December 2017 meeting

The RRS held its monthly meeting, December 8, 2017, at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center. With the wildfires throughout Los Angeles and Ventura counties, many of our members had difficulty making it, but we were still well attended. We started late at 8:01pm.

Larry announces election results for RRS officers in 2018

In old business, we discussed the successful launch event on November 18th with the LAPD CSP and the kids of Grape Street Elementary and the Imperial Courts housing project in Watts. The kids actually recovered 11 of the 13 rockets launched and even found two others from the previous program. This was a very impressive feat given how easily an alpha can get lost in the desert scrub.

The event with Imperial Courts included a tour of Los Angeles AFB in El Segundo. At this event, the kids made paper rockets and used a pneumatic launcher provided by the officers at the Space Heritage Center. This was a very popular event so Frank bought a launcher for the RRS. We may build another one to have at the MTA. They simple and a very easy way to demonstrate the principles of good rocket building.

In new business, Larry Hoffing, our RRS election chair announced the results of officer elections for the new year, 2018.

Dave Nordling, secretary
Osvaldo Tarditti, president
Frank Miuccio, vice-president
Chris Lujan, treasurer

I am glad to serve the RRS for another year as your secretary.

Osvaldo brought coffee!

In the second order of business, I reminded all of our attendees and to our members reading this, that your $40 annual dues should be paid to keep the society running. I like to remind people at the start of a new year to pay their dues. We have a lot of things planned for our 75th anniversary year and we should start things right by renewing our memberships. The “DONATE” button on the RRS website works through Paypal and for some can be a convenient way of getting their dues paid straight to the RRS. Osvaldo gets a note once donations and payments are received, but each member can help the process by writing down in the comments segment what they are paying for such as “DUES” and include their name.

The students at Chaminade College Prep school in Chatsworth had a successful firing of two solid motors at the MTA that they made. They have approached the RRS on how they can continue their research. We have invited Chaminade to come to our meeting to present the results of their testing and discuss future endeavors.

The next RRS educational event through LAPD CSP will be early in the new year. Frank will be meeting with LAPD on January 12th to discuss the upcoming event with Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary school.

The RRS has been discussing the purchase of resources to continue supporting our growing launch events and the current projects we have started such as the SuperDosa project. After some basic discussion, this topic will be addressed in detail at the next month’s meeting when proposals and actual costs can be compared. The RRS needs to prepare specific cost proposals on improvement projects to better assist ourselves and potential donors in seeing what our needs are and how to best help us.

Frank was able to produce a short quantity of business cards for Larry who is running the education events for the RRS. We hope to get more schools involved and having a card helps leave our contact information with the right people.

The use of digital membership cards instead of paper ones was discussed. Given our membership numbers today, we are still able to provide paper membership cards to anyone specifically requesting one. Bill Janczewski has worked up a new design for these membership cards. To any of our membership desiring a membership card, please renew your dues, then contact the secretary by email providing your mailing address to receive this card. Or, send me an email letting me know you’ll be coming to the next monthly meeting.

secretary@rrs.org

Steve Majdali was in attendance at the meeting and brought his membership card from 2002. The new ones will look considerably better.

Steve Majdali’s RRS membership card from 2002

A short discussion about the details of the symposium in April was discussed. Food vendors will be solicited and we hope to make our vendor selection soon. Next month’s meeting will spend more time on the subject of the symposium which is coming soon. Frank Miuccio and I have begun soliciting speakers and exhibitors, some of which have already confirmed their attendance.

Submittals for the Astro-Jet newsletter are about to be closed. This was the last meeting to bring in articles. We have had some submittals, but we are still missing many others. PLEASE submit your articles to the secretary as soon as possible. Sale price of the Astro-Jet print copies will be $10 which is roughly the same cost as the quarterly newsletters of the society back in 1946 when scaled for inflation. Bill has worked up a basic layout and all we need is the final content to make it complete.

secretary@rrs.org

In other items that were not on the agenda, Bill Janczewski attended the downtown LA (DTLA) Maker Faire on Saturday, December 2nd. He felt this would have been an excellent venue for the RRS to have a booth and inspire people to join the RRS. The RRS will try to be part of next year’s event.

DTLA Maker Faire

Richard Garcia has had some success in working with the Friends of Amateur Rocketry next door. The FAR group had interest in Richard’s methane dewar and will borrow it for events at the FAR site. In exchange, the FAR group has made some modifications to the dewar including a cart for easier transportation of this heavy, vacuuum-jacketed vessel. Our thanks to John Newman and Steve Harrington. Richard will provide the RRS next month with a piping and instrumentation diagram (P&ID) to show the different features of the LNG dewar to assure safe operations.

As a last minute item, I reported some progress with modifying my timer circuit for my alpha parachute system which will hopefully fly at the next MTA event. Many thanks to Andrew Ning for his advice and practical skills. After replacing the relay with a lower-current solid state device, the circuit works much better. Still, I need a 3D printed plastic part to mount my recessed switch into the PVC payload tube I have made. Frank said he could help me get a prototype printed if I provided the solid model files.

The RRS welcomes two new members: Dr. Nancy Squires and Mr. Michael Lunny. Michael came to his first meeting last night and we were glad to show him the fruits of our labor from this busy year.

Our final event at the meeting was watching the final program made by the USC Impact News team who followed the entire progress of the Imperial Courts class with the RRS including the launch event. It was very professional and a touching reminder of why the RRS has our mission to educate and inspire. We hope to have copy of this program to show our audience sometime in the near future.

We adjourned at 9:17PM.

Please let me know if I have missed or misstated anything here. Our next meeting will be January 12, 2018. In the next meeting, we will discuss the next launch at the MTA and expand upon the work necessary for the upcoming symposium. I will also present the quarterly update to the SuperDosa project.

Hope to see you there.

MTA launch event, 2017-11-18

The RRS held a launch event with the Imperial Courts class on November 18, 2017 at our private Mojave Test Area (MTA). This launch event was the latest in a series of events we’ve had through the support of the LAPD CSP program. The event had 13 alpha rockets including 3 of these having smoke tracers in the payload section and the last one with a pair of keychain cameras on the tail. The USC Impact News crew was also in attendance to document this last event in the series with the Imperial Courts class.

Dave Crisalli was our pyro-op for this event. I was glad to assist on the loading and launching operations.

smoke tracer lead wires sticking out from the payload tube

One of the keychain cameras was only a dummy to balance the rocket. The actual camera was first thought to have been destroyed on launch only to be found a few inches into the soil when the rocket was recovered by shovel. We hope to show the footage if the data on the chip was also intact.

last alpha with the two cameras on the fins, one dummy, one actual

smashed keychain camera with XD memory chip still in place

Osvaldo tried a new method of loading of the micrograin propellant in preparing the alphas for this event. His method involved weighing out the whole propellant load and pouring it all at once in a large funnel being careful not to trap air pockets. Knocking on the side of the metal tubes with a wooden hammer is done to encourage settling then slowly lowering a wooden piston on a string into the tube to get a better and more consistent packing density in the tubes.

big funnel with wooden piston on a string; new alpha loading method

The weight of the loaded alphas at the MTA before launch did show a small improvement by being slightly heavier from more propellant packed in the same tubes. The main advantage was the loading procedure was less messy than the prior method of bouncing the bottom of the tube on a wood block which often results in air pockets escaping with packets of micrograin burping back up the tube.

Osvaldo gives instructions on the weighing of the alphas before flight

The alphas from Imperial Courts had bright color schemes from each of the individual teams. Having each of the rockets labelled with the paper tags was very helpful in keeping track. We should continue this practice for future events.

alphas from the Imperial Courts class

I have been slowly working on a small horizontal thrust stand to incorporate the load cell transmitter donated to the RRS by Interface Inc.
Interface Inc. – Precision Load Cells

An existing concrete pad with a three anchor-bolt pattern will be used and I have the first piece which is a steel footing plate to mate up with the hole pattern. Many thanks to Matt Moffitt of CNC Specialty Machining of Huntington Beach, CA, for his craftsmanship.

anchor plate for an RRS horizontal thrust stand

The students of Chaminade High School in Chatsworth also hot-fired their 4-inch solid rocket motors of their own making. After resolving some problems with the casing, the results of the firing were good.

4-inch solid motors from Chaminade High School

We also hosted UCLA as they hot-fired their liquid rocket. They attached their propellant tanks to one of our thrust frames for a full system demonstration.

UCLA NO2 and kerosene liquid rocket being mounted for firing

UCLA makes final preparations for firing

After a lot of preparations and waiting until after sunset, UCLA’s hot-fire did not disappoint those of us who stayed into the cool hours of dusk. Their nitrous-oxide and kerosene liquid rocket fired for full duration and to what looked like great results.

UCLA fires for full duration.

RRS director of research, Richard Garcia, with his brick as a camera tripod

We thank all of the parents and the LAPD officers who made the event a success. Also, many thanks to Dave Crisalli and the RRS membership who helped with the hundreds of things that needed to be done. We look forward to the next launch event at the MTA early next year.

November 2017 meeting

The RRS held its November monthly meeting at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator in downtown Los Angeles. Our regular location at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena was closed for Veteran’s Day on Friday, November 10th.

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)

Meeting topics included the upcoming launch event with the kids from the Imperial Courts neighborhood. This event was postponed to November 18th and was greatly anticipated as the kids worked hard and learned a lot in the five-week program put on by the RRS events team with the help of the LAPD CSP program.

Imperial Courts students prepare their paper rockets for launch

The program included a tour of Los Angeles Air Force Base at the SMC Heritage Center with Lt. Col. Alec Porter where the kids got to build and launch paper rockets.

Paper rockets at LA AFB with the Imperial Courts RRS class

USC Impact News has been documenting the whole Imperial Courts class program including the launch event at the MTA. The RRS looks forward to seeing their finished program at the end of the semester this December 2017.

The programs with LAPD CSP have been very successful and another program with Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary School is in the works for early next year.

The RRS symposium is in the planning stages for the upcoming 75th anniversary symposium on April 14, 2018. Several invitations to presenters and exhibitors have been issued and more are in the works. Frank Miuccio is leading the symposium again and we hope to have an even grander event for the public on this special occasion.

The Astrojet newsletter still needs submissions! We have had several interested parties, but no submittals have been received.

Please! Submit your drafts to the RRS secretary right away.
secretary@rrs.org

The Astrojet newsletter was the original publication started by the RRS when it was founded by George James in 1943. We thought it fitting to issue this one-time edition of the Astrojet for our 75th anniversary on January 6, 2018. It will be available in print only and the funds collected will support the RRS in our anniversary year events. Issues will be available by mail to our membership and other interested parties for a cost of $10 per issue.

Nominations of next year’s officers for the RRS took place at the meeting which is our normal custom. Voting by the administrative membership is underway and the results of the elections will be announced at the December 8th meeting. The meeting will be at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena, as usual at 7:30pm.

Please let me know if I have missed or misstated anything in this post. See you at the next meeting.
secretary@rrs.org