February 2018 meeting

The RRS held its monthly meeting Friday, February 9, 2018 at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena. After reading the treasury report, we proceeded with the meeting agenda as listed on the “Forum” earlier this week.

Attendees at the 9-FEB-2018 RRS meeting

The RRS was glad to welcome new student members Jack and Brayden who come from the former Chaminade High School Rocket program. The RRS will be supporting their project to launch a boosted dart ultimately to an altitude of 150,000 feet or more. This work fits nicely into the RRS goals with the SuperDosa project and Jack and Brayden have made a lot of progress already thanks to the help of their sponsors and supporters including the RRS’s own Dave Crisalli. Last year, Jack and his team had a successful motor grain test at the MTA and they are looking to build upon this success for an even larger hot-fire test. RRS as a 501(c)3 educational non-profit group is glad to support our members.

On this Friday, the RRS has started the first of five classes with our third group of students from Florence Joyner Elementary School in Watts in conjunction with the LAPD CSP program. The program will seek to schedule a tour of the California Science Center at some point and the five session program will culminate in a launch event at the RRS Mojave Test Area (MTA) on March 24, 2018. The launch date has not yet been confirmed so please look for updates on the “Forum” portion of this webpage.

On this same subject, Michael has been working with his contacts at Redondo Union High School to find a way to begin an educational program with the RRS. The RRS is glad to work with new and returning schools in our educational programs. For more details, contact the RRS events coordinator, Larry Hoffing. events@rrs.org

On our third agenda topic, we talked about the progress made to date for the 75th anniversary RRS symposium. We have had great responses from our prior exhibitors and speakers as many are returning for this year’s event on Saturday, April 21, 2018. Our event will have speakers and exhibitors from the aerospace industry, government agencies and academia. The speakers slots have filled up fast so we hope to have our final confirmations given to us soon.

Frank has made the first flyer for this event and we encourage everyone to download a copy and share with everyone interested in attending this event covering topics of professional and amateur rocketry.

first flyer for the RRS 75th anniversary symposium

Frank has said that there is still much to do in preparing for the symposium. This event will likely be bigger than last year’s so we will really need our membership to pitch in and help make this year’s 75th anniversary a success. Weekly phone teleconferences will begin in two weeks. Frank will notify people of their assignments and we will discuss progress at these meetings.

Our fourth topic on the agenda discussed the progress I have made with the parachute recovery system I have built for an RRS standard alpha rocket. We launch many of these at our school events at the MTA and even with our membership making their own. I would like to see more of our members and high schools working with making payloads for the alpha. Given the small size of electronics these days, there are many more possibilities for flying instruments and recording data.

parachute and tethered nose cone for RRS standard alpha rocket

My time was very limited as the meeting was running late and I was only able to show the key parts of the parachute system still in build. Chris Lujan showed me some better knots for securing my nose cone and tether line to the internal bulkhead. I also showed the 3D-printed plastic umbilical port that Richard Garcia kindly built for me which will make switching on RRS alpha payload much easier if they use PVC payload tubes. I will compile more details soon and if this subject is still of interest, I can elaborate more at the March meeting.

Modified 555 timer chip with solid state relay replacing a mechanical relay. Umbilical part in the upper left.

I have also been working on a horizontal thrust stand built to test RRS standard alpha rockets. This would allow members to record thrust from the S-type load cell donated to us by Interface Force Inc. of Arizona. All of the structural members have been cut, but the adapter pieces need some changes to make a simpler connection. Thanks to Osvaldo for improving my load cell adapter design.

RRS horizontal thrust stand parts with S-type load cell

For our fifth agenda topic, Frank Miuccio, inspired by the device built by the Space and Missile Systems Heritage Center (SMC) of Los Angeles Air Force Base (LA AFB) in El Segundo, made his own little rocket air launcher. This simple tool takes an air pump to compress the sealed interior space of PVC piping behind a simple sprinkler valve.

Frank’s mini-rocket air launcher using a car-tire pump

Once inflated and everyone is at a safe distance away, the rocket is slipped over the angled launcher tube and is fired by releasing the valve and reservoir of air pressure behind it. Very simple in operation, it is quite fun to play with and we think the kids in our educational programs will think so also.

RRS treasurer, Chris Lujan, holds a 12-inch plastic rocket launched from the pump driven air launcher; Larry and Frank discuss

As the last agenda topic, Richard had mentioned that the modifications to his cryogenic methane dewar were complete and that the vessel was back at the MTA. As we were out of time, Richard can explain the details more at the next meeting in March.

The meeting adjourned but several of us watched Frank and Chris test fire the small rocket air launcher that Frank had built from Home Depot parts and a battery powered car tire pump. Despite the darkness of night, we were able to recover these small 12-inch vehicles aided by the inclusion of a blue LED in the nose. We had more than a little fun popping these little rockets as high as 100 feet.

If there is anything I have missed or misstated, please let me know:
secretary@rrs.org

Our next meeting will be Friday, March 9, 2018 at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena. See you there!

January 2018 meeting

The RRS met for its monthly meeting, Friday, January 12, 2018, at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena. We got a late start (8:04pm), but we covered a lot of ground.

Anniversary issue of the Astro-Jet is now available for purchase ($10/copy)

Everyone is reminded that the anniversary issue of the ASTRO-JET newsletter of the RRS is now available for $10 a copy. This special issue will be available in print only and proceeds go to benefit the society and our upcoming symposium event. Bill Janczewski and I have worked hard to bring this milestone issue together and we will have them ready for printing and distribution next week. To order, you can contact me by email (secretary@rrs.org) and send me your mailing address. Payment can be made by check to the “Reaction Research Society” sent to our P.O. Box 90933, in Los Angeles, CA, 90009-0933, found on our website.

Payment to the RRS for the ASTRO-JET newsletters can also be made by clicking our “DONATE” button on the website which directly links to our Paypal site. Please note your are paying for the ASTRO-JET and the number of copies.

Frank brought one of George Dosa’s liquid rocket chambers to the meeting for inspection by the society. This single element coaxial injector has not been fired, but George had this made several decades ago. There was talk about what modifications could be made to get this article into hot fire.

George Dosa’s coaxial injector and chamber

Richard Garcia also brought his own liquid rocket chamber as part of the on-going RRS standard liquid rocket project he has been championing.

Richard Garcia’s pintle injector and chamber design

After the usual reading of the treasury report, we began to discuss the agenda topics. The meeting began with announcing our new members who have recently joined us: Michael Lunny, Bryan Calungcagin, Nancy Squires, Barsoum Kasparian and Jack Oswald. The RRS is glad to welcome our new members.

The discussion had turned to membership cards. Bill Janczewski has worked up a new card design and Frank was working with Bill on a few changes. The RRS does not issue membership cards except on an on-demand basis. RRS member, Alastair Martin who runs a printing business had several ideas for different types of card stocks and discussed them with the RRS.

Larry Hoffing had asked about getting a short run of business cards to support his role as the RRS events coordinator. Frank had said he has the resources to get these made.

Our discussion then turned to the upcoming RRS symposium to be held Saturday, April 14, 2018. We will try a new format of having our speakers present in the ballroom among our exhibitors. The collared white shirts we gave to our membership running the event was a good idea. We discussed getting these again with iron-on or screen-printed RRS logos to help identify those of us who will be running the event. Frank wanted to have posters showing a decade-by-decade look of the RRS over our 75 year history. This is a great idea and we’ll be working hard to collect old photos to have them on display at the symposium. Easels and other supporting equipment were in short supply as the brick walls of the Ken Nakaoka Community Center made wall-mounting very difficult.

For next meeting, we will discuss more of the details of the symposium including working on our list of presenters and exhibitors. Frank and I have already began to approach some of our prior speakers and exhibitors. We have already confirmed several from industry, government and academia including the LAPD CSP program and the Aerospace Corporation. We expect this year’s symposium to be even greater than last year’s event where we hosted over 200 people.

For the next agenda item, Frank and Larry will begin our next educational event with the students of Florence Joyner Elementary school in conjunction with the LAPD CSP program. This 5-week event will begin sometime in February with an expected launch event in late March. Alastair had indicated he’d like to participate, film and document this event. An update on this event will be given at the next month’s meeting.

Michael had indicated his interest in running an RRS educational event with his old high school, Redondo Union High School. Larry and Frank had offered to help him figure out how best to set this up based on the experience the RRS has had thus far. I had sent him the PowerPoint file I had made which can serve as the basis for the program he can give to an older group of students. This would be the first of several events that Michael and Bryan would like to hold on behalf of the RRS.

Our next agenda topic discussed establishing an account with the regional liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplier, Clean Energy in Boron, California. Richard Garcia has acquired a methane dewar which will be used for liquid rocketry experiments at the MTA. Richard was able to have one of our contacts at the Friends of Amateur Rocketry (F.A.R.) group modify the dewar such that it is ready for use. Our president, Osvaldo, said he would contact Clean Energy and give them the necessary information for the RRS to begin buying quantities of methane.

The next agenda topic was the quarterly briefing of the SuperDosa project. Osvaldo and I have identified chemical suppliers to produce the RRS standard solid propellant mixture recipe. We will meet offline to discuss prices and what is the best approach to proceed. Richard was going to work out some more simulations of our proposed vehicle to get an idea for sizing. The ballistic evaluation motor (BEM) that I designed is still in work. This is an important piece of hardware to characterize the burn rate of our propellant to help finalize and set the grain design. I hope to complete the assembly before the symposium which would also be the next quarterly reporting date (April 13, 2018).

The last agenda item was to discuss how to formalize the proposal process for RRS projects that we would like to seek funding from outside groups. One of the most important things to getting projects funded is to have a clear plan on what the scope of the project is, what purposes it will serve, what exact materials and quantities will be required and what the expected cost of this project will be using real quotes and defensible estimates. The RRS was in agreement and the executive council will meet later to discuss some of these documented proposals I have assembled. Projects include things like making more alphas and beta rockets, 3D printer for RRS use, spare electric generator for the MTA, getting a new launch rail built as backup, obtaining a liquid oxygen dewar…. etc.

The night ran late and our meeting concluded at 9:10pm.

There’s a lot of preparation that must be done in advance of our 75th anniversary symposium on Saturday, April 14th, so we’ll be putting this recurring item on the agenda for next month’s meeting.

For next month’s meeting, Frank will finish his paper rocket air launcher device that he has been making. This was inspired by the last educational event with Grape Street Elementary where the students visited the Space and Missile Command Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, CA. With luck, we hope to demonstrate it outside the community center and take some video for our YouTube channel.

YouTube – Reaction Research Society

Also, for next month’s meeting, I had promised Frank and Osvaldo that I would bring in my alpha parachute assembly that I have worked into a PVC payload tube. I have resolved some of the issues with my timer circuit, but I am still looking for access to a 3D printer to produce my internal umbilical switch mount.

As always, if there is anything here I have missed or misstated, please let me know. Our next monthly meeting will be held, Friday, February 9, 2018. Hope to see you there.

secretary@rrs.org

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.

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

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.