Sunday, March 12, 2017

"ASTRON" - What Happened?

I purposely cut off the ASTRON name from the Skydart decal to match the original kit.
Here's a recent comment from the Skydart build decal post:

"What??!! Leave off 'Astron'??? NOOOOOO!!
Blasphemy! Blasphemy! Blasphemy!!"

I had thought the Skydart made it's first appearance in 1973. In the '73 catalog , the word Astron was not part of the catalog description.
I was wrong, the Skydart was actually introduced in 1972. In that catalog it was called the "Astron Skydart". In '72, most all the sport models (up to the K-57 Skydart) had the Astron name.
In the '73 catalog the "Astron" name starts to disappear. Only the Big Bertha, Shrike, Trident and Apogee II kept Astron in their descriptions.

I always wondered why Estes used the word "ASTRON" as part of the kit name.
From a great Estes article in Sport Rocketry issue from May/June 2007: CLICK HERE

VERN: "I am frequently asked where the term "Astron" came from. I remember we decided to use it while still in Denver. My recollection has always been that the word meant "over and above" and that I had found it in a dictionary or other printed reference. Today, when I look for such a reference it cannot be found. Perhaps I coined the word with the intent of it having such a meaning. Today, when I Google for the word "Astron," I find a lot of businesses and organizations using it in their names. Perhaps, some of these entities are ones that were founded by some of our early model rocketeers."


  1. Interesting. I wondered if it had been applied to a line of kits which all had something in common. Maybe the same designer, or something. I figured it must have some meaning, to apply to some Estes rockets and not others.

    1. Hi Daniel,
      The designs of the 1960s were designed by a team of four or five people at Estes -
      You'll see the Astron name associated with all sport models of that time but not attached to any scale kits.

  2. You could make your own decal copy of the retro typeface for the Astron, that might look better than the supplied currrent version in all caps.

    1. Hi Glen,
      I probably could have done that - but that old "Astron" logo could look dated on the modern design of the Skydart. I would put the Astron logo on sport models of the 1960s era.

  3. Thanks for the addition here, Chris!

    Reason why the 'Astron' term is so important to me.....(history mode on)

    Back in spring '77, when I was 8.5yrs old, I had most of the old Astron named rockets. And, I loved that so much, that I was even calling my initial scratch builts then by the same.

    So, I'm flying at the school club, with just about everyone else there WAY older than myself...and I made it a point to indicate the names of my stuff as: Astron Alpha, Astron SkyDart, Astron Orbital Transport, and Astron Avenger.

    After about the sixth time, one of the high schoolers there, notoriously a bully type, then smarmly says, "So, you're supposed to be AstronMike?"

    That got laughter, some of it not so funny, but that term stuck, and I still see myself as "that".

    So, now you know some of the backstory of AstronMike!