Tuesday, July 31, 2012

SpaceX Falcon 9 build - parts and initial thoughts

A few days ago, I mentioned that I had ordered a Falcon 9 kit from SpaceX. A mere 4 days later, it showed up at my door.  This was none too soon as my interest in detailing the Harpoon has waned.  One day, I'll find some vinyl tape or a sheet of Trim Monokote and my interest will re-peak.

The kit came nicely packaged in a box with the small parts being in plastic bags.  I surveyed the parts and will make some observations.  As expected, the thick walled body tube came with a factory installed wrap.  The plastic Dragon capsule (aka nose cone) and tail sections look really great.  You can see a lot of attention-to-detail in the kit.  The motor tube is marked for the upper centering ring and has a laser cut slot for the Estes-style motor hook. The clear, snap-in fins are clean and hopefully will install without issue.  Finally, I noted that the two 'chutes are SpaceX-branded too.  Pretty cool!

Before I start building I have to make a couple of decisions.  Well, only one of the decisions is needed to start building.  That is, will I use the motor hook or will I try making a screw-on retainer from water bottle.  I'll have to re-read Chris Michielssen's write-ups on the retainers and the of kit itself.  

Also, I don't really want to use two 'chutes to I'll have to decide whether to uses a stock 12" SpaceX 'chute or a larger nylon one. Since the capsule is small and  light, I guess adding it to the main 'chute shouldn't be an issue.