The Astrocam 110 was a model rocket
kit from Estes
Like most model rockets, a few seconds after burnout (to allow the rocket to reach its apex) the engine would fire an explosive charge to blow the nose cone off of the body (a small rubber cord would keep it attached). The nosecone would also pull out the rocket's parachute.
Unlike most model rockets, the Astrocam 110 was designed to take arial photographs. Inside the nose cone was a small, fully functioning camera that took pictures on 110 film. Through a timing device, the camera would fire a few seconds after the nose cone was blown off of the rocket - the delay was to ensure that the nosecone was pointed downwards so that the picture would be of the ground.
The Astrocam 110 was considerably more expensive than the average Estes rocket kit. It was also a bit more difficult to assemble. In addition to many of the common steps required to assemble a model rocket (build engine mount, attach engine mount, sand fins if wooden fins are used, attach fins, attach shroud lines to parachute, attach parachute to nose cone, attach shock cord to nose cone and rocket body, paint rocket, apply decals), the nose cone, including the somewhat complex workings of the camera, had to be assembled.
Like every other model rocket, the risk of launch was high - one failed parachute, or an unexpected wind gust, and hours of work would end up landing in an unrecoverable fashion. Due to the added expense and build time required for this particular rocket, its potential loss was not to be taken lightly.