June 14th 2013 Meeting Report

Osvaldo returned to the MTA and found his rocket. (Along with a few other pieces of unidentified rockets) It looked like the parachute tangled on deployment possibly due to the shock cords being too short. His apogee detector broke and the main body tube was bent.


Osvaldo also brought the drawings to the RRS Beta and I’ll be scanning them soon, so now we can look forward to having those. Additionally he also brought the accompanying text to the RRS composite motor class, and I will also be scanning that to add to our RRS library.


The meeting was attended by an older one of our members John Mariano. He has been active in the past and he is currently working with the Endeavor exhibit at the California Science Center. He has noticed that over the past few years an interest in spaceflight and rocketry that he has not seen since the space race era. He is in an advantageous position to promote the RRS and he is interested in doing so and we discussed some of the possibilities.


John also brought a very interesting RRS artifact. It was a Copy of a small news article accompanied by an illustration. In 1948 the RRS proposed to build a 4 stage hydrogen oxygen rocket capable of delivering 100lb to orbit. This obviously never came to be, but I admire the ambition. I haven’t checked their numbers for their vehicle, but I have been working on designing a nano-satellite launcher for the 3D printed rocket engine contest and I do think a small launch vehicle delivering a payload on the order of 5 to 10 kg is doable at the extreme end of the amateur scale. (It would probably be something comparable to Copenhagen Suborbital’s second manned configuration, but with more stages.) He also mentioned some other interesting historical items from the RRS. There was an article about the RRS in a 1960’s edition of an encyclopedia. [Rocket Encyclopedia Illustrated – Herrick] There was also a RRS TV spot that John was in that aired on a local news station in the 1960’s. If you have anything like this from the RRS in your position, let’s get it convert it to a digital format so we can put it up on the website. Send me an email if you’re interested or need any help. (I had someone working at the Gardena recreational center make a copy of it for me but it was too large for him to get on one page so after I scan and edit it back into one image I’ll post it.)


We discussed an idea I had recently about trying to use an aqueous solution of potassium nitrate as a liquid oxidizer. I wasn’t sure how we could test if it would burn with a liquid fuel. If we just mixed some with ethanol and took a blow torch to it how we would know whether the ethanol was burning with the potassium nitrate solution or just atmospheric oxygen? Well someone clued me in on the fact that if the potassium nitrate was combusting there should be noticeable color change in the flame. I thought it was a good idea and I gave it a try the other day and I got positive results. I took a video and posted it to the RRS YouTube channel. I’ll be moving forward with a potassium nitrate solution/ethanol test stand engine design to see if this kind of propellant combination is a viable amateur alternative to liquid oxygen, nitrous oxide, Nitric acid and hydrogen peroxide. I plan to write an article about this and hopefully we’ll have a newsletter to put it in by then.


I’ve been working on the web site which Eric has set up in its own section of the server the site is currently on. It’s now under development and will not replace the main page until it’s more finished. Here is the address: https://www.rrs.org/ Any feedback positive or negative is welcome and appreciated.


We’re still on for an October 5th firing.


The next meeting will be July 12th at the Gardena Recreational Center, 1670 West 162nd Street Gardena, CA


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