April 2016 meeting of RRS at USC

The RRS will hold its April 2016 meeting on the USC campus, Friday, April 8th, from 7:30 to 9:00pm.  Please get there early as there will be groups congregating at 7pm and 7:30pm to guide people to the meeting place.  The meeting will be at the USC Rocket Propulsion Laboratory, 854B Downey Way, Los Angeles, CA, 90089-1192.

For all attending, coming from the 110 North (southbound), exit Exposition, follow Exposition to Watt Way, ask gate attendant where meter parking is.

For all attending, coming from the 110 South (northbound), exit Exposition, follow Exposition exit around the DMV and under the freeway, then follow Exposition to Watt Way.  Ask gate attendant where meter parking is.

We will be meeting at the corner of Watt Way and Downey Way (W 36th Pl.).  There is a 2-hour parking lot west of that intersection at Downey Way (W 36th Pl.) and McClintock Ave.  The intersection can be found in the lower section of quadrant C5 on the map, linked below.

Map of USC campus

The pre-meet up times will be 7pm and 7:30pm to make sure everyone can congregate then be led into the meeting location.

Our next meeting (May 13, 2016) will resume back at our usual location, the Gardena Community Center.  Meetings are every 2nd Friday of each month.

Electro-Tech Machining (Graphite Machining & Fabrication)

Chris, Steve and I stopped by Electro-Tech Machining (ETM) in Long Beach on Monday, March 21st.

For anyone interested in ETM’s graphite and graphite machining services, a weblink to their site and their contact information is listed below.   Our sincere thanks to Cathy Braunsdorf and Kevin Anderson at ETM!

Electro-Tech Machining

2000 W. Gaylord Street, Long Beach, CA, 90813

(562) 491-3023, customer service office

(562) 437-5421, FAX

March 2016 meeting

The March 2016 meeting took place on the 11th. Osvaldo called the meeting to order just after 8pm.

Chris Lujan found a graphite material supplier in Long Beach who is willing to give away his scrap stock. The supplier was encouraged to donate thanks to the RRS having 501(c)3 status.  A date for the pickup was being discussed (Monday, the 21st?).   Round graphite stock would make an attractive high temperature nozzle for future builds.

Steve Majdali found a new supplier of electric matches.  He bought a set to do some quality tests to see how reliable they are.

MJG – Electric Match

A new blockhouse to replace the old one at the MTA is still the main priority which may be paid largely with RRS funds.  The RRS would still appreciate donations to help supplement the cost of this important addition to the MTA to safely operate closer to the launch pads.  Currently, launches are done from the safety of the spectator viewing area, but it is a much longer distance to run the wiring and conduct the launches.

A new restroom facility at the MTA is still under consideration. The society has been looking at different options and looking to build up quotes to make a nicer outdoor facility to our guests and members.  National and State Parks often have good remote toilet facilities.  The cost of the new restroom facility will be substantial and the society is looking for donations.   We have a donations link on this same RRS webpage for anyone that’d like to contribute to better creature comforts at the MTA. I’ve put it below for convenience.

Donate to the RRS

MakerLab has partnered with Meltdown Comics in downtown LA. MakerSpace is an event held every 2nd Saturday.  Larry was contacted by MakerSpace to bring an RRS rocket design and hold a build session to make Alpha rockets.  The fees collected at the event would be split between the RRS and the MakerSpace hosts.  There was some interest but no date has been set yet for this event.

Meltdown Comics – Los Angeles

Chris volunteered to create learning materials to explain to participants about the fundamentals behind the rocket build and launching. The objective is to give participants more than just a recipe for building but the reasons behind why things are made in certain ways and why things done the way they are.

Osvaldo recommended creating learning materials for three different levels of education (grade school, middle school, high school).  Subjects like rocket propulsion (how it works, basic thermodynamics), rocket structures, trajectory predictions, tracking and quick math tricks could be introduced.  Dave volunteered to create a template of such a plan next week. He’ll pass it to Chris for comments from other members.   The draft of these learning materials can be reviewed at the April meeting.  Larry and John have already given presentations before which will be valuable information to include.  In the end, it will be good to produce something that can bring the excitement of rocket technology to all ages.

Frank brought a video presentation he compiled from footage taken during the build sessions at Hermosa HS and the launch event at the MTA February 27th.  A link to Frank’s compilation of footage is below.  Some of the footage was by a drone flown by one of the parents.  There’s some really great shots in there!

Frank’s compilation of Hermosa event 2-27-2016

Frank also showed footage of USC’s latest launch at the MTA that same Saturday, the 27th.  New video is available at the USC RPL website

USC Rocket Propulsion Laboratory

There was discussion about holding the April meeting at the USC campus like what was done last year.  This is a convenient time for the USC students to help summarize their work before the summer starts.  It’s also a great opportunity to see firsthand the USC campus and the rocket lab, if such a tour will be done this year.  More will be posted as this topic develops.

No launches at the MTA were scheduled for our regular Saturday, March 19th.  I hope to have something ready for April’s launch date of April 16th.

Osvaldo’s fin attachment jig will have to wait for next meeting in April.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 pm.  Next RRS meeting is scheduled for April 8th.  Location will be at the Gardena Community Center unless we confirm that it will be on the USC campus.   More information about the April meeting at USC will be coming as soon as I have something to post.