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Old 03-27-2016, 12:40 AM
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Initiator001 Initiator001 is online now
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Default Products that were never released

I like many on this website enjoy discussing/learning about the history of our hobby.

One of the best threads started on this site was the discussion with Mike Dorrfler about Estes products which were announced but never released.

In my many years of collecting I've heard stories about products from hobby rocket companies which never made it out the plant door. In some cases literature, pictures, parts or even entire products were made but never released to the public.

I have some of these items and decided that others may enjoy hearing about them and their history.

I will do the best I can to present these items but most of what I know about each has been verbally told to me, there is little written documentation. If anyone has more actual knowledge about these items please feel free to post it.

I plan to just present items I have. If anyone wishes to ask questions about other products than what I am presenting I ask that this be done in a different thread.

There is no set time for me to contribute to this thread. It will happen randomly as time/mood/if I can find the darn item allows.

Thanks to Scott for supporting this idea.

I hope my fellow rocketeers will enjoy the stories of these products.
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Old 03-27-2016, 01:07 AM
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Sounds good to me, Bob. Bring it on .
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Old 03-27-2016, 01:50 PM
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Oh, this is going to be real interesting! I love this kind of info. I'm looking forward to this, Bob.
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Old 03-27-2016, 06:18 PM
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SEL SEL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Initiator001
I like many on this website enjoy discussing/learning about the history of our hobby.

One of the best threads started on this site was the discussion with Mike Dorrfler about Estes products which were announced but never released.

In my many years of collecting I've heard stories about products from hobby rocket companies which never made it out the plant door. In some cases literature, pictures, parts or even entire products were made but never released to the public.

I have some of these items and decided that others may enjoy hearing about them and their history.

I will do the best I can to present these items but most of what I know about each has been verbally told to me, there is little written documentation. If anyone has more actual knowledge about these items please feel free to post it.

I plan to just present items I have. If anyone wishes to ask questions about other products than what I am presenting I ask that this be done in a different thread.

There is no set time for me to contribute to this thread. It will happen randomly as time/mood/if I can find the darn item allows.

Thanks to Scott for supporting this idea.

I hope my fellow rocketeers will enjoy the stories of these products.


Great idea Bob - looking forward to this!

S.
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Old 03-27-2016, 06:33 PM
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+1 to comments above! Go for it!

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Old 03-27-2016, 07:25 PM
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I'm all eyes.
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Old 03-27-2016, 08:55 PM
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Hopefully not a thread that's never released...
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Old 03-27-2016, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Holmes
Hopefully not a thread that's never released...
Wondering the same thing !

Doug

.
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Old 03-27-2016, 09:48 PM
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Hey, give me a chance to post something.
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Old 03-27-2016, 09:55 PM
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Default Talking Launch Controller

Time Frame: 1998-1999
Company: Estes
Product: Laser Launch Controller

By 1998 Estes Industries had been run by Barry Tunick for almost ten years. Tunick, coming from a toy industry background, wanted to introduce more interaction or ‘play value’ in model rocketry.

One idea was to make the launching of a model rocket more involving. This lead to the idea of having a speaking/talking launch controller. A synthesized voice would sound a countdown and upon reaching zero the rocket would launch.

This speaking controller would replace the Electron Beam controller found in Estes Starter Sets and available separately. It was named the Laser Launch Controller.

Estes went to the effort of having a mold made for this controller and twenty prototype/pre-production units were made. These were fully functional with a female voice giving a five second countdown (It was not the voice of Mary Roberts).

I was sent one of these units to beta-test and I used it at a launch held by the Southern California Rocketry Association (SCRA, NAR Section # 430) at their Los Angeles launch site. The unit had several similarities and differences with the Electron Beam controller. Both used four AA batteries and a safety key but everything else was different.

The safety key was a flat piece of plastic which on one end fit over the top of a launch rod and the other end had a metallic contact. This contact would fit into a socket on the side of the Laser launch controller. This would cause a continuity light to go on if there was a complete circuit to the igniter. The modeler would then hold down a button which would causer the controller to begin speaking the countdown. At ‘zero’ a green light would appear on the controller, the modeler would let go of the button and the rocket would launch. The launch could be stopped by letting go of the button before the green light appeared. This was counter-intuitive to the way other launch controllers operated.

My use of the Laser Launch Controller had a crowd gather to hear the voice of the unit. After one use the crowd walked away with little comment. I brought the controller to usual SCRA post-launch hang-out (Jack-in-the-Box) where folks operated the unit but it failed to hold their attention for long.

My report back to Estes was that it was initially interesting but didn’t hold folks attention. A gimmick.

The Laser Launch Controller never saw production and release. I was told the reason was that the price for the voice chip could not be brought down low enough for the Laser controller to be sold for the same price as the Electron Beam controller. I was also told that there had been some safety concerns raised about the way the unit worked.

I vaguely recall a handbill/buckslip/handout about the Laser Launch Controller but so far I have not found such a thing in my collection.

Of the twenty units made I know of the location of two of them. The status of the other eighteen is unknown to me.
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