June 2017 meeting

The monthly meeting of the RRS was held June 9, 2017, at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena. The meeting was called to order at 7:45pm.

The launch event with UCLA was successful. We accomplished a lot with many different groups present. Again, we thank Dave Crisalli for being our pyro-op for the event. The RRS discussed the event and how we could manage these events in a more orderly fashion.

Several steps for improvement were discussed including tighter control of incoming vehicles and setting our operating procedure into written form for publication. In the future, the RRS should require all attendees to the MTA send their indemnification forms well in advance of the event so we know how many people we are expecting. Also, we need to use a full 10 second count instead of the 5 second count which will allow more time for the spotter to stop the launch if a problem is detected. An earlier draft of the RRS operational safety codes exists and was approved. The RRS secretary will circulate a new draft to the executive council before the next meeting on July 14th.

Minor facility improvements were discussed including how to mitigate the stifling heat at our desert site. Frank was willing to buy a water-fed misting fan that might help some people inside the Dosa building or perhaps inside the bunker. If the device works well, the RRS may consider buying a second unit to help create a small cooling space for those who are most affected by the heat.

I sat in my truck’s air conditioning a few times that afternoon as wearing the fireproof suit for the micrograin loading operations only added to my mounting heat exhaustion. Dave Crisalli had mentioned there are vests that hold flat ice packs that can be worn inside of protective suits. This will buy some time to work more comfortably under hot conditions.

Hydration, sunscreen and proper clothing for the desert heat are always important to all individuals to protect themselves both before and during the events held at the RRS MTA. The Mojave Desert is a tough place. It’s this attention to these details that are key parts of everyone having a successful event. As we do operate year-round through the hot months, there will always be this hazard to manage.

We reviewed the video shot from the launches. It has been suspected that the existing micrograin launch rails are a little too short resulting in the rockets leaving less than straight from the rails. We discussed newer longer rail launchers. It was decided to try to recover an old rail system that is already at the MTA as a backup.

Frank brought several old paper copies of the RRS newsletters. Some of these date back to the early 1950’s and others were from the 1960’s. The RRS is actively working to electronically archive as much of these newsletters as part of our on-going RRS history project.

RRS News, Issues 104 and 103

RRS News, Issues 98 and 101

Issue 101 mentions a story where the RRS was on the old Louis Lomax show which was a local semi-weekly news program in Los Angeles from 1964-1968. John Mariano and George Dosa were there and we hope to someday find the archival footage and post this to our YouTube channel. (I think it was Issue 101? Someone correct me if I am mistaken.)
Louis Lomax – Wikipedia

The RRS has in fact set the date for the upcoming 75th anniversary symposium which will be April 14, 2018. We will have it at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center as before. We have already begun the process of contacting speakers and exhibitors. We hope to make this event even better than this last year.

John Mariano brought his rocket on a string. This is a classic demonstration of the fundamental principle of propulsion using a CO2 cartridge guided on a plastic clothesline. The rocket was easily able to traverse the full length of the Ken Nakaoka Community Center ballroom, even uphill to the stage where Larry was holding the stop. Bill and I took video of the event and its on the RRS YouTube channel. Link is below:

CO2 rocket on a string

YouTube channel – RRS

After some false starts in getting the spring loaded puncturing device to work, we got it to work. Simple, but very fun! This demonstration of the fundamental principle of jet propulsion is a favorite in our educational events.

John Mariano gets ready with his rocket on a string

pool noodle segment, nose cone, plastic guide rods, CO2 cartridge, clothesline

Rocket on a string, Larry catches on the stage

The RRS is looking forward to doing an educational event with the students of Nickerson Projects in Watts. After the teaching sessions, the launch event is scheduled for July 22nd. Larry has an RRS standard alpha for the demonstration. The RRS is grateful to the LAPD CSP program for helping put this together.

RRS standard alpha for the Watts program in July 2017

We adjourned the meeting at 9:10pm. Next meeting will be July 14, 2017, just before the launch event with Nickerson Projects in Watts that next Saturday, July 22nd.

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

April 2017 meeting

The RRS held its monthly meeting on Friday, April 14th at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena. The meeting was called to order at 7:42pm. The meeting agenda was simplified to discuss only matters pertaining to the symposium which is taking place on Saturday the 22nd. All executive council members were in attendance and many of our regular members were also present including Greg Coleman.

Osvaldo, Frank and Chris

Nearly all of our speakers have confirmed with Frank and a final agenda will be posted on the RRS.org website once it is finalized by Tuesday, the 18th. We have added the University of California Irvine to our list of presenters.
UC Irvine – Rocket Project

With the community center’s permission, the exhibition hall will prepared by some of the RRS members for the symposium on the Friday night before (6:30-9:00pm). The symposium starts at 9am, but exhibitors are encouraged to come in early Saturday 7:30-8:00am to get ready before we start.

Apogee Astronautics was very kind to loan to the RRS an inert SuperLoki booster to be on display beside the RRS’s SuperDosa full-scale mockup at the symposium. Richard will bring sawhorses to support the SuperLoki booster for everyone to see.

Norton Sales has promised to provide a few aerospace history pieces for the exhibition which will also be great additions.
Norton Sales – North Hollywood, CA

The China Lake museum is a new addition to our exhibitors which is great.
China Lake Museum

A taco vendor has been booked for the event so there will be food available on site for purchase at the community center. There are several local restaurants in the area surrounding the Ken Nakaoka Community Center. There are even more restaurants to the south at Western Avenue and Artesia Blvd. (CA Hwy 91).

The address is on our flyers but here it is again below for convenience. It is between the Gardena Police Station and the fire station. The symposium is April 22nd, from 9:00am to 5:00pm.

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

Richard Garcia and Chris Lujan will be managing the presentation room and speakers. Osvaldo, Frank and I will be managing the exhibition hall or any other issues that arise.

The RRS still needs volunteers from our membership and we hope to have everyone come out to this special event. RRS staff and volunteers can be identified by badges that will be worn at the event. We will have a sign up book for all of our visitors. The RRS will also have membership applications available for those who wish to join us at the event.

I will be posting one last update to the symposium here on the RRS website which will include the final agenda. For questions regarding the symposium, you can email Frank who is the symposium director.
vicepresident@rrs.org

The meeting concluded at 9:19pm. The next monthly meeting will be Friday, May 12th. Let me know if there are any questions or corrections to make.
secretary@rrs.org

MTA launch event, 2017-03-25

The RRS was pleased to host a launch event at our Mojave Test Area (MTA) for the Girls Academic Leadership Academy (GALA) of L.A. USD on Saturday, March 25, 2017. The event had an excellent turnout.

GALA at the MTA, panorama

GALA students on the MTA observation deck

Longtime member Dave Crisalli was our pyro-op for the event and I was able to serve as his assistant in conducting the launch of twelve alphas and a beta rocket.

Dave Crisalli

Osvaldo and Dave

If anyone else has photos of the event that they’d like to share, please email me:
secretary@rrs.org

Before we got started, we had a safety briefing showing how launch will take place and what to do before, during and after firing. To give an appreciation for the propellants commonly used in amateur rocketry, at a safe distance, we burned a sample of the micrograin.

John Mariano addresses the group

sample micrograin propellant burning

And a composite grain that Larry made for the demonstration

composite grain, before and after

AP composite grain, sample burn

We had 12 alphas and 1 beta for launch. GALA did a great job in painting their rockets. The bright colors not only distinguished one from the other, but they also made finding them downrange by their tailfins in the desert much easier to do. GALA also was wise to number their rockets. We took good notes on the flight times of each (35-38 seconds which is typical). With the wind noise, it wasn’t always possible to hear the faint thump. GALA did well in keeping quiet after launch to hear the thump and figure the direction where it was heard.

GALA rockets ready for launch

alpha launch rails facing out to the gate

GALA ready for launch

alpha launch 03-25-2017

Osvaldo equipped the last of the 12 alphas (all the way to the right in the photo below) with another fin-mounted keychain camera similar to what was done at the November 2016 launch event. Alas, it was not to be, the camera was destroyed and no footage was captured.

12 alphas laying in the rack

The beta was without payload except for the wooden adapter and a plastic Easter egg half as a nose cone. A buzzer and a strobe device was mounted to the beta fins in hopes to be better able to locate the vehicle in the search. Unfortunately, the beta, too was lost. No sound of impact was heard.

alphas and a beta (upside down)

Loading the beta into the rack

RRS beta launch 2017-03-25

Dr. Mitchell Spearrin of UCLA came by the event to tour the MTA as the RRS looks forward to working UCLA on their upcoming projects. Dr. Spearrin brought an Estes Ascender model rocket of his own to test at the MTA with a commercial F-motor. At the end of the GALA rockets, the model rocket was launched. I didn’t get any photos. I believe the winds carried the light rocket pretty far east of the MTA site. I understand that the rocket wasn’t able to be recovered.

Estes Ascender

Several of the alpha rockets launched by GALA were able to be recovered through hard work and sweat. I think of the 12 launches, 7 were recovered? An excellent job by the GALA team in finding and recovering a lot of the hardware.

GALA recovers an alpha

GALA alpha extracted

The RRS wants to thank GALA for their participation and hope they enjoyed the day as we did! We hope to have GALA come back for another event. Also, many thanks to Don Purpurra for contributing his photos of the event. The shots of the alphas and betas he took were incredible!
GALA Academy

If any other schools or groups are interested in participating in one of our build events, please contact our events coordinator, Larry Hoffing:
events@rrs.org

blockhouse view with the launch button gear

Our next RRS meeting will be Friday, April 14, 2017, at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena, CA. This will be the last meeting before the RRS symposium which will be held Saturday, April 22nd at the same meeting location in Gardena. We encourage all of our participants to come by the Friday, April 14th meeting in advance of the symposium.

There will be speakers and an exhibition hall with universities and groups from government and private companies in attendance.

the latest RRS symposium flyer

Our latest flyer is linked here for download. Please share and post!
rrs symposium flyer 320

We also have tickets to the symposium being offered through an Eventbrite link given below. The event is free. We encourage everyone who’s interested in coming to sign up as this helps us get a better idea of how many people are coming.
Eventbrite – RRS symposium (free to register)

If I missed anything or if anything is misstated, please contact me:
secretary@rrs.org