone moves the CG forward and helps most that would be unstable.

Making sure the fins (landing gear) are tight and aligned, flying vertical in no or low wind, making sure the span is below 13.5", and not adding any more weight to the aft as possible all help make it more stable.

It is an impressive rocket when it is stable and when it is just sitting there. As I have said before, if I had realized how close it was to being unstable, we might have passed it. The Mars Lander is now a historic model from the early days of Estes from a very creative designer, Wayne Kellner. We have tried to capture his creation as close as possible.

scigs30
09-24-2007, 02:25 PM
Carl, Thank you very much for the information. I am guessing that Estes orig. did not fly well, is that correct? Thanks David.....P.S thanks for the great service you provide.

tbzep
09-24-2007, 03:16 PM
The decals are slightly different also. You can get scans of the original Estes version online and use them on the Semroc kit.

Mine is about half done and on hold until football season is over. Hopefully I'll find some time and get motivated to finish it and several other half finished projects and then get started on the Saturn IB.

Carl@Semroc
09-24-2007, 03:41 PM
Carl, Thank you very much for the information. I am guessing that Estes orig. did not fly well, is that correct? Thanks David.....P.S thanks for the great service you provide.
That is hard to say. Some have told me that they have over twenty perfect flights on the original. Some others said they had problems. Too bad we did not have forums in the 60's! The instant feedback is great for model rocket manufacturers. We can make changes and fix problems much more timely.

You are welcome, from all of us. We like that kind of feedback too.

Rocket Doctor
09-24-2007, 03:49 PM
That is hard to say. Some have told me that they have over twenty perfect flights on the original. Some others said they had problems. Too bad we did not have forums in the 60's! The instant feedback is great for model rocket manufacturers. We can make changes and fix problems much more timely.

You are welcome, from all of us. We like that kind of feedback too.
Carl

If there were Forums back then, at least they would be listening and make changes, action and not reaction, and Oh Boy do I know that...........

RD

Royatl
09-24-2007, 07:09 PM
Carl, Thank you very much for the information. I am guessing that Estes orig. did not fly well, is that correct? Thanks David.....P.S thanks for the great service you provide.

I had two of them and they both flew nicely. Kids in my rocket clubs back then had hit'n'miss experiences, but I could tell it mainly came down to how well they were built and cared for. At NARAM this year, Carl pointed out the importance of the angle of the landing gear, and that probably is the key.

Now I have two complete Estes and two complete Semroc kits (and the very heavy Tango Papa kit), and eventually I will get around to building one of each.

Gus
09-24-2007, 10:43 PM
My original always flew nicely.

Here's a picture of my cousins launching it circa 1972.

Ltvscout
09-25-2007, 12:06 AM
My original always flew nicely.

Here's a picture of my cousins launching it circa 1972.
I love the old battery. What brand were those with the stripes? Wasn't it something like Mallory?

marslndr
09-25-2007, 07:30 AM
Great photo Gus! It looks like your launch lug is on the outside of the BT100. Were the early Landers built like this? The instructions on JimZ's web site and the Semroc kit have the lug inside on the BT60. Yours is not the only classic lander photo I have seen with the launch lug on the out side. Thanks for posting the photo.

Mark

ghrocketman
09-25-2007, 11:36 AM
I just finished my Semroc Mars Lander about a month ago. (I still have my two original built Estes Mars Landers)

So far it has been launched on two OOP engines, an Estes C5-3 and an extremely rare Cox D8-3, both of which are much better choices than a B6-2 (don't bother) and a C6-3.
Both flights were very good....the C5-3 gets it off the pad in a hurry and the D8-3 was a considerably higher flight although at a slower speed.

The C6-3 is okay but what I would call "marginal" in thrust for something this draggy/heavy, thus the warning by Semroc to launch in next to zero wind.

Next two flights I'm going to kick it up a couple of notches by using my Aerotech RMS18
casing in White Lightning flavor.
If those go well I'll probably kick it up to a RMS18 D24-4T Blue Thunder reload.

I sure wish aerotech still made those 18mm "Baby " E reloads for the RMS18 casing.
Those would be great in the ML.

dwmzmm
09-25-2007, 09:18 PM
In the first picture, you can see my original Estes Mars Lander posing for the picture along
with a number of other classics in 1970; in the second picture (taken very recently), you
can see the SAME Mars Lander behind the glass in my rocket display case in my garage (yes,
it can still fly)....

snaquin
09-25-2007, 11:46 PM
The last recorded flight I can remember on my original was March 10, 1979 here in Louisiana sitting on top of my Tilt-A-Pad at the Bonnet Carre Spillway site.

Never had a bad flight on it.

I have no idea why I felt it was necessary to write my name on my launch pad, or what flight toasted that leg on the pad in the picture ..... :o

.

LeeR
09-27-2007, 12:12 AM
That does it - I finally decided that I need to order a Mars Lander from Semroc!

falingtrea
09-27-2007, 08:04 AM
Lee, just as a suggestion. When you order the Mars Lander, think about buying the Laser-X SLS too. I really like how that upscale of the original Laser-X is put together, and it has some neat alternate motor mounts (4x18mm and 2x24mm).

pantherjon
09-27-2007, 09:06 AM
That does it - I finally decided that I need to order a Mars Lander from Semroc!
Me too!

moonzero2
09-29-2007, 01:24 PM
In the first picture, you can see my original Estes Mars Lander posing for the picture along
with a number of other classics in 1970; in the second picture (taken very recently), you
can see the SAME Mars Lander behind the glass in my rocket display case in my garage (yes,
it can still fly)....

What are those gages in the glass case?? Temperature and humidity??

dwmzmm
09-29-2007, 05:34 PM
What are those gages in the glass case?? Temperature and humidity??

No, that's my chess clock. Back in the heyday of my early model rocketry years, I was also
very much involved in playing chess games (the Fischer - Spassky Match was the spark for
that). I can tell a funny joke that happened at one chess tournament I went to in the early
1970's: It was in Baton Rouge, LA at some downtown hotel (next to the Mississippi River),
me and a couple of buddies of mine were headed to our hotel room as we entered the
elevator. There was a middle aged couple already in the elevator. After the doors shut
and we started going up, the woman began to look a bit nervous at me; finally she asked
me if I was carrying a bomb! I chuckled and said "No, this is my chess clock, and we're
playing in a tournament here."

LeeR
10-02-2007, 12:02 AM
Lee, just as a suggestion. When you order the Mars Lander, think about buying the Laser-X SLS too. I really like how that upscale of the original Laser-X is put together, and it has some neat alternate motor mounts (4x18mm and 2x24mm).

Tim,

You wouldn't happen to be a Semroc employee, would you? :)

The Laser-X really grabbed my attention when I first visited the Semroc site. This would probably move me up to 79 unbuilt kits, instead of 77 ... and I'm awaiting two Interceptor-E kits from Tower, although I ain't holding my breath.

By the way, no need to be sad about once being Level 1 -see my tag line "Builder First, Flyer Second" it is all about the building (and designing) for me, and not climbing the alphabet in motor sizes. Although for a builder, my backlog is ridiculous.

And I used to be Level 2, but perfectly happy to be back at Level 0.