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.

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

October 2017 meeting

The RRS held its monthly meeting this Friday, October 13, 2017 at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center. Our usual meeting room was unavailable that night so we met upstairs in conference room “F”. We called the meeting to order at 7:30pm and read off the treasurer’s report.

Frank, Osvaldo and Larry had just finished the last of the five sessions with Grape Street Elementary in Watts, our latest educational program supported by the LAPD CSP program. 23 kids were in this program and 13 alpha rockets were prepared including one for LAPD and another for the video crew who was kind enough to document each session. Osvaldo has made a really neat rack mounting system for the freshly painted but still unloaded alphas.

alpha rocket rack mounting system

Richard has built a larger rocket candy motor to fly with a parachute recovery system he has built. He brought part of his pyrotechnic actuated dual-deployment system to the meeting. Also in the photo is a cruciform-style parachute that was given to me for use on a beta rocket.

parachute and pyrotechnic dual-deployment mechanism

My alpha with a PVC payload tube and parachute recovery system is still in work pending resolution of some internal mounting issues. Osvaldo was kind enough to drill a hole in the point of an alpha aluminum nose cone with which I hope to fly a pitot-tube type flight speed sensor I am making.

alpha aluminum nose cone with hollow tip

The launch event was originally scheduled for next Saturday, October 21st, however, the RRS MTA will not be available as Polaris Propulsion is still using the site. The event will be rescheduled to no earlier than Saturday, November 11th. Please check the forum for the most up to date news on launch.

Alastair Martin, one of our newest members, had edited the footage taken from the last LAPD launch event in July. He showed his video for the membership at the meeting which was quite impressive. We hope to have this on the RRS YouTube channel soon.

YouTube – RRS channel

Alastair and his brother had some ideas on how to internally mount a camera within the payload tube of the alpha he hopes to fly at the next event. We discussed these after the meeting was over.

The quarterly update on the SuperDosa project was given. Richard has repaired the graphite dust gathering apparatus for his lathe and hopes to get some of the nozzle pucks turned out for the ballistic evaluation motor (BEM) we are building. Osvaldo is looking for a machinist with a mill to make the upper and lower plate for the BEM. I have bought an adapter fitting for the 5,000 psi pressure transmitter I bought but need to get 1/4″ SS tubing. I am also compiling a list of our chemical materials to make our first batch of the RRS standard propellant mixture.

A discussion of the 75th anniversary symposium was started however with all the work for the Grape Street Elementary program being done, Frank wanted to start discussion at next month’s meeting in November. I have already started to ask some of our previous speakers to return including NASA, AFRL and UCLA. We hope to have many if not all of last year’s speakers return for the April 14, 2018 event. Frank has again agreed to be the symposium coordinator.

The 75th anniversary issue of the Astrojet newsletter was discussed. This special one-time issue for the RRS 75th anniversary will be in print only and issued January 6, 2018. I have approached several people already, but I am making a wider call for articles to all of our membership. Two to three paragraphs on singular subjects related to rocketry past, present and particularly in the future are desired. The submittal deadline is November 15th. Bill Janczewsky has agreed to both contribute an article and help me in producing this one-time print publication to interested parties who provide their mailing address, pay their annual membership dues ($40) and the added price of the issue’s publication (TBD). The cost goes to benefit the society functions including the upcoming symposium.

To all members and invited contributors, send me your ideas or drafts as soon as possible. There is only one month left before the November 15th deadline.
secretary@rrs.org

The RRS history project continues as Richard Garcia has added to our archives with more newsletters and other past publications given by past and present members. I hope to schedule a few interviews with some of our long-time past members depending on schedules. John Mariano is helping me set this up.

UCLA sent two students, John Harnsberger and Nick Kuenning, to the meeting and gave us a rundown of the three projects they are working including their liquid rocket engine (Project Ares) now entering hot-fire testing at the FAR site. They are still working on a few issues with instrumentation, but will be back in hot-fire test again very soon.

USC RPL wasn’t able to come to the meeting but we hope to hear about their goals and objectives for this year soon. USC had indicated that they wanted to fire three solid motors at each of three different testing days. USC has already began testing at the FAR site, but we hope to have the MTA available to support USC on one of these occasions.

Next month will be nominations for the executive council. Larry will be putting forth the ballots to the administrative membership after the meeting with voting taking place in December before the next meeting (December 8th). Results will be announced in the December meeting.

We adjourned promptly at 9:00 pm. The next RRS monthly meeting will be Friday, November 10th.

If there is anything missing or misstated, please let me know. secretary@rrs.org