While we’ve seen brilliant designs for electric “rockets,” using electric ducted fan (EDF) propulsion, at the end of the day these devices are variations on spinning a rotor to create thrust — not rockets in the traditional sense. The Rocket Drone by “RC Lover san,” however, may be the first to be able to properly claim to have combined the two technologies as an actual rocket that can land vertically, using motor pods that pop out once deployed.
This prototype— manufactured creatively with parts including a soda bottle as the main fuselage — vaguely resembles what you might get if you crossed a SpaceX rocket with an autobot. In its ready-to-fly configuration, four drone pods rest on the body in a folded position, with a face drawn on the fuselage that makes it appear to be flexing its “shoulders.” The rocket is then fired with a blast of water from its tail in this compact configuration, propelling it into the air at 12 meters per second, as opposed to the 5 or so meters per second of typical drones. Solid pyrotechnic fuel could propel this craft even faster, meaning this type of configuration would be perfect if you needed to attain altitude very quickly.
When at altitude, the motors on the arms can be spun up, causing each to pivot upwards and snap into place. The craft can then be flown as a drone to move about and land vertically, and the pods can be released again with a servo as needed. Pop-out landing feet have also been designed, making it appear even more like a Space X vehicle, and facilitating safe landing.