last updated: 6th July 2018 - Day 199 - Phoenix 3D d78 Nosecone

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Construction - Basic


Ring Fins

Flat Fins



Construction - Advanced

Robinson Coupling

Splicing Bottles #1

Splicing Bottles AS#5

Reinforcing Bottles

Side Deploy #1

Side Deploy #2

Mk3 Staging Mechanism

Multi-stage Parachutes


Construction - Launchers

Gardena Launcher

Clark Cable-tie

Medium Launcher

Cluster Launcher

Launch Abort Valve

Quick Launcher

How It Works

Drop Away Boosters

Katz Stager Mk2.

Katz Stager Mk3.


Dark Shadow Deployment


Recovery Guide


How Much Water?

Flying Higher

Flying Straight

Building a Launcher

Using Scuba Tanks


Video Taping Tips

MD-80 clone

Making Panoramas


Burst Testing





Servo Timer II




V1.3, V1.3.1, V1.3.2


Deploy Timer 1.1

Project Builds

The Shadow

Shadow II


Polaron G2

Dark Shadow

L1ght Shadow

Flight Log Updates

#197 - Dark Shadow II

#196 - Coming Soon

#195 - 3D Printed Rocket

#194 - TP Roll Drop

#193 - Coming Soon

#192 - Stager Tests

#191 - Horizon

#190 - Polaron G3

#189 - Casual Flights

#188 - Skittles Part #2

#187 - Skittles Part #1

#186 - Level 1 HPR

#185 - Liquids in Zero-G

#184 - More Axion G6

#183 - Axion G6

#182 - Casual Flights

#181 - Acoustic Apogee 2

#180 - Light Shadow

#179 - Stratologger

#178 - Acoustic Apogee 1

#177 - Reefing Chutes

#176 - 10 Years

#175 - NSWRA Events

#174 - Mullaley Launch

#173 - Oobleck Rocket

#172 - Coming Soon

#171 - Measuring Altitude

#170 - How Much Water?

#169 - Windy

#168 - Casual Flights 2

#167 - Casual Flights

#166 - Dark Shadow II

#165 - Liquid Density 2

#164 - Liquid Density 1

#163 - Channel 7 News

#162 - Axion and Polaron

#161 - Fog and Boom

#1 to #160 (Updates)


10 Water Rocket Challenges


Is your local park just too small to fly your water rocket very high? The following challenges are designed to challenge your water rocket building skills and still allow you to launch them locally.

Each challenge has a simple goal with very few rules to allow you to use your imagination on how to achieve the goal.

You will earn a patch for each challenge you complete. There are no judges or submission processes. The patches are purely self-awarded on an honour system when you believe you have achieved the challenge in the spirit it was intended. You can do what you like with the patch, place it on your website, blog, video, or print it out and stick it on your fridge. We strongly encourage you to document your challenge attempts, and share them with the rest of the water rocket community.

Be warned, these challenges are difficult!

Each challenge has two levels that make it progressively harder, but allow you to set goals along the way to achieving the main challenge.

See the Challenge Attempts by the water rocket community


A big thank you goes to all the people on the water rocket forum: for contributing ideas and suggestions for these challenges.

General Rules

There are some general rules that apply to these challenges:

1. Primary propulsion for these challenges should come from cold compressed gas and water.

2. If you meet the challenge or a higher level you can claim the lower level patches as well.

3. You can complete several challenges simultaneously. If a flight achieves or exceeds another challenge's goals then you can claim that challenge as well.

The 10 Challenges

Challenge Description Patches
1. Strength

Goal: Launch a rocket 50 times without any repairs. Rocket must fly to a minimum altitude of 100 feet on each launch that will be counted.

  • Level 2 - 25 launches without repairs

  • Level 1 - 10 launches without repairs

Purpose: Teaches you to consider what components can fail, and how they can be strengthened.

Notes: The rocket does not have to fly 50 times consecutively or even on the same day. Flights that don't reach 100 feet should not be counted. You can recharge batteries if needed.

Challenge: Large, Medium, Small

Level 2: Large, Medium, Small

Level 1: Large, Medium, Small

2. Speed


Goal: Launch the same rocket 15 times in 30 minutes. The rocket should reach at least 50 feet in altitude on each flight.

  • Level 2 - 10 times in 30 minutes

  • Level 1 - 5 times in 30 minutes

Purpose: Teaches you to how to improve launch procedure efficiencies, and quick fill/pressurise launcher design.

Challenge: Large, Medium, Small

Level 2: Large, Medium, Small

Level 1: Large, Medium, Small

3. Precision


Goal: Fly a rocket that will not spin more than 45 degrees from launch to apogee. The rocket should reach at least 50 feet in altitude.

  • Level 2 - 90 degrees

  • Level 1 - 180 degrees

Purpose: Teaches you to build your rocket accurately, paying particular attention to aerodynamics and fin alignment. Building non-rotating rockets is useful for aerial photography.

Hint: You can use an on board camera to look down and see how far the rocket has rotated in respect to some reference point.

Challenge: Large, Medium, Small

Level 2: Large, Medium, Small

Level 1: Large, Medium, Small

4. Power


Goal: Lift a 50Kg mass 30 feet.

  • Level 2 - 25Kg to 30 feet.

  • Level 1 - 10Kg to 30 feet.

Purpose: Teaches you how to build powerful boosters.

Notes: The rocket and launcher can be any design, and clusters are allowed. The dry weight of the rocket can be taken into account.

Challenge: Large, Medium, Small

Level 2: Large, Medium, Small

Level 1: Large, Medium, Small

5. Multi-stage


Goal: Successfully launch and recover a 5 stage rocket.

  • Level 2 - 4 stage rocket

  • Level 1 - 3 stage rocket

Purpose: Teaches you how to prepare and setup a complicated launch. You need to consider how you fill and assemble the rocket on the pad. It also teaches you how to make solid inter-stage connections.

Challenge: Large, Medium, Small

Level 2: Large, Medium, Small

Level 1: Large, Medium, Small

6. Payload


Goal: Fly a dozen (12) eggs simultaneously more than 100 feet and land them safely without breaking.

  • Level 2 - 6 eggs to 100 feet.

  • Level 1 - 3 eggs to 100 feet.

Purpose: Teaches you how to carry fragile payloads on board rockets.

Challenge: Large, Medium, Small

Level 2: Large, Medium, Small

Level 1: Large, Medium, Small

7. Accuracy


Goal: Land a rocket 3 times consecutively within 20 feet of the launch pad. Rocket must fly at least 100 feet high.

  • Level 2 - 3 times within 50 feet of launch pad.

  • Level 1 - 3 times within 75 feet of launch pad.

Purpose: Teaches you how to set-up the rocket, launcher and launch parameters to get the rocket to land in a particular spot.

Challenge: Large, Medium, Small

Level 2: Large, Medium, Small

Level 1: Large, Medium, Small

8. Volume

Goal: Launch a rocket whose total pressurised volume exceeds 100L. Rocket must fly higher than 50 feet.

  • Level 2 - 50L rocket to 50 feet.

  • Level 1 - 25L rocket to 50 feet.

Purpose: Teaches you to assemble large volume pressure vessels.

Notes: The rocket can be clustered, staged or single pressure chamber.

Challenge: Large, Medium, Small

Level 2: Large, Medium, Small

Level 1: Large, Medium, Small

9. Recovery


Goal: Build and successfully fly 5 different recovery systems.

  • Level 2 - Successfully fly 4 different recovery systems.

  • Level 1 - Successfully fly 3 different recovery systems.

Purpose: Teaches you to pros and cons of various recovery methods.

Notes: The recovery systems should be quite different from each other. Using a different coloured parachute doesn't count. Suggestions for recovery systems include: Parachute, Helicopter, Streamer, Backglider etc.

Challenge: Large, Medium, Small

Level 2: Large, Medium, Small

Level 1: Large, Medium, Small

10. Materials

Goal: Launch a rocket over 200 feet using only PET plastic. No glue, tape or other materials are allowed.

  • Level 2 - Fly to 100 feet with rocket only made of PET.

  • Level 1 - Fly to 50 feet with rocket only made of PET.

Purpose: Teaches you how to use materials in different ways.

Notes: The PET plastic may be heat treated or heat welded.

Challenge: Large, Medium, Small

Level 2: Large, Medium, Small

Level 1: Large, Medium, Small


When you have achieved a challenge or a challenge level, you can download the corresponding patch from the right hand column above and use it as you see fit. There are 3 sizes available for each patch. The images are .PNGs with a transparent background. Note: Some browsers may display the transparent part of the image in different ways. You can change the background in an image editor if you like to fit with the webpage you are putting it on.


  • When attempting these challenges always follow good safety practices.

  • Most of the challenges don't specify the type of materials to use, nor do they specify what pressures, nozzle sizes or launcher types. This allows you to approach each challenge with the materials you have available.

  • Each challenge also teaches you something different about water rocket construction that is directly applicable to more advanced rockets.

  • How you present your challenge attempt to demonstrate that you have satisfied the requirements is up to you.

  • You may attempt the challenges as individuals or as teams.

  • You can attempt the challenges in any order you like.

  • You get extra credit if you exceed the challenge by a significant margin.

  • The challenges are retrospective. Meaning that if you have already flown a rocket in the past that satisfies any of the challenge criteria then you can claim the challenge patch.

If you are a teacher or scout leader you may want to try some of these challenges with your group of kids, but simplify the challenge to make it achievable within available time and resources.


Q1: I don't have an altimeter. How do I know my rocket went 100 feet high?

A1: Simulate your rocket flight and if the simulation predicts flights over 100 feet and flying the rocket looks like it reached at least 100 feet, then that's close enough. If it's 90 feet or 110 feet it is not critical. You can also use alternate methods to measure altitudes.

Let us know how you go and we will add a link above with your attempts. You can also discuss your attempts here:

So which challenge will you start today?

Challenge Attempts

Here are the challenge attempts so far by members of the water rocket community:

Challenge Attempts
Strength Teamlucrockets

Luc's start at the Strength challenge. Here is his write-up:
Updated 3/8/2013:
Video of first 5 flights:
Video of flights 6-10:
Team Lucrockets has achieved Level 1 - Strength Challenge

Updated: 18/8/2013
Precision Fluffi Rocket Labs

Yossarian's great attempt at the Precision challenge:

Updated: 18/6/2013
Materials Air Command Water Rockets

Attempt #1:
Attempt #2: day132
Updated: 30/3/2013


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