by Keith Yoerg, RRS.ORG
The RRS held a firing event at the MTA on Saturday, February 28th, 2023.
The purpose of the event was to provide training for several society members who desired to gain experience in support of applications for Rockets – Class 2 Pyrotechnic Operator’s licenses from CALFIRE. Jim Gross was the PyroOp in charge for the day, with Rushd Julfiker, Michael Rouleau, Leanna Lincoln, and Keith Yoerg receiving training. The winter morning started off cool with Michael, Keith, and Leanna opening up the MTA and preparing the site for the day’s testing.
RRS standard alpha rockets that had previously been launched as a part of RRS youth outreach programs were disassembled and cleaned of residue from their previous firings and propellant mixing supplies were prepped. Rushd arrived while Keith prepped and loaded his high power rocket “Flight On!” with an Aerotech H182-Redline motor for a launch later in the day.
Once Jim arrived at the MTA, a safety briefing was held and everyone in attendance provided a brief introduction detailing their background and interest in rocketry. The static test stand was then bolted to the vertical test stand concrete pad using bolt anchors already in place on the pad. The test stand is a modified I-Beam provided by Jim. After a temporary delay from difficulties in getting the gasoline generator up and running, enough zinc and sulfur micrograin powder for 4 firings were added to the mixing bucket and set up on the mixer.
While the propellants mixed, the group returned to the Dosa building for a lunchtime grill out of brats and pineapple. During lunch, the group watched a video on electric match ignition safety from the early 2000s’s provided by Jim, which had to be stopped early to return to the testing task at hand before daylight ran out. The video was “Basics of Electric Firing” by Scott Cartwright was purchased from the American Fireworks News.
Keith, Rushd, Michael, and Leanna then loaded the well-mixed propellant into the prepared alpha rockets and test fired the motors in that order. A video of the firing compiled by Keith can be found on his YouTube channel here, which was collected using RRS GoPro and quadcopter drone cameras.
Following the test firing of the alpha rockets, Keith launched his high power rocket “Flight On!” for the 3rd time, which was successful in both the flight and recovery. The group then cleaned up the site before locking up and leaving. Thanks to all who made this first firing event of 2023 a success, including former RRS President (and current PyroOp) Osavldo Tarditti for assistance with the propellants and current RRS Vice President Frank Muiccio for providing the alpha rockets used for the testing. We look forward to many more successful events at the MTA this year.