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History of Model Rockets

For years model rockets have been an incredibly popular hobby for people of all ages. Many of us can remember assembling and customizing our rockets in grade school and anticipating launch day. The launches teach students about the science behind the flight of the rockets, however, many people do not know the history behind model rockets.

Historians believe the Chinese began experimenting with rockets thousands of years ago. There are many accounts of ancient Chinese dynasty's using fire arrows and fireworks which later lead to rockets. In 1954 model rockets we know today were discovered by a man named, Orville Carlisle, who was a pyrotechnic expert. The first American model rocket company was formed by Harry Stine and named Model Missiles Incorporated. Eventually Stine approached the son of a local fireworks maker, Vernon Estes. The two went into business together and after some unwise business decisions separated and Mr. Estes went on to open Estes Industries in 1958.

Since the late 50's Estes has dominated the market of personal rockets through their ability to provide bulk items at discounted prices to schools and other organizations. The Estes approach was to provide education, safety and reliability to all customers. Following the launch of the Soviet Union's Sputnik many enthusiast began trying to create their own rockets. This lead to many injuries and prompted Stine and Estes to collaborate and create the NAR Model Rocket Safety Codes.

Model rockets created in the 1950's were dangerous and limited, today many rockets can reach Mach 1 and fly upwards of 10,000 feet. Estes Rockets have shaped the way hobbyist build and launch model rockets. With the advances the company continues to make it is easy to say they will be providing school children with a informative science lesson for years to come.

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