September 2016 meeting

The September meeting of the RRS took place last night, Friday the 9th, at 7:39pm in Gardena.  Meeting was called to order by Chris and Osvaldo.

Frank submitted a presentation for the RRS meeting as he couldn’t attend.  Chris displayed Frank’s presentation for us.

(1)  Frank said that the Symposium has been rescheduled to February 11, 2017 at the Gardena Community Center.  The new date is not yet confirmed but should be soon.  (I’ll post an official notice on the RRS website)  Many of the interested parties expressed that February would be a better time for them to participate.  Also, this gives us more time to make a better symposium.

(2) Frank said that the October 14th RRS meeting may be held at USC, likely at the USC RPL.

The two potential topics at next month’s meeting will be:

(A) the SuperDosa project.  Osvaldo, Richard and I will meet beforehand and work out some details and present them at the meeting in October.

(B) USC RPL will have a presentation to give the RRS a status on their latest builds and launch goals.

(3) Frank mentioned the “Mars City Design” organization that has expressed interest in building a structure at or near the RRS MTA.   There was a lot of information presented and a design competition.  I didn’t get much of the details, but the website is linked below.  The RRS is glad to lend our support.

In other topics,

The flyers for John Mariano haven’t been made yet, but I think the flyer design is ready to go.   Chris said he’d get some made so John can start passing them out.  The RRS flyer is just to introduce people to our organization.   It should help us bring in new members as John works at the California Science Center.

Chris talked about the California Science Center having a great 40 minute movie presentation titled “Journey to Space” which was produced by Boeing and Toyota.  It may not be running much longer so everyone should try to make it to the California Science Center soon.

Larry Hoffing wasn’t able to attend, but he had said that the Compton Charter school had indicated interest in having an RRS alpha build event.   It’s great to have another opportunity to share with more schools.   I need to meet with Larry to discuss the educational materials we were working on.

Osvaldo talked about the magazine storage requirements for AP (ammonium perchlorate) at the RRS MTA.  We need to find out more details on the quantities and storage requirements that we’ll need to follow.  Safety first!

Richard had asked a general question about when is a pyrotechnical operator (pyro-op) necessary and what kinds of work can be done at the RRS MTA without a pyro-op.   It was agreed that the rules regarding pyro-op’s should be reviewed.  The RRS has pyro-op people available and sometime can call upon the FAR group if necessary.  The RRS has been wanting to add pyro-op’s to our roster to allow us to work more easily.

Steve Majdali brought some of his best chlorate crystals to show.  Steve also cleared up a question that I thought I had about the “Galcit” propellant and the potassium perchlorate oxidizer it uses (K CL O4 versus a mistyped “KC104”)   Steve recounted the details of his electrolysis experiments to cheaply generate chlorates and later make perchlorates starting with table salt, water and other low cost chemicals.  He’s written several papers and many of them are being published.

USC had talked about testing at the MTA sometime this month, I believe.  Dave Crisalli and his team are still working out at the MTA for this month and the next.   Next launch event for the RRS is still to be in November (November 19th is our standard launch date for that month).

Meeting was adjourned at 9:08pm.  Next meeting will be October 14th.  If confirmed, this meeting will be at the USC RPL.   More details will be forthcoming.

As always, contact me if I have missed anything, if there’s something to be added or if any is not accurate.  I can also expand upon past topics if there’s more to say.  Thanks!

Col. Vernon P. Saxon Air Museum (Boron, CA)

The Col. Vernon P. Saxon Air Museum is located in Boron, CA. They have many aviation and rocketry exhibits including artifacts from the classic space age (Atlas, Saturn) and selected items from the more recent upstart companies such as Air Launch (Garvey), Truax, piece of the Percheron (Galveston) before the Conestoga.

Boron is just straight east from Mojave on the CA-58 highway. The museum is just before Domingo’s Mexican restaurant on the Twenty Mule Team Road located in the heart of much aviation history including Edwards AFB and the NASA Armstrong Flight Center.  Boron is a very, very small town so it should be easy to find.

I didn’t find a museum website, but “Roadside America” posted a review.

RRS member, Richard Garcia visited the site and took many photos.  I’m hoping he’ll expand a little on this post with some photos and observations he made.  It sounds like a fun place.


August 2016 meeting

The monthly meeting for the RRS was held in Gardena last Friday night, August 12, 2016.

We had a prior member, Jason Wolven, pay us a visit from out of town.  The meeting was called to order at 8:04pm.

New batch of alpha parts was made. Aluminum nose cones proved to be cheaper to make than the plastic nozzles.  Nozzles, couplers, propellant and payload tubes all ready for more upcoming launches.

The MTA will be in use in the months of September and October.  The next RRS launch will likely be November.   Many of us have had interest in getting rockets ready as it’s been too long..

I brought in a few of the recovered alphas that my friend and I extracted over this last month. Many of them were experiencing hot gas leakage around the nozzle and sometimes at the coupler.   Most were landing straight west from the alpha rails but there was a lot of variance.  The cause of the hot gas leakage at the nozzle and coupler is blamed on the use of an overly thick burst disk.  The thinner types have been used and the problem has disappeared.  Osvaldo brought a compilation of the video footage from the multiple alpha launches in May with the Hermosa High students.  Richard offered to post this on the RRS’s YouTube channel.

digging up an Alpha is hard work. painting the payload tube makes the dirt stick harder!

digging up an Alpha is hard work. painting the payload tube makes the dirt stick harder!

I did recover an upper stage from an older project.  Osvaldo recognized this as a design used by a member around 15 years ago?

upper stage recovered at the MTA

upper stage recovered at the MTA

Richard Garcia did some research on resources dealing with emergencies at the MTA.
Anti-venom is not available at the Mojave airport. Hospitals in the cities of Lancaster, Ridgecrest and Tehachapi may have anti-venom available as snake bite is a problem in the desert cities also.  I don’t know if the city of Mojave has emergency services or not?  The city of Bakersfield has sometimes provided emergency services to the Mojave area.

Mercy Air recommended calling 911 instead of calling them directly.  It is the fastest way to get help rather than trying to directly call the helicopter.  The helicopter crew generally won’t land without fire department being present or having someone qualified to guide the helicopter at its landing.  The RRS is looking into these requirements further to better aid in a potential rescue situation.

GPS coordinates are the best to find our site. Chris Lujan offered to bring that information. The RRS website has the MTA latitude/longitude coordinates.

Richard also mentioned that he recently visited the Col. Vernon P. Saxon Air Museum in Boron, CA which is straight east of Mojave on the CA-58 highway.  The curator for the rocketry exhibits was very helpful.  There are Saturn, Atlas artifacts from the classic space age.  There are also exhibits from the more recent upstart companies such as Air Launch (Garvey), Truax, pieces of the Percheron rocket (launched from Galveston) which came before the Conestoga rocket.   I’ll put a separate post to elaborate more on this museum if anyone wants to know more.

Wikipedia, under the “Amateur Rocketry” entry, mentions under “Notable Events” that the RRS (by a team with George Garboden) set an altitude record of 50 miles (80 km) in Black Rock on November 23, 1996.  Eight years later, the record was set by Civilian Space eXploration Team (CSXT) in 2004 at 115 km breaking the Von Karman line of space which remains the record today.  I had asked if the RRS has interest in recapturing the record and the response was strong. Some ideas were discussed.  This would be a substantial project but could be very practical with some good planning.

The RRS Symposium 2016 (October 15) is in work.  We’ll continue to discuss the symposium and have more details to post very soon.

Meeting was adjourned at 9:18pm.  If I have missed any other discussion topics in the August meeting or if anything isn’t correct, please let me know.

Next meeting will be at Gardena, 2nd Friday, September 9, 2016.