MTA launch event, 2021-07-23

by Dave Nordling, Reaction Research Society


Aerospace Corporation held a private launch event at the RRS MTA on Friday, July 23, 2021, for a group of interns soon to return back to school. I was the pyrotechnic operator in charge for this event with Drew Cortopassi as my apprentice. It was an ideal day for launch with low winds all day, but the Mojave summer heat was formidable as ever with temperatures reaching over 100 degrees before noon.

Chris and James Kobel prepare the Aerospace rockets for launch.
Although built quickly and with little if any paint, the rockets flew very well.
Ready for launch

This was the first time the company organized a build-and-fly type of event. RRS members also employed at Aerospace were able to recommend a common and reliable model rocket design with F-sized motors. The participants arrived early and were well organized and prepared. With a diligent safety officer from the company, no one had any significant problems with the heat. After our standard safety briefing, the event began with launching all 18 rockets prepared that day, with only one dud motor which was easily replaced.

RRS member, Drew Cortopassi, spots a rocket under parachute descending back to the launch site
Wire launchers were used for the Aerospace Corporation launches. RRS member, Chris Kobel, brought his wire launcher for the event.
Chris Kobel describes the proper procedures for loading and hooking up the rocket in preparation for launch.
With careful rehearsal of the safing and arming, Aerospace interns got to launch their rocket from within the old MTA blockhouse.

Spotting the rockets in flight is challenging even under open blue skies such as we had that fine day at the MTA. All but two rockets were recovered. Some drifted further away from the range and some weren’t able to recover all parts from thier rocket. As many wanted the keepsake, it is a lesson in amateur rocketry that recovery is not guaranteed.

The fun wasn’t limited to just the interns that day. I brought my small Estes Generic E2X and flew my first model rocket with a peppy little C6-7 motor. In doing so, I answered the Yoerg Challenge issued to all RRS members to build and fly a kit rocket as a team broadening effort.

The Nordling-built Estes Generic E2X returned to the launch site safely under parachute.
Safely at rest under calm winds at the RRS MTA
Simple and always fun, the Estes kit rockets are great.

I had asked a few members of the society to join me at this event which helped better monitor progress and more swiftly execute the event as the heat would become worse as the day went on. John Krell came out to fly one of his own hobby rockets with a new payload he’s been developing. After some problems with adapting to the wire launcher and keeping the rocket upright, he opted to use the alpha box-rails which fit his four-finned vehicle well. Sadly, his rocket suffered a motor failure and the flight would have to be for another day.

John Krell arms the payload before walking back to the blockhouse for firing.

The last project at this event was an experimental rocket built by Jerry Fuller, Jeff Lang and others at Aerospace Corporation. The details of this project were company proprietary but they were able to use a commercial high powered motor and booster rocket for what appeared to be a successful flight from our 1515 rail launcher.

Jeff Lang of Aerospace Corporation making the final preparations on the specialized booster for the experimental flight
Jerry Fuller examines the booster on the rails before the payload is installed before flight.
A swift and straight launch from the RRS 1515 rail launcher.

The society was glad to support individual groups and companies with these kind of events. For organizations interested in having similar educational events at the RRS MTA or simply using our site for conducting private projects, contact the RRS president, Osvaldo Tarditti.

president@rrs.org


MTA launch event, 2021-07-17

by Dave Nordling, Reaction Research Society


The UCLA Project Prometheus had reserved the RRS MTA for Saturday, July 17, 2021, for another round of static fire testing of a nitrous oxide hybrid motor on our vertical test stand.  Dave Crisalli was the pyrotechnic operator in charge for that day and recorded the successful static fire.  The footage will be posted on the society Instagram page soon.

This summer semester test would demonstrate UCLA’s student designed and built custom hybrid motor.  Average thrust was around 300 lbf with a maximum value of 349 lbf.  Total impulse recorded was 2044 lbf-sec (in the M-motor range).  UCLA shared a few pictures from the event.

Success on the stand…
…starts with good testing in the lab

This was another great example of a university team success thanks to careful design, lab testing, training, planning and smart, in-the-field engineering.  The RRS is glad to offer our facility and technical advice.  The RRS looks forward to working with UCLA again soon.

For teams seeking to schedule the use the RRS MTA, please contact the RRS president, Osvaldo Tarditti.  Always include a full project description such that the society can accurately evaluate your request.

president@rrs.org


July 2021 Virtual Meeting


by Keith Yoerg (RRS Secretary)


The latest meeting of the Reaction Research Society took place Friday, July 9th and had 15 attendees who came and went – all members. We kicked off the meeting chatting about various items, including the news that Relativity Space (a 3D-Printed rocket engine company led by 2 USC Rocket Propulsion graduates who have tested rockets at the MTA) has just signed a contract for a building in Long Beach.

Screenshot of discussion during the monthly meeting

RICHARD BUTTERFIELD REMEMBERANCES

The RRS received sad news of the passing of an extremely devoted and well liked member – Richard Butterfield. Richard became a member of the RRS in the 1950s, and was heavily involved in recruiting new members for the organization while he lived in Long Beach working for a local aerospace company. Eventually, he moved out to the Mojave Desert at some land to the northwest of the MTA. Following a fire at his property which destroyed his workshop & part of his house he moved back into town.

Richard Ransom Butterfield, 1933-2021

Several members who knew Richard shared their remembrances and stories of Richard, recalling that he was always very welcoming to those new to the hobby. All spoke very highly of him. We intend to compile a more formal collection of stories (and photos) to pay proper tribute to this great man.

MTA PERMANENT BATHROOM UPDATE

Progress is continuing on the permanent RRS Bathroom structure. A 20-foot shipping container has been purchased and work is being done to cut out areas for doors and ventilation windows. That work is expected to be completed within the next week or 2, at which time the container will be delivered to a hangar of RRS member Wilbur Owens for the next stages of construction including adding plumbing, fixtures, and the doors and windows. See below for a schematic of the current plans for the bathroom.

A side-view and floor plan of the container bathroom

The bathroom conversation opened a discussion on other MTA site improvements that members would like to see – including solar power solutions, firefighting (possibly via a Kowasaki mule or similar ATV), and sun-protection behind the Dosa building. While the bathroom is the top site improvement priority, these other improvements are an important part of providing a world-class location for amateur rocket enthusiasts to conduct their activities.

AMAZON SMILE DONATION

The RRS received $23 in donations as a result of members and others using smile.amazon.com when ordering online – and selecting the Reaction Research Society as the charity to benefit. Thank you to all who have helped with this contribution, it should help us celebrate when we can finally have our monthly meetings in-person once again (pizza party anyone?).

Register your account with Amazon Smile to donate to the Reaction Research Society

IN-PERSON MEETINGS IN GARDENA

While the City of Gardena does not have concrete plans on when they may re-open the Ken Nakaoka Community Center – they have informed us that it will be the last thing that is going to open. It sounds like Gardena is taking a very cautious approach, and intends to see how opening the parks goes first and then move from there. While we don’t know for sure – the hope is that we may be able to host an in-person meeting in September. Members will be informed via the monthly meeting invite once meetings will be allowed in person again.

Out of town members (temporary or permanent) don’t need to worry – we will continue to provide a zoom component for our meetings to allow those members to join. We have several members who have been very dedicated to meetings but would have trouble making it in-person & we want to keep everyone engaged! Not to mention it makes guest presentations from colleges and other groups from around the country much easier.

CLASSES & COMMUNITY OUTREACH

Frank has been working diligently to set up classes to get back to our community outreach of getting the local youth exposed to & excited about rocketry. The goal is to teach out of the Strive learning facility in Watts, which has been providing a space for local at-risk youth to expand their horizons for over 30 years. We pan to teach the classes on Wednesdays in September – and then taking the kids for a launch day at the MTA in early October.

Frank showing information about the Strive Learning Center to the RRS membership

Any members interested in assisting the teaching of these classes can reach out to Frank at: vicepresident@rrs.org.

NEXT MONTHLY MEETING

The next RRS monthly meeting will be held virtually on Friday, August 13th at 7:30 pm pacific time. Current members will receive an invite via e-mail the week of the meeting. Non-members (or members who have not received recent invites) can request an invitation by sending an email to:

secretary@rrs.org

Please check your spam folders and add secretary@rrs.org to your email whitelist to make sure you receive the invitation.