Category Archives: Space Models

Video: First flight of BPS Space’s Falcon Heavy model rocket

I’ve posted a few times about Joe Barnard‘s scale model rocket projects that seek to emulate realistically the takeoff and landing characteristics of SpaceX rockets. Here is a report on the first flight of the Falcon Heavy model:

Find more about Joe’s projects at

You can also support his efforts at is creating Rockets | Patreon.


Galaxy Girls: 50 Amazing Stories of Women in Space.


Mattel offers Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser spaceplane as Matchbox toy

Sierra Nevada plans to start delivering cargo to the  International Space Station with uncrewed Dream Chaser spaceplanes In 2020.  A crew version of the Dream Chaser could fly sometime later in the next decade. Here is a new toy Dream Chaser for kids to start flying today:

Mattel, Inc. Releases SNC Dream Chaser® Spacecraft Matchbox Toy

Dream Chaser Matchbox toy.

SPARKS, Nev., September 17, 2018 – America’s next generation spaceplane will soon be available in stores. Mattel, Inc. toymaker is releasing a Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Dream Chaser spacecraft Matchbox® toy, which will be sold in stores starting in September.

“We are thrilled that Dream Chaser will be inspiring kids everywhere and up close,” said Eren Ozmen, SNC owner, chairwoman and president.  “A big part of SNC’s mission is to inspire the next generation of space explorers and innovators.  This toy will spark kids’ imaginations, help them dream big and excited them about the possibilities in space.”

The toy will be a part of the Matchbox Sky Busters® line, which showcases America’s best and most groundbreaking aircraft and spacecraft, including NASA’s space shuttle.

The Dream Chaser spacecraft is a reusable and versatile vehicle for low-Earth orbit that is scheduled to service the International Space Station starting in late 2020 for NASA cargo missions under the Commercial Services Resupply 2 (CRS-2) contract 2.  The vehicle’s unique winged design and gentle runway landing make it the only spacecraft of its kind in the commercial space industry.

“We hope that America’s future astronauts and engineers who receive a Dream Chaser Matchbox toy will want learn more about math, engineering, science and space exploration,” said Steve Lindsey, vice president of SNC’s Space Exploration Systems and former NASA space shuttle commander.  “My curiosity for space started young, and I hope this helps spark the same in any kid who has this toy. There’s just something about a winged spacecraft that spurs the imagination.” 

Lindsey commanded three assembly and test missions to the International Space Station, flew on five space shuttle missions for NASA and was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2015.

The Matchbox Dream Chaser toy will be available at retailers including Dollar General and J.C. Penney, along with stores supplied by Darice Global Sourcing.

Dream Chaser prototype landing after flight test in November 2017.

About Dream Chaser Spacecraft: Owned and operated by SNC, the Dream Chaser spacecraft is a reusable, multi-mission space utility vehicle. It is capable of transportation services to and from low-Earth orbit, where the International Space Station resides, and is the only commercial, lifting-body vehicle capable of a runway landing. The Dream Chaser Cargo System was selected by NASA to provide cargo delivery and disposal services to the space station under the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract. All Dream Chaser CRS2 cargo missions are planned to land at Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility.

About Sierra Nevada Corporation: Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is a trusted leader in solving the world’s toughest challenges through advanced engineering technologies in Space Systems, Commercial Solutions, and National Security and Defense. Honored as one of the most innovative U.S. companies in space, SNC’s Space Systems business area designs and manufactures advanced spacecraft and satellite solutions, space habitats and environmental systems, propulsion systems, precision space mechanisms and subsystems, and SNC’s celebrated Dream Chaser® spacecraft. With 30 years of space heritage working with the U.S. government, commercial customers, and the international market, SNC has participated in more than 450 successful space missions and delivered 4,000+ systems, subsystems and components around the world. For more information, visit


Build a LEGO version of the Planet Labs Dove satellite

These days even elementary student groups and small organizations are building CubeSats and seeing them go into orbit. If you are not up to building and launching a working spacecraft yourself, here are the directions for assembling a LEGO model of the Dove earth imaging CubeSat developed by the company Planet of Silicon Valley:  Planet Labs Dove – Instructions, Parts List, Options

Custom built LEGO model of the Planet Dove 3U CubeSat

The history of the project can be found in the blog posts by Scott Moore, Jr. at LEGO Designs.



Videos: Big rockets look even bigger when put in “everyday places”

Here are two new videos that can give one a much better sense of just how big the big rockets that are launching, and in some cases landing, today really are:

Bonus: Enjoy more of The Everyday Astronaut‘s soundtrack to the video at top:



Video: flies Falcon Heavy scale model rocket

I recently posted about Joe Barnard adding thrust vector control and other advanced features to model rockets.  The goal is to model not just the appearance of large rockets but how they take off and fly as well. This weekend, he successfully flew for the first time a model he built of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy, which involved separation of the two side cores and the in-flight firing start-up of the center core.

The side boosters executed a 20 degree roll program with a rate of 30dps, beginning at T+0.9. Initial pitch-over of the vehicle at launch was due to thrust inconsistencies between booster motors. Because of a low level coordinate transformation error in its flight software, the center core flew with poor stability, correcting roughly 20 degrees off axis for both pitch and yaw. Photos from the flight can be found here:

Find out more about Barnard’s projects and rocket hardware at