January 2019 meeting

The Reaction Research Society (RRS) held our first monthly meeting of the new year, Friday, January 11, 2019. We had a good turnout and a couple visitors from Compton High School. We thank Daisy Guevara and Jonathan Martinez for coming out to the RRS.

January 2019 meeting
January 2019 meeting welcomes our guests and new members.

The RRS has student memberships available to those interested in becoming involved in our amateur rocketry society. To join as a student member, under 18, you must have your parent or guardian approval. Joining the RRS is the same as those seeking associate membership. The RRS website has a “Forms” tab where you can download our PDF membership application. Student membership at the RRS is $20/year. Regular membership is $40/year.

On the subject of membership dues, the RRS gives a reminder to all of our membership that you should keep your dues payments current. Like many in the society, I renew my membership at the start of the new year. The “Donate” button on the RRS website leads to PayPal where you can pay your membership dues. Please add “Member Dues” and your name to the notes. Others may make payment to the RRS president.

president@rrs.org

We also took time to welcome our new RRS members, Dmitri Timohovich and Waldo Stakes.

Dmitri Timohovich at the January 2019
Dmitri Timohovich at the January 2019 RRS meeting
Waldo Stakes at the December 2018 meeting

With the customary reading of the treasury report, we began the agenda.

(1) Pyrotechnic operators in rocketry

The first topic was about the RRS members that are working on attaining their pyrotechnic operator (pyro-op) license for rocketry. The California Fire Marshall’s office governs the licensing of different classes of pyro-op for theater, movies and amateur rocketry. The RRS has been on a campaign to expand our roster of pyro-op’s to both improve the knowledge of the subject as our membership and number of events annually grows.

Dmitri has a lot of professional experience in pyrotechnics and a lot of practical advice for applicants. Making copies of all your application documentation including your letters of recommendation is very important. He also shared some of his insight in how to best work with the California Fire Marshall’s office.

(2) RRS social media

Our second topic was to talk about the RRS improving our social media presence. The Reaction Research Society has an Instagram account, a Facebook page and our YouTube channel, but we can always use more content. As the RRS embarks on more projects, we will have good stories to share. As both of our Media Officers, Bill Janczewski and Alastair Martin were away for the meeting, we’ll return to this topic at the February meeting.

(3) Spaceport L.A.

Larry Hoffing, our events coordinator, spoke about the RRS becoming more involved with Spaceport LA. He has been in contact with Curtis Iwata and has had some discussions with the RRS joining a future Spaceport LA event. Spaceport LA is a group of Spaceport LA has attended the RRS symposium in the past. We hope to have them be one of our exhibitors at the 2019 RRS symposium on April 27th.

(4) MTA facility improvements

We had a good discussion of potential facility improvements at the RRS Mojave Test Area (MTA). The addition of the road sign at the first gate to the RRS MTA gives us a better way to welcome our guests. Our metal arch road sign at the MTA site entrance is also holding up nicely for two decades and still looking great.

Improvements such as upgrading our restroom facilities and the central blockhouse are under detailed discussion. Osvaldo, our society president, has been leading this effort getting estimates and making a proposal for the society to review. It will be substantial investment in our facilities, but certainly well worth it.

Other MTA improvements such as replacing a damaged panel on the thrust stand structure. This steel plate panel was substantially deformed many years ago from a static test explosion. The goal would be to cut out the old panel and weld in a replacement while maintaining the positional accuracy to the overall design as best as possible.

We also discussed a project to run an electrical wiring trench between the observation bunker and the RRS alpha rail launcher will make conducting our school events easier to do. The cost does not look to be too prohibitive and the RRS may be able to get the conduit and panel materials donated.

We also talked about how to improve the mounting pad commonly used by our university rocketry groups over the years. The concrete slab has several male anchor bolts that protrude from the concrete causing a serious tripping hazard. They are also not in a regular pattern which other groups could use. One solution is to cut away and grind down all male anchor bolts and install custom fitting trench plate with a pre-drilled and tapped bolt pattern on a regular grid pattern. This will be easier in the long run for several groups to bring their thrust stand hardware without having to match machine hole patterns by being present at our site.

(5) 2019 RRS Symposium

Frank, the RRS symposium coordinator and society vice president, talked about the preparations that have begun for the 2019 RRS symposium. Invitations to potential speakers have began to be sent out. We didn’t have a lot of time to get into the specific assignments, but we will be talking a lot more about this subject at the February meeting. Frank has made our first flyer for the 2019 RRS symposium.

2019 RRS symposium flyer #1, JAN-12-2019
Our first flyer for the 2019 RRS symposium on April 27

(6) RRS Constitutional Committee

The topic of forming an RRS Constitutional Committee had to be tabled for the next meeting. This is an important subject that will be addressed in further detail with our membership.

(7) Rocket Talk Radio podcast

Likewise, the RRS participation in the Rocket Talk Radio podcast project had to be tabled for the next meeting. Rocket Talk Radio is a project by Alastair Martin’s company, Production Tribe LLC.

RRS member and owner of Production Tribe LLC at his studio in Hollywood, California

(8) SuperDosa project quarterly update

Quarterly update for the SuperDosa project was limited. Osvaldo had reported that Jack Oswald’s next ballastic test motor is nearly complete and that his RRS project team will be conducting test series to better characterize his solid propellant mixture. Jack has also made changes to his first prototype motor fired in June 2018.

(9) Next RRS meeting at the EAA 96 hangar

About once a year, the RRS (some years) has its monthly meeting in a new location.  In 2019, the RRS has found a new meeting location for the February 8th meeting. RRS members, Xavier Marshall and Wilbur Owens are members of the Experimental Aircraft Association. Chapter 96 of the EAA is located at the Compton Airport. Xavier had offered the RRS the use of the EAA 96 hangar’s offices, so the RRS will hold our February 8, 2019 meeting at the same time, 7:30pm. This is only a temporary change for February only just to allow our membership to visit the EAA organization and tour their facilities.

Xavier will provide more details on how our members can get access at the Compton Airport. I will share these details on this website at about 2 weeks prior to the event.

(X1)  Celebrity Coffee

Long-time RRS member, John Mariano, paid us a visit to the January meeting. John has been busy with his new business venture, Celebrity Coffee. His business will be a local coffeeshop featuring music and a warm environment to his customers. We hope to visit his shop soon.

(X2) Next LAPD CSP event

The RRS is getting ready to start another school event through the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) Community Safety Partnership (CSP). With the looming Los Angeles teacher’s strike, the start date could get moved. We plan to hold the final event of this series at the RRS MTA as usual. This launch date would likely be middle to late March. More details to be coming soon.

(IN CLOSING)

We adjourned well past the Ken Nakaoka Community Center closing time of 9:00PM. Our next meeting will be on Friday, February 8, 2019 at 7:30pm.

Again, please note that this February 2019 meeting will be held at the Compton Airport at the EAA 96 hangar. Please arrive between 7:00pm and 7:30pm as the EAA must let our attendees in through the Compton Airport gates.

Also, please note that this is not a permanent change of location as we will hold our March 2019 meeting back at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena.

If there are any questions about the topics covered in the January 2019 meeting, please contact the RRS secretary

secretary@rrs.org

December 2018 meeting

The Reaction Research Society (RRS) held its final monthly meeting of our 75th anniversary year, 2018, on our usual 2nd Friday, December 14th.

We were glad to be visited by Waldo Stakes, Curator of the Saxon Museum in Boron, California, and well-known rocket car maker. Wilbur Owens was kind enough to bring Waldo to the meeting.

Wilbur Owens and Waldo Stakes at the December 2018 RRS meeting in Gardena, newly elected RRS treasurer, Chris Lujan looks on

The agenda for December was kept short as the RRS wanted to take some time to celebrate our accomplishments this year.

After coming to order and the reading of the treasury report, we began the shortened agenda.

[1]
The results of the elections were announced by email from our election chairman, Larry Hoffing, who could not attend. The full slate of officer candidates were voted unanimously with no write-in’s.

The RRS officers for 2019 are as follows:

President – Osvaldo Tarditti
Vice President – Frank Miuccio
Secretary – Dave Nordling
Treasurer – Chris Lujan

We thank our appointed election chairman, Larry, for his service.

The newly elected officers will start their new terms at the beginning of the calendar year. All of our appointed positions at the RRS remain the same as the executive council has voted to retain them. We are thankful to all of our new and continuing membership for making this an important milestone year for the society.

[2]
The next topic was to discuss the UCLA hot fire event at the MTA in November. Osvaldo was very impressed with the UCLA team in how well they communicated and their preparation for a safe hot-fire test. Despite having an earlier setback, they recovered to have a hot-fire in the early night hours that gave them valuable data for their next design iteration. The RRS is glad to support university groups with our testing site. It is great when everyone puts safety and organization first.

Osvaldo reads off the list of events we conducted at the RRS over this anniversary year, 2018; Michael Lunny looks on

The RRS has had other university groups express interest in using our Mojave Test Area (MTA). To any groups wanting to use the RRS MTA, please contact the RRS president by email.

president@rrs.org

We also appreciate each group filling out our RRS standard record form to help explain the basics of what they would like to accomplish. The standard record form can be found under “Forms” on the RRS website.

[3]
The last of the scheduled agenda topics was the announcement of the official date of the 2019 RRS symposium. The symposium will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2019, at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena. As before, we will have entire first floor and outdoor courtyard.

The 2019 RRS symposium will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2019

The RRS has had great success in getting a range of speakers from industry, academia and government agencies. We plan to invite the Navy China Lake, Air Force Space and Missile Center, NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center, Northrop Grumman, Relativity and the Additive Rocket Corporation just to name a few, as well as several of our local and regional university rocketry groups such as UCLA, USC, Cal Poly Pomona, CSULB and LMU just to name a few. In the new year as invitations go out and we get confirmation, we will update our agenda for the April symposium. We hope to have an even larger turnout both on our stage, at the exhibition and of course our public audience.

The RRS will be holding a 2-hour panel session as the final event in our speaker series. The RRS is working on building this panel from a good cross-section of industry, government and academia to look at the state of affairs in space today and looking ahead to what may come next as the industry expands.

To those who stayed to the end last year, we were provided a rare treat by former member Bill Claybaugh as he presented his assessment of the current aerospace industry. We would strongly encourage everyone to plan to stay the full day as we will be bringing out more special things as the day goes on.

[9]
This topic was on the original agenda, but we thought we wouldn’t have time. RRS member, Alastair Martin, through his company, Production Tribe, is starting a pod-cast called Rocket Talk Radio. RRS director of research, Richard Garcia, and the RRS secretary, Dave Nordling, have agreed to be the first guests on this pod-cast that will talk about current topics in space and rocketry. As the first few podcasts are made, he’ll look to have other guests, to talk for an hour over a range of questions posed by Alastair and the participating audience.

[X1]
Osvaldo went over the long list of events we held at the RRS starting with the Aerospace Corporation launch test of their prototype liquid-hybrid rocket motor, the three launch events we held through the LAPD Community Safety Partnership (CSP) program where we were able to engage 112 kids in the at-risk communities of Watts in Los Angeles. Both USC and UCLA had a lot of success in their respective rocket programs.

Although USC did have a major setback in their Traveller III flight, they are well positioned for a very successful flight on their long journey to be the first university group to break the von Karman line into space with their boosted dart. The RRS is glad to be recurring partner with USC by assisting with their ground testing needs.

UCLA has also had a successful year with their liquid rocket programs and the RRS is glad to continue our support.

New RRS member, Dmitri Timohovich, and myself journeyed out to the MTA on December 2 for a site improvement project to mount the new road sign we had made. As I was feeling very under the weather on that afternoon, Dmitri did a stellar job in helping the society put a visible marker at our big iron gate leading the way into the RRS Mojave Test Area (MTA). The RRS thanks Dmitri for his hard work for the society.

Dmitri Timohovich makes short work of digging post holes with his motorized auger machine.

The new RRS sign at the first iron gate to the Mojave Test Area ready to greet the next visitors

[X2]
RRS member, Jack Oswald, presented his current progress with his large solid motor building project. His team have been working hard this year having some successes and failures, but always learning. His new ballistic evaluation motor design will correct some of the prior deficiencies in the earlier design and is expected to produce high quality results that should finalize his motor design. Jack and his team from the former Chaminade rocketry group have made a lot of progress and have also helped me with my smaller BEM design. Based on our conversation at the December meeting, I think I will have to re-visit some of my assumptions. Many thanks to Jack and his team’s hard work in supporting the society with their ambitious goals.

[X3]
RRS director of research, Richard Garcia, was not able to attend the December meeting, but he did provide a progress update for the RRS standard liquid project. His injector and chamber design is nearly finished and seems to have all the right features to proceed with build. The injector design is based on a previous design used by the RRS in past liquid rocket projects. He is also re-using his ablative chamber liner feature for this smaller 125-lbf LOX-ethanol engine design. His analytical model of the propellant blowdown system seem to anchor his predictions for what will hopefully be a successful hot fire test in this coming new year, 2019. The RRS is working hard to anchor a reliable and simple to build liquid rocket engine system that university groups can use for liquid rocket competitions in the future without having to start completely from scratch. We will provide updates as this project advances.

[X4]
Richard also brought up the idea of building a rocket sculpture to the right of our big iron gate at the MTA. The society welcomed the idea and we hope to bring this concept to life sometime very soon.

Richard Garcia’s rocket sculpture concept; soon to be seen at the RRS MTA

[X5]
Lastly, Frank was presented with a Community Service award by the Los Angeles Women Police Officers and Associates (LAWPOA) to honor the continuing work of the Reaction Research Society with the LAPD CSP. It is with great pleasure that the RRS accepts this recognition and reaffirms our commitment to this strong program that has done a lot of good for the young minds we hope to inspire.

Bill Janczewski holds up the LAWPOA Community Service award presented to the Reaction Research Society; I think I caught Frank a little off-guard in this photo? He was very pleased.

Our next monthly meeting will be on Friday, January 11, 2019. For an update on our intended agenda for each meeting, check the RRS.ORG website under the “Forum” section.

We look forward to starting the new year with preparations for the 2019 symposium and we will need our full membership to help make this event an even greater success.

Also, the RRS is talking about holding one of our monthly meetings at the Tomorrow’s Museum at the Compton Airport. Also, Jack Oswald has been working on getting tours of The Boring Company in Hawthorne and the Point Mugu Naval Base sometime in the new year.

The RRS wishes everyone happy holidays and a happy new year.

November 2018 meeting

The RRS held our monthly meeting on Friday, November 9, 2018 at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena. After coming to order and the reading of the treasury report, we discussed the agenda topics for this month. We were happy to be joined by new RRS member, Mike Albert.

[1]
Results of the RRS educational event at Weigand Elementary School with the LAPD CSP program was very positive. The launch event at the MTA had an excellent turnout, good demonstrations and ten alphas flown. We are becoming more effective in our execution at launch day, but there are still opportunities to improve the speed of operations while keeping our focus firmly on safety.

RRS president, Osvaldo Tarditti, teaches the kids at Weigand Elementary School

The weather in late October was ideal and we were able to enjoy the low winds and cool weather. With the low winds, the impact of all alphas were able to be heard and the timing by the kids showed the flight times to be very consistent. Many thanks to Osvaldo and Michael Lunny for doing a great job in packing them for what looked to be very good results.

the kids of Weigand Elementary School at the RRS MTA on 10/27/2018

[2]
Frank is in the process of coordinating the next RRS educational event with LAPD to be a school affiliated with the Imperial Courts housing project which should begin in January 2019 sometime around the Martin Luther King holiday. The school will be announced soon once the details are finalized. The launch event will likely take place in March 2019.

Michael Lunny (back table); Mike Albert (left) and Frank Miuccio (right)

[3]
Results of Jack’s ballistic evaluation motor (BEM) testing were discussed. Jack and his team were not able to attend the meeting, likely due to the California wildfires in his area on that night. The testing rig had a few flaws and a missing part. It was unclear if any useful data came from the one test. Osvaldo is working with Jack on improvements to his BEM. A deeper discussion of Jack’s BEM will hopefully come at the next meeting.

Jack Oswald’s BEM tied to a stake in the dry lake bed for stability; undergoing preparations for 10/27/2018 testing

[4]
Results from the horizontal thrust stand testing were discussed. Despite the problems with the foundation slab sliding with the firing of the micrograin alpha rocket, the load cell did record data which partially confirmed the impulse bit measurements from the past. Many people enjoyed watching the footage, but in all seriousness, an appropriate mounting foundation needs to be made to continue tests.

Matteo Tarditti secures the load cell fixture to the horizontal thrust stand

One proposed solution was to keep the existing shallow slab and drive a long stake into the ground to restrain the slab from moving south as the nozzle exhaust points north when firing. Another solution is to dig away the soil at the site and pour a deeper, rebar reinforced slab with the same 1/2″-13 female anchors. Keeping the slab low near ground level will keep this simple small foundation from preventing road access around the old blockhouse.

example of a buried foundation slab for the horizontal thrust stand

[5]
The Additive Aerospace flyaway railguide was discussed. The device worked well with the micrograin alpha rocket. The fit was good and the camera footage from different angles showed the alpha in the railguide rode the full length of the rail flying very straight. The flyaway railguide did not survive its maiden voyage, most likely due to impact from the fall back to the ground. Also, there is a concern that using the micrograin rocket on the aluminum 8020 rail would eventually jam the rails with the zinc-suifide residue that coats the surfaces after each launch.

Flyaway railguide clamped around an RRS alpha

The recovered pieces of the flyaway rail guide. A successful launch but the mechanism didn’t survive the fall back to the ground

[6]
The RRS needs to finalize the 2019 symposium date very soon. Frank and others consulted the local calendars of relevant organizations and schools and we have arrived at two possible dates in April. The announcement for the 2019 RRS symposium will be made very soon as invitations and preparations must begin very soon.

Date to be announced soon, the RRS will hold the 2019 symposium at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena

[7]
We had a discussion of safety issues and propellant handling protocols during the meeting. The issue is complex and there are different opinions about what the RRS should require of our attendees and membership, but two points that were made clear is that safety is most important and that the RRS will seek to educate our membership about compliance with the applicable laws and best practices from our membership experience.

[8]
The RRS visit to the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Chapter 96, at the Compton Airport on November 3rd was a success. RRS and EAA member, Xavier Marshall, gave Osvaldo and I a good tour of the hangar and their machine shop.

The EAA 96 hangar at the Compton Airport

Inside the EAA 96 hangar, door to the office

The EAA has several airplane projects in work including one by Wilbur Owens. We ate lunch at Wilbur’s hangar and talked about future projects at the RRS including the standard liquid rocket.

Relaxing after lunch in Wilbur’s hangar

Wilbur Owens and Osvaldo Tarditti discuss the RRS standard liquid rocket

The visit concluded with a tour of Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum and their rocket laboratory. We visited with some of the students who were working on their rocket project. The RRS was glad to see a lot of enthusiasm for the science we love.

Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum at the Compton Airport

The rocket lab inside Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum

The EAA membership is quite reasonable at $80/year. Members have access to the facilities at the hangar including the lathe, mill and metal shears useful for both aircraft and rocket structures. For those interested in joining the EAA, contact Xavier Marshall.

[9]
The next order of business was the nomination of officers for the next calendar year by our administrative membership in attendance. The first step was appointing of the election chairman which will be Larry Hoffing. The prior executive council members were nominated to their same posts.

Osvaldo Tarditti, President
Frank Miuccio, Vice President
Dave Nordling, Secretary
Chris Lujan, Treasurer

Larry will email our administrative membership for their votes in the coming weeks. Write-in candidates are allowed. The election ballots will be due a week prior to the next meeting. Results of the election will be announced at the December meeting to be held on Friday, the 14th.

[10]
The RRS may have another launch event at the MTA, but this is dependent on confirmation of the appropriate resources needed to support the event. This will likely take place as soon as next week, or possibly on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The RRS will post the formal announcement on the “Forum” of this website if the event becomes confirmed.

[X1]
Osvaldo was up in Rosamond and was able to take a short trip to the MTA to extract more of the rockets he could find with his ratcheting extractor tool.

A pile of alphas extracted from downrange at the MTA

In addition to the 15 alphas he was able to bring back for refurbished parts, he found the beta rocket that UCLA had launched.

UCLA’s beta rocket recovered from the desert floor

other parts of the beta rocket were able to be extracted including the beta coupler and a fragment of the red plastic nosecone

This beta rocket had an altimeter payload encased in a vented metal shell. Unfortunately, the Jolly Logic bluetooth solid-state device might have survived the crushing impact but the corrosion from possible rainwater intrusion after being planted in the desert dry lake bed sand for over a year proved to be fatal.

Payload case built into the beta rocket’s payload interior; note how the holes were crushed

Chris Lujan is inspecting the device, but it is very unlikely that any data will be recoverable from the chip. It is a shame as getting direct measurements of a beta flight would be great data to have. I guess we’ll have to try again?

Remains of the Jolly Logic altimeter chip, battery still attached

[X2]

At the end of the meeting, I gave a brief overview of a second design for the RRS standard liquid rocket. The system is smaller than Richard’s initial 1000-lbf design and will use ethanol/LOX as propellants similar to prior RRS designs. One of the key features is the custom-built aluminum tanks to be made from common piping sizes and head designs made from aluminum round stock on a lathe. In the last few minutes, I was only able to provide a cursory outline of the project which will be discussed in further details at subsequent meetings. I have identified a few of the key parts including high pressure solenoid valves, aluminum tubing, AN fittings and a common composite overwrapped pressurant vessel commonly used in paintball sports.

simple schematic of a blowdown rocket system, three tank arrangement

[IN CLOSING}

Wilbur and Xavier mentioned that the EAA is open to having the RRS use their office for one of our monthly meetings in the future. Given how close the Compton Airport is to the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena, this is quite practical. The RRS will make the announcement soon if one of our meetings in early 2019 will be at the EAA 96 hangar.

If there is anything here that needs correcting, please contact the RRS secretary.
The next RRS meeting will be Friday, December 14th, 2018.