Colorado-based Estes has been making rocket models for six decades now. This family-run business has piqued children's interest in rocket flights and also served the wishes of amateurs and experts alike with their to-scale miniatures of the rocket models. Their upcoming rocket is a collaboration with Jeff Bezos' company Blue Origins and will be available just in time for Christmas.
Last month, Jeff Bezos became the second billionaire to travel to space aboard the New Shepard Rocket. His trip that was announced over a month before was meant to be the first commercial human flight. But with plans of shuttling paid customers to space, Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, just beat them by a matter of days. After their trip was successful, Blue Origins did take a shot at Virgin Galactic by bringing up the distances traveled by the two spacecraft. As it turns out, the Blue Origin mission did fly out further into space, 62 miles (100 km) to be precise, than the Virgin Galactic mission that flew out to 53.5 miles (86 km).
So, if you want to claim that part of history, Estes is offering a 1/66th scale replica of the New Shepard rocket that made this mission possible. The best part is that Estes replicas are not just to scale but also working models, so you can actually replicate the historic launch.
All you need to do is pre-order the rocket first and then find a suitable place to launch it. The miniature can reach an altitude of 400 feet (121 m) and then gently returns to the ground assisted by a parachute. In case you are new to the world of miniature rockets from Estes, you will also need a launcher pad, a launch controller, and some engines for relaunching the rocket. You can get them all in a starter pack, along with the Shepard Rocket for $109.99, according to the company website.
According to a press release, each miniature Shepard rocket will also be shipped with a postcard from Club for the Future, a Blue Origin foundation. The buyer can write their vision for the future on the postcard and mail it to the Foundation which will fly it on a future mission of the New Shepard. When the mission returns, the postcard will be returned to the sender, with a "Flown to Space" stamp.
The collaboration with Blue Origin is meant to foster interest in space flight among children. However, Estes had also inherited the tricky design of the rocket that it can do nothing about. People have been wondered about the shape of the rocket since it was revealed and the obsession has magnified since Bezos' trip. The topic even prompted The Guardian to call in experts and discuss the need for such a design when companies like SpaceX and even NASA have flown decent-looking rockets all this while.
While the phallic resemblance on the original rocket was a controversial topic for some time, the miniature model's debut seems like it will keep the comments coming.