I’ve gotten the 7 newsletters from the 1940’s that I got earlier scanned, polished up, and posted in the members section of RRS Newsletters. They are the earliest newsletters I’ve managed to recover. They cover some early hybrid rocketry work. The propellants they were trying were oxygen with wood or carbon rods as fuel and Nitric acid with Wood. These were early enough to predate the adoption of the term “hybrid” they where refereed to as “solid-liquid” engines at the time. They also cover rocket mail from the time, and its definitely a treat if you’re interested in that. They cover the history of rocket mail up to that point and the projects in rocket mail the Society was endeavoring in at the time. This includes a daring tale in number 22 about society members going to receive permission from Trona California to perform a rocket mail flight, they where plagued car troubles and wound up in the Mojave without food for a day. It’s worth a read. There is also an interesting article predicting the future of rocket mail discussing the projected details of a 15 Ton rocket for delivering mail between LA and San Francisco.
In these editions they make several mentions of RRS 8mm films. I’d love to be able to get a hold of them and do a high quality digital conversion so they can be shared and enjoyed amongst members and be preserved across a more accessible medium. If anyone has any old footage like this, I’d definitely chip in for the cost of converting them. (or any other RRS footage for that matter.)
In number 23 they explicitly mention that these editions of “Astro-Jet” that I’ve found are a separate publication from the RRS News. I don’t know when they started making “Astro-Jet” or when they stopped or how many were made. They are well produced and they appear to strive to showcase RRS activity to the interested public rather than a simple documentation of the official business of the RRS, which I imagine might have been captured by the RRS News of the time. “Astro-Jet” was obviously discontinued at some point but the RRS news of latter years appears to have the same feel so for the time being I’m still going to list them under the section on RRS newsletters. If anyone knows anything more about “Astro-Jet” let me know.
“Space Station” drawn by RRS Staff Artist of the time Nick Stasinos. The space station is described in “Spaceward!” in Astro-Jet No.23 Winter, 1948
Oxygen/Wood hybrid engine
Great news, Brian Moran has sent me a scan of Volume 54 #3 September 1997 newsletter. I’m sure glad he did since this one is a really interesting one. It covers the history of liquid propellant rocketry conducted by RRS members from 1943 to 1990. Particularly interesting are two projects. One was a project by David Crisalli, a 900 lbf thrust regenerative cooled LOX-Kerosene rocket. The second project, by David Elliot and Lee Rosenthal, was a test firing of a rocket engine that used liquid metal (NAK) and water as propellants. Now that’s an interesting combo! I’ve added the newsletter to the members section of the library.
I came across these RRS news letters from the 1940’s for sale and got them for about seventy dollars. I’ll post them in the library as soon as I can get them scanned.* They have some interesting stuff like some reporting about a nitric acid and wood hybrid rocket engine that was built and tested. Certainly an interesting choice for a propellant combination. I’d liked to share part of what they put on the back cover:
The REACTION RESEARCH SOCIETY is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to aid in the development of reaction propulsion, its applications, and to promote interest in this new science. This purpose is carried out by maintaining an active research program, encouraging other experimenters, and promoting interest in reaction propulsion by the publication of ASTRO-JET, Journal of the Reaction Research Society.
With that in mind I’d like to report that the next issue of the newsletter doesn’t have much more work left, now that things are settled over here and I’m moved in I’ll be able to put some time towards it, we just need for Chris to finish up his article and I’ll put it together.
*Probably at the university of Texas at Austin where they have book scanners available for use. I also found some Pacific Rocket Society newsletters in the library archives they have there. I was unable to scan them because the way the multiple issues where bound together. I’ll see what I can do about coming up with a solution to that and see if I can get them scanned at some point.