Scouting Forums

Space Derby

Our pack is looking into Space Derby. We are overseas so we have limited resources. Looking for a bill of materials for setting up the track and winder. Seeking a set of rules. Man hours spent building the track, and any other useful information.

Thanks in Advance,


Our pack actually changed space derby to a rocket launch day with a local rocket club. They had more fun with that then the space derby.

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I would budget in band aid’s in for the event. We had actually discussed alternating rain gutter and space derby, just to switch it up. After much research we decided against it. I’m sure it is a fun event. but with scouts getting younger now a days and propellers wound up a 100 times is bound to end up with nicked little fingers.

I made balsa wood gliders as a kid, that had folding propellers so the glider would climb and when the rubber band was finished then the propeller would fold along the fuselage for the glide portion. We never nicked any fingers as we used a Brace (old fashion hand drill) to wind the prop. I have seen YouTube videos where they made a winder using pulleys and belts. I am looking for blue prints and instructions for a build like in this video. I am also interested in any variations.

Cub Scouts are not doing Space Derby? I made this post six days ago and never received any replies to the question I asked. Mueller, anyone?

I just did a search on space derby track and sure enough several entries came up. Our pack moved away from the traditional space derby years ago and those who built the track are long gone from the pack.

I think a lot of packs have found it wasn’t worth the trouble.

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@jacobfetzer Once again, our pack is on Okinawa, Japan, and we have restrictions lack of resources on things like rocket motors in this country. I am seeking information on how to do Space Derby. I am NOT seeking information on why NOT to do Space Derby. I am sure there are a million excuses for NOT doing something.

Space Derby from my research using YouTube it does not seem that difficult for me to build the track or the winder, BSA provides the kits. We (Pack 110) need to get some blueprints, bill of materials, and assembly directions from someone who has done this before. This information is needed for the annual Pack Planning meeting and budget process. I figured with the 10,000nds of scouters out there this would be the forum to get some simple help.

Please be HELPFUL!

Very Respectfully,


Scott - here is what my google search found for me:

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Thank you so much!

Very Respectfully,


You are very welcome. I will say though that a rocket launch with a rocket club with a 1 mile altitude clearance was far more fun for our scouts.

Our pack does Space Derby every year and loves it. We actually do all three derbies every year, Raingutter in fall for recruiting, Space in winter, Pinewood in the spring.

I started with the plans in the Cub Scouts Leader How-to Book (available on Amazon). It uses basic hardware store lumber and materials. However, being a woodworker and engineer I may have highly modified the “plans”. I lowered it from 8ft tall to 4ft, added cross-bracing, modified the start gate, made it tool-less collapsible, etc. Still a work in progress so I haven’t done up any drawings. The basic plan from the book works just fine though.

BestTrack makes an aluminum Space Derby track similar to their Pinewood tracks, though not sure how shipping would be to your side of the globe.

-Have side activities for the Scouts, Space Derby is not as fast-paced and interactive as the other derbies.
-Have leaders/adults do the winding. Although I am designing an automatic winder to integrate into the starting gate (ya, I’m that guy), the derby moves much faster. I can wind a rocket to 100 turns in under 20 seconds, no band-aid required. Also makes for some mini-competition between the winders, we get the crowd involved cheering the winders between rounds.
-Have two winding “teams”, one pre-winding the next round.
-Loading/launching/retrieving the rockets is good Scout involvement that doesn’t slow things much.
-Replace the garbage line that comes with the kit from the Scout Shop. Use a high quality synthetic line, much stronger, lighter and slicker (no lube required).
-I have not found a glue that will hold the hanger clamp pieces together (the part that rides on the line and holds the rocket). I used little #10-32 fasteners to reinforce and keep the clamp from breaking open.
-Spare parts and super glue! We went through rubber bands, hangers and fins falling off, and even broke 2 props this year (new record).

Hope this helps.
Yours in Scouting,

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I am considering a Raingutter Regatta for a fall recruiting event. We can do it outside in mid September, after we have made out pitch at the local schools. Have you had success with it?

Raingutter Regatta is super easy and fun. Buy some 60 grit sandpaper, the sticks work but a small 2x3" piece is easier. Just have the kids sit down and sand their pieces into shape. Then you can have paint and markers or send them home to decorate. Stickers on the sail work well.

I have a small pack so we mix up the races. The Scout gets 1 point if they beat a younger Scout, 2 for the same grade, 3 for an older Scout. Since the bigger kids have bigger lungs this levels the playing field some.

I have a set of metal raingutters but boats stick on the sides. I bought a couple sets of the official inflatables for next fall.

We’re going to hold it the first week in October for 2019 and hand out boats starting the second week of the program year contingent on registration. This will get the Scouts something to look forward to quickly.

We held it December this year inside (tile floor) to be a good inside activity and it was too late in the season. I want it to help with retention and by then everyone who was going to already quit.

Thanks, Kevin. I’m going to push hard for this at our annual planning meeting on June 17.

One inflatable raceway at $27 is something we can get done. Each trimaran kit is $6, and it looks like they no longer sell the old sailboat kits. The trimarans are probably a big improvement anyway.

I’m hoping to hand out the kits at the first meeting in September and do the event outdoors later in the month. Grill up some hot dogs. Get the word out in the community and see how many prospects we can get to show up.

Thanks, again.

Yours in Scouting,


Best track makes a pre manufactured one if you don’t want to build and have the budget for it. I think you can even use the PWD timer scoring system for it if you desired.

String on Volleyball standards is what was used in my Packs as a kid.

Good coated string on tension.