2020 MARS Flyer Challenge

Junior Challenge (New Flyers)

Paper Rocket

The Junior Challenge for 2020 requires the participant to design, construct, fly and recover a rocket made from nothing more than standard typing paper. There are no design limitations other than the use of 20 lb. paper as the primary construction material and the ability of the rocket to fly on 18mm motors. The design can be any length any diameter. The design can be any type of fin configuration, tube fin or otherwise. Standard bonding materials including white glue, CA and cellophane tape can be used in construction. To complete the challenge the rocket must be flown and recovered 3 times. Once on an A8-3, a second time using a B6-4 and a final flight with a C6-5. Recovery components are not limited to paper. Standard recovery materials may be used including cordage, swivels and parachutes. Nose weight material including clay if needed is also allowed.

Open Challenge (Open to All Flyers)


Open to all flyers we challenge you to build modify and fly a plastic model kit into a flying model rocket. Build a model modified to include a motor and recovery!

Senior Challenge (Experienced Flyers)

Magnus Recovery (Horizontal Spin)

The Magnus Effect is a force acting on a spinning cylinder in a moving airstream that produces a force perpendicular to the direction of the airstream and the axis of the cylinder. The Magnus effect can be used to recover a rocket because the implied force can generate lift on the body in rotation. To do this the rocket must spin on the axis of symmetry (long axis). As the rocket spins in a horizontal angle of attack lift is generated along the length of the body slowing the rocket down. Long slender rockets seem to work well for this type of rocket. The participants of this challenge will have to design mechanism that puts the rocket into a horizontal spin after apogee. Designing and developing a successful Horizontal Magnus Recovery rocket is sure to challenge even the most experienced builder.

Fundamental Challenge (Open to All Flyers)

Gap Stage

Multi Staged Low Power Rockets can be both challenging and rewarding. Multi Stage Rockets have many challenges when it comes to successful design, flight and recovery. One of the largest challenges is design of the booster. The booster must provide a safe stable boost, successfully ignition of the sustainer and then recover in a tumble fashion. Get one of these design features wrong and the flight fails. The majority, if not all of the multi stage kits available on the market today are staged with direct contact between the booster and the sustainer. This challenge requires the participant to design build, fly and recover a two stage rocket using direct staging in “Gap” configuration. Gap staging means the booster and sustainer motors are not in contact with each other. A gap exists between the two motors with a vent to exhaust cooler air. For the purposes of the challenge the gap should be a minimum of one motor length (70mm, 2.75”). The challenge is limited to black powder motors with direct staging (no electronics).

Youth Competition

Viking Duration

Along with the 2020 Challenges MARS will be hosting a Youth Competition for flyers 14 and under. This year’s completion will be a duration event using an Estes Viking and streamer. The Estes Viking is a great rocket for this completion because it can be built in several configurations and is capable of flying on C impulse motors. MARS will be providing the Viking kit to anyone 14 and younger who wants to join the fun! You can also purchase a kit yourself or better yet use a Viking already in your possession! The Competition will run through the September Launch. Trophies will go to the three longest flights.

For more information or to register for any of the 2020 challenges please contact
Todd Smith via email [trs027 at gmail dot com]