RRS presents at Mars City PowerLab 2017

Mars City Foundation has introduced the Power Lab for this year, 2017, to help the Mars generation develop the skills and build the tools and technology necessary for this important time and mission.

Starting August 1st, the Power Lab is a two week long “science retreat” where students will have the opportunity to explore ideas in a workshop with experts from NASA and with other technical organizations giving cross-disciplinary expertise for PowerLab attendees to begin tangibly building the technology and tools to build mankind’s future life on Mars.

Mars City Foundation

Mars City Design

RRS vice president, Frank Miuccio presented on the third day of the workshop at the University of Southern California (USC) with a presentation on the “Past, Present and Future of the RRS”. The RRS was glad to share some of our history and present endeavors and aspirations for our society.

PowerLab attendees inspect an RRS standard alpha rocket

Frank also showed the video of George Garboden’s altitude record setting amateur rocket launch back in November 23, 1996 at Black Rock, Nevada.  

RRS presents to the PowerLab attendees

Frank closed the presentation with an update on the SuperDosa project to reclaim the amateur altitude record for the RRS. The students had many questions and was interested in the many things that the RRS was doing.

The RRS is glad to continue our support of the Mars City Foundation and we hope to be present for other Mars City events in the future. The RRS thanks Vera Mulyani for inviting the society to be a part of the PowerLab event.

For any questions regarding the RRS, please contact Frank Miuccio:
vicepresident@rrs.org

For questions regarding Mars City PowerLab, visit the Mars City Foundation website:
Mars City Foundation

 

July 2017 meeting

The RRS held its monthly meeting last night on July 14, 2017 at our usual spot at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena, CA. We got started a little late, but we covered all of our agenda items.

We have two new members, Drew Cortopassi and Alastair Martin, joining the RRS. Both were in attendance at the meeting and we were glad to have them join us.

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Larry gave us an update on the RRS alpha build event we’re doing with the students of Jordan Downs in Watts. John Mariano gave his presentation last week and Larry has started the build event portion. This event has been sponsored by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Community Safety Partnership (CSP) which will be bringing a lot of talented kids from the inner city of Los Angeles. Local television crews filmed the event and the final day of painting of the student rockets is happening today. We hope to have the video spot on our YouTube channel very soon.

Jordan Downs build event with the RRS

LAPD CSP – About Us page

The students from Jordan Downs will launch 10 alpha rockets with one more alpha launched by LAPD. It will be a great day next Saturday, July 22nd, at the MTA.

Jordan Downs alpha rockets painted and ready

To any school or private group that would like to conduct a rocket build event with the RRS, please contact us at:
events@rrs.org

I will be launching an alpha of my own at the event with a PVC payload section. Our director of research, Richard Garcia, and RRS treasurer, Chris Lujan, were helping me with some payload issues I’m resolving.

Dave Crisalli has also been working with students at the Chaminade College Preparatory School in Chatsworth, CA. They have built a solid rocket motor to test at the MTA on the July 22nd event. Dave was a graduate of Chaminade and has been our pyro-op on many MTA launch events.

Chaminade College Preparatory School

Our discussion moved to the details of managing the upcoming launch event at our Mojave Test Area (MTA) on next Saturday, July 22nd. This is a private event, but we host these with many students, universities and private individuals with our membership.

We had discussed how the launches should be conducted as early as possible to avoid what will likely be an oppressively hot summer day for our young students. All of our invited attendees should make an extra effort to be at the MTA by 10:00AM, which means leaving the city before 7:00AM. There were also concerns related to safety once we get into launch mode. Once the safety briefing is conducted (likely around 11:00AM) and all people are moved into the observation bunker, the roads will be closed to traffic. No one will be allowed in or out until the last volley is fired as is our policy.

Attendees at the MTA are recommended to wear hats and sunscreen at all times. Bring as much ice and water as you can. And most importantly…drink this water and fluids as often as possible. Many people don’t know they have become dehydrated until after the ill-effects set in (then its too late). Drink often even if you don’t feel like it.

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I gave a short update on the SuperDosa project. We have decided to build a ballistic evaluation motor (BEM) to have the ability to conduct propellant evaluation tests. There are a few different approaches to getting accurate burn rate data, but I felt that the BEM approach would be the most beneficial despite the added complexity. Osvaldo has the plate and round stock I bought for this small but tough little test rig. Richard Garcia is working on the dust recovery and ducting to restart his graphite machining capabilities. I hope to get a few nozzle pucks made and hopefully begin testing this fall.

RRS ballistic evaluation motor design concept

More work in trajectory and performance modelling needs to be done. The details on the initial SuperDosa design are still a bit in flux. Neither Richard nor I had any progress to report on this front.

The discussion moved to propellant procurement. We are looking at acquiring some AP oxidizer which shouldn’t be a problem. The HTPB binder chemical, however, has really climbed up in cost. PBAN is another option we’re considering. Someone mentioned asphalt was used in the early days, but it’s not clear what the disadvantages are.

We had briefly discussed making rocket candy just for the initial samples to test and qualify the BEM test rig. It was decided that Chris Lujan would cook a small batch of sugar/KNO3 at the MTA and pour into some 3/4″ PVC sample cases. I hope to be able to document the process and present this in a report. This is a common mixture, but the purpose is to help more people become better at this task. Many of our members have experience in making the rocket candy mixture, but it helps to standardize the process and always watch out for safety issues.

MIT student, Sean Austin, was in attendance at the meeting. He had mentioned his university lab had built a strand-burner to test propellant samples. They had a lot of issues getting reliable test results, but he was happy to share their design with the RRS. A strand burner design is simpler to make and if the RRS has the right materials and tools, we may build a strand burner to supplement our BEM.

Richard Nakka’s rocketry page has a lot of great details on this subject of solid propellant burn rate testing methods and data collection.

strand burner
Nakka – strand burner test rig

ballistic evaluation motor
Nakka – BEM concept illustration

solid propellant, burn rate testing, in general
Nakka – burn rate testing in general

***

Four members from the UCLA IREC team came to present their results from this year’s competition at Spaceport America north of Las Cruces, New Mexico. The rocket launch competition is supported by universities across the country and the event is managed by the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA).
2017 IREC competition – Spaceport America

I had asked UCLA to come show us the fruits of their team’s hard work done at the RRS MTA. UCLA had some issues resolved, but ran into other problems at the launch site. Heat was a factor which resulted in the payload computers not working. A great deal was learned and UCLA will surely leverage these lessons into next year’s build.

UCLA presents IREC results to the RRS

UCLA presents IREC results to the RRS

The RRS would like to thank UCLA students, Nakul Gupta, Caleb Lessard, Edward Shen and Nick Knenning for presenting. The RRS looks forward to continuing our support of UCLA and other universities as they advance their rocket projects.

The UCLA Rocket Project will conduct more cold flow testing of their liquid rocket systems at the RRS MTA at the July 22nd event, but priority will be given to the student alpha launches to conduct the events as early in the day to avoid the hottest hours at the site.

Also, in attendance at the meeting was MIT student, Sam Austin. Sam is in Los Angeles this summer on an internship with Northrop Grumman. Sam was part of the MIT team at the IREC competition and related some of his team’s results. MIT did well taking 2nd place, but as always, there are new things to learn or things to do better. Sam had indicated interest in attending the upcoming launch at the MTA. We hope he’ll become a student member of the RRS to do so.

***

The RRS history project continues as our current membership has been reaching out to our founders and other members from the earliest days of the society. We hope to share some of this with our readers and members very soon. Frank had found another set of RRS newsletters from 1989-1991 which he gave to Richard Garcia, our director of research, for scanning and archiving.

As always, if anyone has any RRS or related literature that they would like to offer to be scanned for the society, please let Richard know:
research@rrs.org

***

I had presented the general topic of how to generate more revenue for the society. The RRS is funded by our membership in the form of dues, donated time to support events, monetary and material donations and such. I wanted to solicit ideas about how the RRS can pursue other avenues to bring in more funds to better support the programs we have and the new programs we hope to do soon.

One classic idea is to produce RRS-logo branded things like T-shirts, coffee cups, even metal rulers. I have seen older RRS branded items in the past and although the profit margins can be thin, it’s a fine fund-raising idea to consider. John Mariano had a few other ideas for fund-raising he brought up in a previous meeting this year.

The RRS is looking at grant programs both in the private sector and with government agencies. The RRS is a 501(c)3 educational non-profit group which has had success with several schools already and we intend to expand our outreach as we find schools and organizations able to help us bring the joy of rocketry. Donations from private companies and individuals is another avenue we’ll pursue. If anyone has any specific programs or ideas in mind, please contact the RRS vice president, Frank Miuccio.
vicepresident@rrs.org

One idea I had which was accepted was to publish an issue of the RRS Astrojet newsletter on our 75th anniversary on January 7, 2018. Although the RRS has not published a paper newsletter in quite some time, it was a popular item in its day. The newsletter would be the same 12 page format used throughout our history with articles from many of our members including George James, George Dosa and others as we bring this idea home. The 75th anniversary Astrojet newsletter will only be available in print and delivered by mail for a nominal price ($10?) to help fund the RRS’s growing activities.

Another idea put forth was to attempt the rocket mail flights done in the early days of the society. More thought and discussion would be necessary to see how feasible this would be, but I liked the idea?

The RRS may look to have some corporate sponsorship of the 75th anniversary symposium if this is possible.

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Frank made the announcement of the upcoming 75th anniversary RRS symposium on April 14, 2018. This will be a public event at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center where we will have speakers from universities, government agencies and private companies.

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Frank also mentioned that he’ll be taking a trip to JPL with RRS founder, George James, later this month. Besides a tour, the RRS hopes to have a conversation with the K-12 education outreach coordinator at JPL on this visit. Frank will post an update on the website after this event.

***

We adjourned late, 9:20PM, well after the 9PM closing time, but we covered a lot. If there is anything I missed or misstated, please contact me at my RRS email below.
secretary@rrs.org

For those desiring to apply to join the RRS, either as full members or as student members, download our RRS membership application form from this website and send it to the RRS by email or our post office box in Los Angeles.
president@rrs.org

Reaction Research Society
P.O. Box 90933
Los Angeles, CA, 90009-0933

Our next meeting will be August 11, 2017, at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center.

***

2017 RRS symposium was a success!

The RRS held its 2017 Rocket and Space Exhibition and Symposium today, April 22nd, at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena.

pulling up the banner

2017 RRS symposium

In attendance was Orbital-ATK, Aerospace Corporation, Tyvak, Navy Air Weapons Center at China Lake, the China Lake Museum, Rocketry Organization of California (ROC), University of California Los Angeles, University of Southern California, California State University Long Beach, University of California San Diego, University of California Irvine, Cal Poly Pomona, California Institute of Technology, Oregon State, Mars City Design, Spaceport LA and the Magnolia Science Academy.

Many of the university groups and private companies were exhibitors at the event.

UCSD SEDS group

UCLA Rocket Project

USC Rocket Propulsion Laboratory

The Rocketry Organization of California (ROC) had a great exhibit.

Rocketry Organization of California (ROC)

Mars City Design and Spaceport L.A. were both at the exhibition.

Mars City Design

Mars City Design

Mars City Design

Spaceport L.A.

The China Lake Museum also had a great display for their museum in Ridgecrest, CA, soon to be unveiled to the public.

China Lake Museum Foundation

China Lake Museum

Also, we were very fortunate to have a lot of rocketry equipment on display (on loan) from Norton Sales.

TRW pintle engine on display, courtesy of Norton Sales

Norton Sales – North Hollywood, CA

thrust chamber on loan from Norton Sales at the RRS symposium exhibition

Rocketdyne Atlas vernier engine

The RRS SuperDosa full-scale mockup was also on display.

The RRS SuperDosa rocket, full-scale mockup

Also a fine piece from Apogee Astronautics, a Viper 3A booster, on loan to the RRS symposium exhibition courtesy of Robert Kleinberger.

Viper 3A booster on loan from Apogee Astronautics

Many current and former members of the RRS were at the symposium.

Larry Hoffing, Niels Anderson, Chip Bassett, George Garboden and John Mariano

Hal Duffy and Osvaldo Tarditti

George Dosa, at the RRS symposium

Richard Garcia, our director of research at the RRS, had his liquid rocket breadboard on display, one of several projects started at the RRS this year.

Richard and his liquid rocket breadboard

RRS liquid rocket vehicle breadboard, work in progress

John Mariano and Larry Hoffing were both on hand at the RRS table all day at the symposium to talk about the society’s rich history and our recent work with local schools including Hermosa, Compton’s Rise Academy and the Girls Academic Leadership Academy of LA USD.

John Mariano at the RRS symposium exhibit

RRS exhibition at the 2017 symposium

The RRS looks forward to doing more events with schools as the importance of STEAM education is increasingly important. To anyone interested in doing rocket build events with the RRS, please contact the RRS at our events email: events@rrs.org

Osvaldo and Frank started off the symposium with the welcoming speech in the exhibition hall.

Frank Miuccio, RRS VP, gives an opening speech

I had the pleasure of giving the first presentation on the RRS’s history, present and future goals.

Dave Nordling, RRS past, present and future

We had presenters running throughout the day. Our presenters gave great speeches. We had a lot of participation from industry, academia and government with a good range of topics.

Warren Frick of Orbital-ATK presents at the RRS symposium speaker series

Matt Walker of NAWC China Lake presents at the RRS symposium

Dr. Jamie Bock of Cal Tech Astronomy Department presents on the CIBER project

Mars City Design has been in partnership with the RRS. Vera Mulyani gave a great presentation on their goals. On behalf of the RRS, Frank donated an alpha to the Mars City Design team for their upcoming “An Evening on Mars” dinner event on May 25th. An Evening on Mars – May 25, 2017 The RRS is glad to be working with Mars City on this ambitious project.

An RRS alpha is donated to Mars City Design

We are very grateful to all who came and to the Ken Nakaoka Community Center for hosting our event.
Ken Nakaoka Community Center – via Facebook

Also, we had a lot of great volunteers who we are indebted for making setup and teardown go swiftly and smoothly.

Dave Nordling, Richard Garcia, Bill Janczewski

The RRS thanks all of our volunteers!

Some of the photos on this post are courtesy of Tony Richards. Thank you for taking those, Tony. If there’s more photos anyone would like to share, please let me know.
secretary@rrs.org

Also, the RRS wants to thank Tacos Los 2 Amigos for providing lunch just outside of the community center. Many people appreciated and enjoyed it!

Tacos Los 2 Amigos – Yelp

In early April, I put out a group of emails to everyone that is on the RRS mailing list that I have. At the symposium, some of our current and former members have said that they didn’t receive the notice. As it seems our mailing list hasn’t been reaching everyone, please email me at: secretary@rrs.org and I will be sure to make the update.

Also, if any of our membership is having trouble accessing the members content on the RRS.ORG website, also, please let me know. I can talk to our webmaster and get that resolved.

The RRS is looking forward to next year’s symposium and if anyone has any feedback or any suggestions for improvement for next year’s symposium, please contact Frank.

vicepresident@rrs.org

We’ll be having a launch event at the MTA this next Saturday, April 29th, with UCLA doing a static firing and a launch. I hope there will be other launches we can do at this event.

Also, our next RRS meeting will be Friday, May 12th, 7:30pm, in Gardena. Please come out as we’ve got a lot of exciting things planned this summer and fall.