Lots of progress with RRS archiving and history

We’ve had a lot of progress recently with archiving RRS newsletters and other publications. I’ve put up six more newsletters. I’ve posted three more newsletters I received from Osvaldo a while back and had backlogged to post. This includes issue Vol_54_4_Dec_1997.pdf which is the second half of the RRS’s summary of the history of liquid propellant work at our society.


RRS liquid rockets from the 1990’s

Three more editions of the early Astrojet newsletter where also posted in the newsletters section with the help of Dave Nordling who got Caltech’s JPL library to send us what digital copies they had of Astrojet. I suspect they may have more in their archives because it seems odd to have only three non-sequential issues, but we haven’t been able to locate them through their catalog. The RRS is thankful to the Caltech JPL library for retaining and helping us obtain a copy of these early works of the Glendale Rocket Society (former name of the RRS). We hope to work with them more in finding all we can on the RRS history.


RRS founder, George James with his “Slim Jim Rocket”

Dave Crisalli shared with us ten more articles and two videos. These reports and videos have been posted on the “Other RRS articles” tab of the RRS website.

Six of these articles are from High Power Rocketry Magazine and were authored by Dave. Also included was the most recent versions of David Elliot’s and Lee Rosenthal’s hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) monopropellant rocket report from the 1950’s.

Dave Crisalli’s package included a Scientific American magazine article from 1957 which includes mention of the RRS. This is on the “Articles about the RRS” tab of our website.

Also we have an improved version of Dave Crisalli’s 1976 liquid rocket report that has been updated with more pictures and drawings.

Dave also shared two fantastic videos. One is the video report on the hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) monopropellant rocket that was filmed at the time of construction and test in the 1950’s with audio narration by David Elliot being added later by Dave Crisalli.

The second is a video report on Dave’s sounding rocket, a written report on the Rocket was also shared. This video also includes some liquid propellant work done at the time by other RRS members.


Dave Crisalli’s regeneratively cooled LOX-kerosene rocket engine

Both of these new videos can be seen on the RRS YouTube channel linked below. Please subscribe to our channel so you can be informed of updates as we make them. There will certainly be more to come!
RRS YouTube channel – ReactionResearchSoc

Frank Miuccio, our society VP, contributed a small collection that I’ve also posted to the “articles about the RRS” tab of the RRS website. This included six magazine articles and some news clippings.


(Image from Popular Science article)

Another item added to the other RRS articles section, brought to us by John Mariano and scanned by RRS secretary, Dave Nordling, is a short book on early micrograin rockets jointly from the Reaction Research Society (RRS) and the Pacific Rocket Society (PRS). The title is simply “Micrograin Rockets” and was written by B.J. Humphreys Jr with excellent illustrations and descriptions.

Micrograin rocket and an early hybrid design (B.J. Humphreys Jr.)

Dave Nordling is also working on scanning a second book from John Mariano’s personal library which should be available soon.

A lot more will be coming soon. Frank Miuccio managed to obtain a collection of RRS newsletters. They are issue numbers 59 through 100 and he has lent them to me to scan. This will double the number of newsletters we have archived!

In addition to that, Dave Nordling has gotten for us the RRS material that happened to be scanned and collected by the Google Books Library Project. This was five documents some with several Astrojet editions included. The collection totals 934 pages in all. Although some of the Astrojet newsletters are duplicates. The collection includes reprints of the first eight RRS newsletters from our founding in 1943! A truly impressive find which we hope to share soon.

All this new material will have to be scanned and parsed before being posted, which I hope to accomplish one at a time over the next few months. I’ll write a follow-up post once it’s all up on the RRS website.

More RRS newsletters

We strongly encourage our current and former membership to consider donating or just letting the RRS borrow articles, photos and reports for scanning and inclusion into the ever-expanding RRS archives. We hope to build a great story for the RRS history project coinciding with our upcoming 75th anniversary next year.

If there are any errors, clarifications, questions, suggestions or other things you’d like to add or donate to the RRS archives, contact me at research@rrs.org.

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An Evening on Mars

RRS president Osvaldo Tarditti and RRS VP Frank Miuccio attended, “An Evening on Mars”, hosted by Mars City Design and Digital Hollywood on May 25, 2017 at the Skirball Cultural Center. Over 125 people attended this exciting and very successful evening. The RRS has been glad to collaborate with Mars City Design over the past year.

Mars City Design
Digital Hollywood

Attendees of this sold out event got to enjoy a Martian-themed dinner to experience what dining might be on Mars. Skirball Center chefs prepared a variety of foods grown by different organizations including Martian Farms, Martian Vineyard wines and vegetarian butchers.

Martian Farms – Facebook
Martian Vineyard

One of the main guest speakers at the event was the mayor of California City, Jennifer Wood. Mayor Wood gave a brief background of California City and discussed how the projects from Mars City Design would become an asset for the city.

Mayor Jennifer Wood, California City

Mars City Design is looking to place a prototype 3D-printed building at the RRS Mojave Test Area (MTA).

At the event the artist and filmmaker, Jan Frojdman, presented a beautiful flyover video compiled from the HiRISE camera orbital footage of the red planet. The link below is a sample from an article posted on CNET.com

Jan Frojdman – Mars Flyover (CNET.com)

The RRS donated a standard alpha rocket to Mars City Design for the event. The winner of the raffle was the organization, Space Nation. Although they decided not launch the rocket, since they really loved it and wanted to keep it intact, Space Nation did attend our launch event at the MTA with UCLA on June 3, 2017.

Space Nation

One of the highlights for the evening was the announcement of Mars City Design’s Challenges 2017 Finalists. The link below has more of the rich details on each of the winning design finalists.

Mars City Design – Finalists 2017

The RRS would like to thank Mars City Design and Digital Hollywood for producing a great event. We look forward to partnering with Mars City Design in further projects coming soon.

blue sunset on Mars, courtesy of JPL

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RRS attends the 48th RTG meeting at AFRL

The RRS was glad to be invited to attend the 48th meeting of the Rocket Test Group (RTG) held at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on April 11 and 12, 2017. I had the honor of representing the RRS at the event and would like to thank Phil Rice of AFRL and Tom Jacks of NASA Stennis Space Center (SSC) who are the current chairmen of the RTG.

The RTG is an entirely volunteer organization of rocket test facility operators where they share experiences and safe practices in an effort to pass knowledge between private industry, government and academia.

Rocket Test Group (RTG)

The RRS was glad to make a presentation introducing ourselves and sharing our long rich history. It was great to see the presentations and listen to some of the new developments and issues among the country’s different rocket testing organizations. Presenters at the event included AFRL, Purdue University, Parabilis Space Technology and Aerojet Rocketdyne. Also in attendance was XCOR, Blue Origin, Aerospace Corporation, Johns Hopkins University and NASA SSC.

Dave Nordling presents at the 48th RTG meeting at AFRL

Photography was only permitted inside of the meeting hall which had some great exhibits of historic rocket engines including the Agena upper stage and a recovered SCUD engine.

the venerable Agena upper stage engine at AFRL

recovered SCUD motor on display at AFRL

Also in a display case at the AFRL meeting hall were flight prototypes of laser light propelled disks invented by Dr. Leik Myrabo, researched by the Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute and developed by the company Lightcraft Technologies in 2001.

Lightcraft Technologies Incorporated

It was a fascinating experiment showing how a powerful ground-based laser system (such as those developed under the former “Star Wars” program from the Cold War) could be used to propel a very small spinning disk payload to high altitudes and perhaps even to orbit.

laser light propulsion prototypes tested at AFRL

Link to a USA Today science article (2/16/2001) on this project:
USA Today, Science, 2001-FEB-06

In addition to the presentations, our Air Force hosts gave us a tour of the research and testing facilities. We got to witness a solid grain test firing at Area 1-32, tour the AFRL liquid rocket stands, the Space Propellants Environmental Facility (SPEF) and the AFRL Electric Propulsion laboratory.

RTG 48 group photo at AFRL 1-A stand

Photography wasn’t allowed on the tour, but we had a group photo taken in front of the historic AFRL 1-A stand where the F-1 engine was proven in the 1960’s and the RS-68 engine started development in the late 1990’s. It was truly a pleasure to see so much history at AFRL.

The RRS was also glad to be accepted into the RTG organization as an educational non-profit group and we look forward to attending the next bi-annual RTG meeting later this year.

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