Thursday, 19 June 2008 07:39

Orbital Transport

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Bob Morstadt's project for HellFire 13 is a 4x upscale model of the Estes Orbital Transport. According to the 1971 Estes Catalog; "The Orbital Transport is based on the latest proposals for a reusable air-breathing (scramjet) booster for orbital vehicles."

This was a great looking kit and has been the focus of several different upscale projects over the last few years. According to Bob, "I’ve borrowed the basic idea from Jason Wares who has an internet website for his model and it has been published in Sport Rocketry. Jason used an I284 to launch his vehicle."

As you can see from the pictures, the booster is now done and he is working on the Orbiter. Bob is borrowing an idea from George Gassaway’s website and is building the servo’s right into the Styrofoam wings of the Orbiter. "I am introducing an idea of my own and I plan to slide the tail and internal frame into the orbiter from the aft end. This way I can adjust the location of the R/C receiver and batteries for gliding or I could introduce new components like a tail rudder or in-flight ignition of an Orbiter motor." Bob goes on to explain that "The Orbiter is gaining weight as the build proceeds, so who knows if the glider/Orbiter will survive a Salt landing at Hellfire (if I have the courage to launch this beauty)."

Luckily Bob has all the parts for a back-up Orbiter and has started its construction. There are also plans for a future in-flight ignition system, but that modification will not be ready this summer.

Good luck Bob, we'll be excited to see this one fly!



The actual flight took place on Saturday during HellFire 13. The boost was perfect, straight, true. Unfortunately, when the parachute was supposed to deploy it got stuck in the body tube. The glider seperated but the booster section went down hard. The glider worked perfectly, Bob kept it into the wind and brought it down flat as a pancake. I don't think the booster was repairable but I hope that doesn't stop Bob from continuing on with this project.

Here is a video of the Project's untimely death...
{seyretpic id=53 align=left}

If you are working on a special project why not share it with us. Email a couple of pictures, some information about the construction, weight, etc. We'll be happy to post it on for everyone to get excited about. Email your projects to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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