QuickBASIC programs

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model rocket flight calculations

ROCKET is a model rocket altitude prediction program written by Michael Gasperi in the 1980s and sold by Estes Industries. The program, which runs in BASIC, is called "PC ASTROCAD." The Mike Gasperi version is "bare bones," so my brother-in-law Andy and I began to write a full featured program around Mike's  calculations.

We started this in the 1980s. At that point in time the IBM XT had not been invented. Andy was using a Radio Shack Color Computer and I used a Mattel Aquarius.

Matell Aquarius
Tandy Color Computer
  Matell Aquarius   Tandy Color Computer  

This was in the early days of home computing, when the computer monitor was your TV set and programs were stored on cassette tape. When MS-DOS based computers became available that would all change, but they were (in the beginning) too expensive to actually own one. Then one fateful Christmas Day, Andy found a Tandy TL, which ran on MS-DOS, under the Christmas tree! I built an XT clone, then an AT clone, then a 386, 486, Pentium, etc, and so did Andy. Back then you didn't have to pay for an operating system. Of course, you were "supposed" to pay for it, but we never did.

We retyped the program into the new computers, since they were incompatible with the cassette tapes from our older machines. As time went on we used BASIC, BASICA and GW-BASIC (Microsoft improved MS BASIC when improved versions of MS-DOS were released).

In 1988 QuickBASIC ver 4.5 was released. We moved the program to QuickBASIC and would share our new versions of ROCKET back and forth, since we worked on them independently. I would take Andy's improvements and copy them into my version and Andy did the same with my improvements.

This resulted in slightly different code. For example, the version of BASIC used by the Aquarius didn't have the "DEF FN" (DEFine FuNction) statement, nor did it have the ATN (arctangent) function. Both were used in the original Estes calculations. At first I was very disappointed that I couldn't run the program (and Andy could!), but then I resolved to take the calculations apart so they would work on the Aquarius.

The Aquarius version can be found at the bottom of this page.

The program began in two color CGA. When EGA and VGA became available we made it run in EGA, but it would still run in CGA if it had to. You would have to dig up some ancient computer relic with a CGA monitor to actually see it in CGA because the program checks for the monitor. You can't toggle it manually.

Below are some screen caps of the program. It's easy to use. Once you define a rocket you can save the specs to a file and then run the program using various engines to determine the best one.

Model Rocket Performance Prediction
The opening screen.
Model Rocket Performance Prediction
Begin entering rocket specs.
Model Rocket Performance Prediction
Entering rocket specs.
Model Rocket Performance Prediction
Estimating rocket drag.
Model Rocket Performance Prediction
You can skip these steps if you think the drag is "typical."
Model Rocket Performance Prediction
The program handles multi-stage rockets and engine clusters. It also allows for non-Estes engines (user input).
Model Rocket Performance Prediction
Output of the program.

    Because the program started out in GWBASIC it has a large main module. It was actually exceeding the file size allowed. The fact that it ran in black and white in CGA and 16 colors in EGA didn't help, as there was duplication of the various screens. The CGA code has been deleted but it's still a mess. It has many GOTO and GOSUB statements, because GWBASIC didn't have separate modules for subroutines.

QuickBASIC and/or DOS executable version.

Left-click and "save as" to download the
QuickBASIC source code.


Left-click and "save as" to download the  stand-alone executable
version for DOS. (Rename the extension to .EXE).

QB64 and/or WINDOWS executable version.

Left-click and "save as" to download the
QB64 source code.


Left-click and "save as" to download the  stand-alone executable
version for WINDOWS. (Rename the extension to .EXE).

NOTE: WINDOWS DEFENDER might give you a hard time. Click on "More Info" and tell it to let the "app" run anyway.
NOTE 2: The QuickBASIC version is the same as the QB64 version, but with minor changes to make it compatible with QuickBASIC.

Download the original Estes files to easily view the calculations. PERFORM.BAS and DRAGPRE.BAS

  In November of 2018 I contacted Mike Gasperi. He told me he wrote the programs for his own interests and ran them by Robert Cannon at Estes to see if they wanted to publish them. They "paid" Mike by giving him two old Cinerocs and a Transroc. (A Cineroc had a movie camera, a Transroc had a transmitter.) The real honor was having his name in the Estes catalog.

Estes was still selling the programs ten years later for $19.95. I wonder how much they made on their investment. It is interesting that they put the words "COPYRIGHT ESTES INDUSTRIES,1990" at the top of the programs. They should have written "PLAGIARIZED BY ESTES INDUSTRIES, 1990."

In 2021, Mike was kind enough to donate the BASIC files so they would be available here. A zip file containing 12 programs in BASIC and a copy of GWBASIC is here. The instruction manual is here. Mike's website, "Forsaken Technologies," is here.


This is the screen from the Mattel Aquarius version. Click on the image for the source code. It can be run in Virtual Aquarius by using the "Quicktype" option from the File menu, or can be run in Aqualite by selecting "Load File" from the File menu.


Note: QuickBASIC and the executable version of ROKET74 only run in DOS.
         Qb64 and the executable version of ROKET75 run in Windows.

You can install DOSBox for Windows or MAC by clicking on the DOSBox picture above. You don't need QuickBASIC to run the .EXE file.  TIP: <Alt> + <Enter> will make DOSBox full screen!