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.

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

USC sets new altitude record with Fathom II

The University of Southern California Rocket Propulsion Laboratory (USC RPL) has posted the results from their recent launch of their Fathom II vehicle from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

The link below goes into greater detail:
USC RPL breaks altitude record with Fathom II

The Fathom II vehicle was confirmed to have reached an altitude of 144,000 feet (43.98 km) on March 4, 2017. USC RPL now is the record holder for the highest altitude achieved by a wholly student built and launched rocket.

USC Fathom II at launch

USC RPL has been working hard over the years to reach this plateau of success. USC has conducted many tests and even launched some of their early vehicles from the RRS Mojave Test Area.

Next stop will be USC building and launching their larger full-scale SpaceShot vehicle to cross the von Karman line of 100 km altitude (328,083 feet 3 inches).

USC RPL team and the Fathom II rocket

The RRS congratulates USC on this stellar accomplishment and we hope to hear all about it at the RRS symposium at USC’s presentation in our speaker series, Saturday, April 22nd.

Saturday, April 22, RRS symposium in Gardena

rrs symposium flyer 5

The symposium is open to the public at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena, CA. Well done, USC!