Aeromoe's Estes "Mars Lander" Page

The Estes Mars Lander has been one of my favorite model rockets since I built and flew my first one in 1976. At $9.95 it was one of the more expensive rocket kits in Estes catalog. One evening in late 1975 or very early 1976 I found one at an Ace Hardware and was able to buy it. I don't remember much about that build but I flew it at least once, in Feb 1976. Along with all my other rockets of that period it is sadly no longer with us.

Estes Mars Lander Feb '76

In the early '90s, I bought the Estes Mini Marz Lander kit based on a short BT-60 (1.637") tube with a yellow paint scheme. I still have it but I never applied the decals. I've flown it several times.

Estes Mini Marz Lander

In the late 90s I found a JimZ's website. What a great site!! Using parts from an Estes Saturn V and Mars Lander plans, I built a (somewhat accurate) Mars Lander from scratch. I chose to use the Saturn V's BT-101 instead of the BT-99 used by the Mars Lander. Since it wasn't accurate anyway, I painted it black with orange and red accents. I flew it that way with the Sacramento Area Rocketry Group near Folsom and it flew great. After getting back into the hobby in 2006 in Arizona I eventually had a set of "reverse" decals printed up for it and as of 2016 it is still in my fleet.

Also in the late 90s, I picked up several of the Estes Mini Marz Lander ready-to-fly models. These are the black/red or red/black all-plastic kits.

After becoming a BAR (Born Again Rocketeer) in 2006 one of my very first online purchases was Tango-Papa's 2x upscale Mars Lander. I originally bought it to build and put on static display, however during the ensuing months I built it as a flyer. It is also one of the relatively few rockets I've painted and decaled as a BAR. I earned my high power Level 1 certification in September 2006 at Rainbow Valley with the SSS: Superstition Spacemodeling Society. The 2x Mars Lander flies on H & I Level 1 motors so I decided to put 'er up in early 2007. The first flight on an Aerotech I211 was a great flight. The next month I repeated the flight but the shock cord broke and it came in hot, impacting the desert. Damage was such that I took it out of service and it is unrepairable.

In 2006, my first visit to a SSS club launch was during NARAM 46. The Semroc folks (Carl & Bruce) were there and I picked up a Semroc Mars Lander "Retro-repro" kit based on the Estes Mars Lander. I have built and flown the model several times. I have one more that's been under construction for several years now.

I also bought several Estes "Outlander" kits that were styled after the Mars Lander but painted totally differently. Sirius Rocketry offers water-slide decals so you can paint your Outlander like white and red and decal it to resemble a Mars Lander. I built and decaled THREE of these Outlanders as "Mars Outlanders" back in 2006/2007. These rockets were one of the worst offerings Estes ever designed to fly on 18mm motors. They were too heavy for a C6-3 to fly safely on...not quite sure how this one got past the safety folks at Estes.

I built one with a 24mm for Estes D motors and I built one with 18mm motors to fly on 18mm Aerotech composite or reloads. I got at least one decent flight with the 24mm but my first attempt with a D reload in the 18mm version went unstable off the pad and looped wildly around. I relegated these guys to the display shelf but unfortunately some time ago I lifted the shelf up with the rockets on it not realizing the ceiling fan was poised to take them out...which it accidentally did. I still have one of the Outlanders on a display shelf.

In early 2008 I started working on a 3.2x upscale (12" diameter). Sometime after that I started working on a 4.37x upscale (16" diameter). Both of these are basically structurally complete but unfinished and without the landing gear spring mechanisms sorted out yet.

One of our SSS club members, Tim, graciously gave me an original Estes Mars Lander kit he found! It is basically complete though someone started construction on the main shrouds.

The table below summarizes the flights of my various Mars Landers and variations.
# Company Name Date Location Motor Recovery Flight Status Notes
-- (1) Estes Mars Lander 02/__/76 GC C6-3 'Chute Good flight
40 (2) Estes Mini Mars Lander 07/19/92 MA A3-2T 'Chute Good flight
59 (3) Estes Mini Mars Lander 09/26/92 MA A3-4T 'Chute Good flight
64 (4) Scratch Dark Lander 10/02/99 SC C5-3 'Chute Good flight
67 (5) Scratch Dark Lander 07/08/06 PHXA C5-3 'Chute Good flight
87 (6) Estes "Mars Outlander" 03/10/07 RVA D12-3 'Chute Retired after this flight
88 (7) Tango Papa 2x upscale Mars Lander" 03/10/07 RVA I211W-S 'Chute Great flight...minor damage...repaired
89 (8) Semroc Mars Lander "Retro-Repro" 03/10/07 RVA C6-3 'Chute Great flight
91 (9) Tango Papa 2x upscale Mars Lander" 04/14/07 RVA I211W-S 'Chute Great boost...shock cord broke...destroyed on impact
92 (10) Estes "Mars Outlander" 04/14/07 RVA D13-4T (RMS) 'Chute 18mm mount - unstable
94 (11) Estes Mini Mars Lander 04/14/07 RVA A10-3T 'Chute Repainted version; 'Chute damage
104 (12) Estes Mini Mars Lander 04/29/07 EMA A10-3T 'Chute Black/Red version; 'Chute failed damage
115 (13) Semroc Mars Lander "Retro-Repro" 06/09/07 PHXA C6-3 'Chute Totally unstable-broke a leg...repaired
139 (14) Scratch Dark Lander 10/27/07 RVA C6-3 'Chute Good flight...stuck the landing
140 (15) Semroc Mars Lander "Retro-Repro" 10/27/07 PHXA C6-3 'Chute Drag race with Geoffrey's original; Good flight...stuck the landing
176 (16) Semroc Mars Lander "Retro-Repro" 01/13/08 EMA C5-3 'Chute Nice flight
177 (17) Semroc Mars Lander "Retro-Repro" 01/13/08 EMA C5-3 'Chute Nice flight
205 (18) Scratch Dark Lander 02/23/08 RVA C6-3 'Chute Good flight...stuck the landing
206 (19) Semroc Mars Lander "Retro-Repro" 02/23/08 RVA C6-3 'Chute Good flight...stuck the landing
226 (20) Scratch Dark Lander 03/23/08 EMA C5-3 'Chute Decaled now; broke a leg on landing...repaired
691 (21) Semroc Mars Lander "Retro-Repro" 01/03/10 RVA C6-3 'Chute Unstable boost...power prang
983 (22) Estes Mini Mars Lander 01/02/13 RVA A10-3T 'Chute Good flight...stuck the landing
984 (23) Estes Mini Mars Lander 01/02/13 RMA A10-0T / A10-3T 'Chute CHAD-staged flight...unstable after CHAD...minor damage to one leg