Spaceport L.A. holds its Rocktoberfest event at Relativity Space

The Reaction Research Society (RRS) was very fortunate to attend an event sponsored by Spaceport L.A. This “Rocktoberfest” event held on November 15, 2018, was at the Relativity Space offices in Inglewood. This was a sold-out event with many people present from industry and the space-loving public.

A full house in attendance of the Spaceport L.A. panel session held at Relativity Space, 11-15-2018

Spaceport L.A. is an organization aiming to unite, build and support a space professional community in the thriving heart of Los Angeles. Through discussions, meetings and events held by Spaceport L.A., their aim is to propel further innovations and potentially foster breakthroughs to enhance space exploration. Members include technical professionals from all disciplines and other passionate individuals with the same aim to support the space community. The RRS naturally fits with these goals and we hope to have Spaceport L.A. participate at the 2019 RRS symposium at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena in April (exact date to be confirmed soon).

Spaceport L.A. – main website

The event brought a good crowd with people from Virgin Orbit, SpaceX, Phase Four, Aerospace Corporation and other professional organizations. The pork schnitzel offered from the food truck outside and the beer served at the event made for a fine supper before the panel discussion that was to take place.

Contrary to the hopes of many, Relativity did not offer a tour of their facilities at the event, but several members of Relativity were in attendance including former University of Southern California (USC) Rocket Propulsion Laboratory (RPL) member and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of Relativity, Jordan Noone. I had a chance to talk with Jordan and his new Director of Propulsion at Relativity, Nate Scholten.

Dave Nordling, Secretary, RRS, standing with Nate Scholten, Director of Propulsion at Relativity Space; in the background is the massive 3D printed aluminum upper stage tank prototype on display

Relativity is an orbital launch company founded in 2015 by Tim Ellis and Jordan Noone that is taking a fundamentally new approach to building and flying rockets. With its customized and proprietary 3D printing technologies, they plan to iteratively build rockets at a cost and speed that better enables humanity’s visions in space.

Relativity Space

Also, in attendance at the event was Mike Kwapisz, Vice President of Engineering at Phase Four (P4). Phase Four is an El Segundo based start-up company making a new RF-based electrode-less, electromagnetic-based propulsion system. The “Maxwell” engine is designed for high reliability, long operating life and is modular for smaller low-power satellites to larger spacecraft systems.

The panel discussion had many fine speakers representing a wide swath of newer aerospace industries. Tim Buzza, former SpaceX manager and now a director at Relativity Space, gave a very insightful talk about his early days at SpaceX with the Falcon 1 and the trying times they had in bringing a new launch vehicle to the market.

Dr. Greg Autry, also on the panel, is a founding director of the Southern California Commercial Spaceflight Initiative at the USC Marshall School of Business. He offered many great insights about how the commercial space market has grown from once a purely speculative concept to an expanding and thriving industry in the United States and abroad.

Spaceport L.A. panel discussion, Marco Villa (Tyvak), Tim Buzza (Relativity Space), James Behmer (Phase Four) and Gene Autry (USC) with Curtis Iwata moderating.

James Behmer of Phase Four was also on the panel and shared a bit of their history in bringing a new modular propulsion technology into the growing small satellite market.

Lastly, Marco Villa, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, was on the panel sharing his insights from his previous days at SpaceX as the Director of Mission Operations. Dr. Villa also talked about how Irvine based, Tyvak is developing nano-satellites for the growing market. He also mentioned an interesting statistic that today there are over 100 companies world-wide that are endeavoring to offer access to space. In an age of consolidation, it is good to hear how the market is expanding in some respects.

Space[prt L.A.’s banner hangs below Relativity Space’s 3D printed aluminum upper stage tank on display

The panel discussion was fascinating and I hope Spaceport L.A. will sponsor another event soon. I am very thankful to Curtis Iwata and all of the volunteers at Spaceport L.A. for coordinating a great evening that fostered many great discussions with more to come in the future. I have left a link to the Spaceport L.A. website above and a few links below to the companies represented on the panel. Also, I am grateful to Relativity Space for opening their doors for this networking event through Spaceport L.A. It was a fascinating night.

Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems Inc. – a Terran Orbital company

Relativity Space

Phase Four – advanced spacecraft propulsion

USC Marshall School of Business – Dr. Greg Autry

Please look for the next RRS event or just stop into one of our monthly meetings at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena. Our next meeting will be Friday, December 14, 2018, at 7:30pm.

RRS visit to Additive Rocket Corporation

The Reaction Research Society (RRS) was glad to receive an invitation to an open house held by the Additive Rocket Corporation (ARC) in San Diego on November 13, 2018, which invited guests from academia and industry to have an exclusive look at the company’s business. The event was co-sponsored by the University of California San Diego (UCSD’s) Atkinson Hall Prototyping Laboratory. It was well worth the long drive through south-bound traffic from Los Angeles to arrive at UCSD by early evening.

Additive Rocket Corporation in San Diego, CA

Additive Rocket Corporation

The welcoming speech was given by Dr. Jeff Sundabrae showcasing the Atkinson Hall Prototyping Laboratory at UCSD and proud partnerships that they have cultivated.

Andy Kieatiwong, CEO of Additive Rocket Corporation, and Dave Nordling, Secretary, RRS

Andy Kieatiwong, CEO of ARC, gave the headline speech about his new company, founded in partnership with his friend and colleague, Kyle Adriany.

Kyle Adriany, CTO of Additive Rocket Corporation (ARC)

ARC uses a proprietary iterative design process that takes advantage of the freedom in design offered by additive manufacturing. ARC has developed their own software algorithms that can rapidly analyze and compare a wide range of design alternatives very quickly which ultimately leads to a few highly efficient designs that should enable a low cost, high performance rocket to be made.

ARC is a small start-up in San Diego. Several of their engineers and experts were in attendance at the event as ARC showed the audience their mission to produce high impulse, ultra-low cost additively manufactured engines. Many of the guests were fellow researchers at the Prototype Laboratory and UCSD. The most exciting part was getting a tour of the university laboratories and the shared space that ARC has with their EOS M290 large scale metallic 3D printer made by Electro Optical Systems (EOS). It is an amazing piece of technology to observe in action.

Electro Optical Systems (EOS), M290 industrial 3D metal printer

An uncooled thrust chamber prototype of a 125-lbf rocket motor, made by ARC’s 3D printing machine in Inconel 718

ARC has already built their first prototypes and is planning a series of hot fire testing of their “Nemesis” engine, hopefully at the RRS Mojave Test Area (MTA), in the very near future. With successful rounds of testing to anchor their design algorithms, ARC should be able to offer a powerful and elegant rocket at very competitive prices to a growing marketplace.

Additive Rocket Corporation’s “Nemesis” engine

I was glad to attend the event and greatly appreciate the hospitality of ARC and UCSD. Many found it very exciting to witness firsthand a remarkable material process that is slowly and surely changing the manufacturing marketplace.

The RRS is hopeful that ARC will attend and speak at our forthcoming 2019 RRS symposium in April. Stay tuned to our website for further updates from ARC and the 2019 RRS symposium at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena.

The 75th anniversary RRS symposium

The RRS celebrates 75 years.

The Reaction Research Society (RRS) is proud to announce the 75th anniversary symposium at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena, California. The symposium will begin at 9:00AM on Saturday, April 21st. This will be an all-day event with a short lunch break. We hope to have local food vendors near the community center. Also, Gardena has many restaurants along Western Avenue and down at Artesia Blvd.

Ken Nakaoka Community Center
1670 W. 162nd Street
Gardena, CA, 90247

Mapquest – Ken Nakaoka Community Center

Google Maps – Gardena Recreation Center

first flyer for the RRS 75th anniversary symposium

We are proud to have speakers and exhibitors on topics of amateur and professional rocketry featuring guests from industry, academia and other rocketry organizations. Our list of speakers is below:

75th anniversary RRS symposium, speakers list

Exhibitors at the symposium include China Lake Historical Society, UCLA, CSU Long Beach, USC, UC Irvine, UCSD, Magnolia Science Academy, Spaceport L.A., our fellow colleagues at the Rocketry Organization of California (ROC), Los Angeles Air Force Base’s (LA AFB) Space and Missile Center (SMC) and officers from Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) Community Safety Partnership (CSP).

pulling up the banner

Our educational non-profit group’s humble beginnings were a group of students in Glendale in 1943. Founded by George James, the Southern California Rocket Society was renamed the Glendale Rocket Society to avoid confusion with another local group. Later, the Glendale Rocket Society would become the Reaction Research Society to encompass more aspects of propulsion than rockets.

RRS founder, George James, with his “Slim Jim” rocket

These RRS members took their passion for rocketry and science sharing it with other like-minded people ultimately leading to vibrant society persisting for three-quarters of a decade. We hope to have a photo montage from the long span of our history on display.

We will have many great exhibitors including regional universities sharing their projects. Our public event will be a great event for all. Contact Frank Miuccio, our symposium coordinator, with any questions.

vicepresident@rrs.org