February 2017 meeting

Despite the rain, we had a good attendance at the February meeting on Friday, the 10th. We came to order at 7:51pm.

Chris Lujan said that he’d put together some notes for a future posting on sugar rockets since he has had some experience with a classic in amateur rocketry. Look for that in the coming months.

Larry Hoffing and John Mariano have started an alpha rocket build event with GALA starting this month. The USC RPL will be assisting in the instruction and the event should culminate in the launch event at the MTA on March 18th.

Vera Mulyani who was on travel called into the meeting to give her presentation on Mars City Design. USC hosted a very successful 2016 GALA event that included Buzz Aldrin as a speaker. She’s been working to solicit donors to help start prototype building of some of the first 3-D printed concrete structures. There will be a fundraising dinner on May 25th as a benefit to the organization. Ultimately, the RRS will house a few of these exotic structures that will give us a cool extra shelter or two. According to the regolith samples taken from the site tour, the dry lake bed environment regolith materials should work very well.

Mars City Design

After Vera’s presentation, we discussed more of the RRS Symposium. We’re considering having a small static fire demonstration at the event with Steve Majdali. Possibly a black powder or sugar rocket? Still considering the details of how we could do this.

Also, we’ll need to get to work on the full scale mockup of the SuperDosa rocket. Osvaldo can make most if not all of the pieces, but maybe we’ll need help in getting everything ready before the symposium in April.

The RRS will formally begin the history project as we are one year before our 75th anniversary. We plan to interview many of our older and current members to recall what they can of their experiences with the RRS over the seven and a half decades of our society’s history. Our upcoming symposium will be a good opportunity for members new and past to get together. We’ll also use this opportunity to interview some and at least update contact information for members who would like to meet with us later.

Richard Garcia has been in discussions with an owner of a set of propellant tanks and a vertical test stand. The owner may consider donating a substantial amount of hardware to the RRS.

The RRS has agreed to support UCLA in an undergraduate design class by supplying some of our alpha and beta rockets. I have invited UCLA to come take a tour of the MTA. There was to be a launch event with UCLA on Saturday, May 20th.

Richard Garcia and myself were invited to UCLA’s Critical Design Review on Saturday, February 11th for their hybrid rocket project at the next IREC launch in June.

We’ve been having weekly teleconferences to help track assignments and note progress. The symposium is picking up a lot of momentum as we have confirmed several speakers from private industry and universities. We still need a lot of help from our members and others who would like to support the RRS.

Our meeting adjourned as the Ken Nakaoka Community Center closed at 9:00pm.

If there is anything I missed or misstated, please let me know. Our next meeting will be Friday, March 10th.

January 2017 meeting

Our monthly meeting took place tonight, January 13, 2017. Meeting was called to order at 7:43pm. John Mariano made a motion that we say the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of our meetings. We did so at the January meeting and will do so thereafter.

Robert Kleinberger of Apogee Aeronautics called in to give the RRS a presentation on his company and work he’s done with sounding rockets. He covered a variety of subjects including the boosted dart system such as the SuperLoki.

Dr. Mitchell Spearrin of UCLA came to the meeting today. He discussed the UCLA Rocketry Club activities including prior work with hybrids and IREC program competition. He also mentioned the new projects UCLA would like to do with the RRS.

Planning for the upcoming RRS symposium will begin this month. The RRS symposium is officially scheduled for April 22nd. It will be a considerable effort and require the help of many of our members. It’ll be worth it as we make this all-day event a success. We will have the main room and auditorium. Ideas for wall arts and exhibits are in the works. We’re working on the confirmed speakers list. Frank is asking for RRS members to help out as there is a lot of work to be done to make this event a success.

Larry mentioned that Charles Hoult passed away late last year. He was one of the foremost leaders in sounding rockets having spent decades in the aerospace industry. Upon retirement, he dedicated his life to education teaching at CSULB and actively supported amateur rocketry. A fuller blog post will be forthcoming to honor his passing and contributions.

The “events@rrs.org” email is now available for the public to contact the RRS for alpha build events and the symposium.

Larry has indicated that the Girls Academic Leadership Academy (GALA) is interested in an alpha build event which should take place in the next few months. We look forward to hosting them at the launch event at the MTA. Also, Rise Academy may want to do another launch event.

In closing, a reminder of the importance of sunscreen was given. There are many hazards to consider at the MTA and being in the desert, but this is one that many people ignore and should not.

Meeting was adjourned at 9:30pm as the Gardena Community Center was closing.

Next meeting will be February 10th. Let me know if there’s anything I missed or misstated.

December 2016 meeting

The RRS held our last monthly meeting of 2016, this Friday, December 9th, at our usual meeting location at the Gardena Recreational Center. We were well attended but started at 8:10pm due to traffic causing problems for some.

The launch event at the MTA of November 12th with the Compton magnate school, Rise Academy, was a very successful event. Four alphas from the kids, one modified alpha from Osvaldo and Dave, and a beta from Larry. Osvaldo brought the recovered keychain camera footage that was taken. The quality was quite good considering such a small keychain sized device and the rough flight environment of the alpha launch. The green plume of the smoke grenade was quite clear. I showed some of my video footage of four of the five launches.

RRS to establish a point of contact with the mayor of Compton to help promote more RRS events. The RRS alpha build events are becoming more popular and this is great. A flyer for the RRS alpha build event is in the works. Certificates of completion for the RRS alpha build events will be a good thing to give at the completion of the event. The RRS alpha build event instructive presentation slides are still in work.

SuperDosa project has progressed slightly. To the visitors and new members in attendance I gave the original October 2016 briefing to reaffirm the purpose of the project to reclaim the amateur altitude record for the RRS. Our starting basis for design has been the SuperLoki. Chris Lujan helped me solve a problem with OpenRocket for the flight simulation. Propellant sample testing is the next step. I acquired a pressure transducer that will be useful for the ballistic evaluation motor tests for burn rate calculations. The design of the BEM is in work. The next meeting for the SuperDosa project will take place before year’s end.

The RRS has been the recipient of a manual hydrotest pump generously donated by Rice Hydro Inc., of Carson City, NV. We are very grateful to Rice Hydro and hope to give a good demonstration of this device in use as we proof tanks and tubing assemblies in the near future.

Rice Hydro Inc – Carson City, NV

The RRS made contact with Apogee Astronautics who owns a few SuperLoki launchers. Osvaldo and I met with the owner, Robert Kleinberger, who was passing through Los Angeles last month on business. The RRS has asked Robert to make a short presentation about sounding rockets and the SuperLoki. Although Robert wasn’t able to present at the December meeting tonight, we hope he’ll be able to send a presentation for next month’s meeting.

Three students from the UCLA Rocket Club came to the meeting, Hayden, Justin and Aaron; Dr. Mitch Spearrin is their co-advisor along with Dr. Richard Wirz who is on sabbatical. UCLA has been testing and flying hybrids (paraffin with nitrous oxide). UCLA is looking to build and fly a liquid rocket. We’re thankful to have UCLA come out tonight and hope to do projects with them in the future.

UCLA Rocket Project (URP)

Oliver and Mark were showing their model rocket, with a H-motor. They had built and tested an excellent dual-deployment parachute system. Also, they generously donated some 4 and 6 inch PVC electrical conduit pipe material for the RRS which may be used for a mockup at the upcoming RRS symposium in April 2017.

Mark and Oliver’s model rocket

The RRS held annual elections for the Executive Council. Election results for 2017 were as follows:
President = Osvaldo Tarditti; Vice President = Frank Miuccio; Secretary = Dave Nordling; Treasurer = Chris Lujan

Richard Garcia was appointed as the RRS Director of Research, an office formerly held by George Dosa himself.

Osvaldo summarized the RRS activities at the MTA for this year which included three junior high school launch events, 2 from Hermosa, 1 from Compton done in 2016. USC also held static fire tests at the MTA.

Mars City Design, TedX in Los Angeles

The Mars City Design organization was discussed again. Three to five prototype projects useful in Mars habitats will be built at the MTA as a field test of concepts. Concrete 3-D printing is a key technology to be demonstrated. The habitat will have real people living inside for the demonstration, if successful, the space can be used for camps and science field trips.

Godspeed, John Glenn. An American legend remembered.

John Glenn passed away this month. The RRS encourages individuals to contribute to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation that was started by him and the rest of the Mercury 7 astronauts.

Astronaut Scholarship Foundation history

Astronaut Scholarship site

John F. Glenn memorial

Goddard and his rocket, 1926

Also, this month is the 100th anniversary of Robert H. Goddard’s seminal paper “A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes” that was submitted to the Smithsonian for publication. The father of American rocketry who built and flew the first liquid rocket made his mark on history a century ago. I have included a link to Clark University where you can read his paper for yourself.

Clark University – Goddard’s paper

We ran out of time quickly as we had many topics. Some will be brought up in our next meeting. The meeting adjourned at 9:36pm.

Let me know if there’s any additions or corrections to make. Our next meeting will be January 13, 2017 in our usual location at the Gardena Recreational Center.