Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ancient scrolls of wisdom...

February/March 1996 cover of the Max-Q newsletter (Click to enlarge).
When time permits - which is not that often these days - I have been digitizing copies of the old HARA newsletter, Max-Q. Now superseded by the Internet and social media, newsletters were the primary means of communication between rocketeers from the 1960's to the 1990's. They were the benchmark of the active rocket club, containing schedules and summaries of club launches and other events, product reviews, rocket plans, and mixtures of editorializing and humor. The newsletters were of varying degrees of quality, with some looking like small magazines; others were little more than copies (Xeroxes) of handwritten pages. The publication frequency ranged from monthly in the case of the big clubs to bimonthly or quarterly for the smaller sections like HARA. Over time, newsletters like SNOAR News were read by many NAR sections, infamous for their content and off-color humor.
Table of contents for an edition of SNOAR news (Click here for PDF of full issue)
The big rocket companies like Estes and Centuri also used newsletters to communicate with their customers. As a kid, I eagerly looked forward to receiving the latest copy of Model Rocket News, American Rocketeer, or the Estes Aerospace Club Newsletter, for it was there that new products were announced and special deals offered. I lived for those special deals, because the discounts enabled me to buy many kits that were normally beyond my allowance.

Cover of the January 1971 edition of the Estes Model Rocket News (Click here for
PDF of full issue)
Alas, time and technology have relegated the newsletter to musty attics, slowly decaying into dust. However, there is much in the way of plans and tips that can be gleaned from these ancient scrolls, the products of much labor and love. If you have a chance, I recommend a Google search for SNOAR News, MaxQ, Estes Model Rocket News, Centuri American Rocketeer, and so forth. Such a trip down memory lane is sure to provide some useful information and maybe even a laugh or two. It's definitely worth the expenditure of an hour or two.


  1. I noticed you picked a copy of Snoar News with my ancient article- thanks for the memories.
    - Moose

  2. I do miss the newsletters in the mail.