Compton Comet Update, July 2023

by Joel Cool-Panama, Compton Comet Engineer, RRS Secretary

Compton Comet team, including Tre, Joel, and Marx, as well as mentor and RRS President Dave Nordling

The Compton Comet has made a lot of progress in the past few weeks. In that time we’ve managed to have new pipes fabricated for the LOX and ethanol systems, allowing us to finally complete them. We had previously tried to bend tubing by ourselves, since our budget is quite limited. However, it proved to be practically impossible to bend larger tubing without kinking, especially 1″ diameter tubes, with the simple pipe bending tools at our disposal. In the end, these problems were overcome by Waldo Stakes, one of our generous mentors, having the aluminum pipes bent at his own expense. We know from previous quotes for tube bending that this can in fact run into the thousands of dollars, so we are surely indebted to him and his generosity.

We’ve also started, and finished, LOX washing the plumbing, especially the pipes leading to and from the LOX tank. LOX is a very strong oxidizer, and the presence of any remotely flammable material in the plumbing system could spell disaster. For this reason LOX washing is vitally important, and the knowledge of how to properly do it is practically required in rocketry.

With the plumbing all cleaned and installed, we will begin doing low pressure tests of the whole system. This should reveal the majority of any leaks that may be present. Naturally we will need to retest and tighten the whole system once we get it out to the RRS MTA for the hot fire test, but doing a low pressure test now will practically ensure that there are no irreparable problems with the system when we get out there, from where we would likely be incapable of fixing those problems with what tools and supplies we can reasonably bring with us.

MTA Launch Event, 2023-07-21

by Dave Nordling, President, RRS.ORG

The RRS held a launch event at our Mojave Test Area on July 21, 2023. Osvaldo Tarditti was the pyro-op in charge. Jim Gross also supported the event.

Aerospace Corporation was the primary client that day as they held their annual intern launch event with 50 model rocket flights with F-sized motors that day. RRS member, Jerry Fuller oversaw the event. The society is glad to host corporate and private launch events and we’re glad to see Aerospace Corporation back again.

The RRS was glad to welcome new members Patrick Finley, Brahm Soltes and Logan Herrera all the way from northern California to load and fly their first micrograin alphas. The classic zinc-sulfur powdered propellant is rarely used today but it remains a practiced tradition at the RRS. All three were launched and two were recovered.

The society is grateful to our volunteer staff for making the event possible. We’re also grateful to Aerospace Corporation and our guests for joining us at the Mojave Test Area.

July 2023 Meeting

by Joel Cool-Panama, Secretary, RRS.ORG

The Reaction Research Society held its monthly meeting at the Compton/Woodley Airport location on July 14, 7:30 PM PST.

  • New website progress, launch date
    • Importing old website data
  • MTA improvements
    • Pads for office and bunk containers to be poured
    • Firehouse and handicap ramps to be poured
    • Work on containers authorized
  • New administrative members inducted on 6/13, Ivan DeDios, Rushd Julfiker, Joe Dominguez, Michael Rouleau, Mohammed Daya, Tre Willingham, Manuel Marquez
  • Pyro-op class 3 study guide
  • 7/21 Aerospace launch event
  • Potential 8/12 launch event

Past Events

The ongoing projects at the MTA was also discussed. The Society received its largest single donation ever this year, to fund a handful of projects. Among the money was some allocated specifically for a 60ft launch rail. Some money was also allocated for prefabricated office and crew cabin containers. It was decided that these would be placed on the east of the property, near the fence. As of now a schematic has been received for the 20ft office container.

In regards to the prefabbed containers, National Concrete was contacted, and asked to give a quote for pouring pads for said containers, as well as ramps for the firehouse and restroom. Unfortunately, the quote received was unexpectedly high for the whole project. For this reason it was decided that a quote should be obtained for the same, minus the restroom ramp.

The Society is pleased to announce that new members have ben inducted to administrative level membership. The Executive Council met the week after the June monthly meeting, and granted voting rights to several members of the society. Some who were considered to be good candidates, but who had not yet been members for a year, had the discussion of their promotion pegged for a later Executive Council meeting to take place in October.

Society President Dave Nordling made a presentation to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) recently. He presented to the society a slightly updated version of his slideshow, wherein he mentioned, among other things, that LACMA’s GALCIT engine replica project will be using electrical valves, despite the fact that these are historically accurate to the original project. It was brought up that George James might be asked about some of the details of the original GALCIT engine, seeing as how it’s likely no longer in existence.

Current Events

This month’s meeting started with a discussion of the new website project. Secretary Joel Cool reported that he found that the old website is currently running an up-to-date version of wordpress, and that there were no errors in exporting the website’s data. He currently plans to test importing the data into the new website. Joel is also currently working on a plugin to enable tracking membership data through the website. The Executive Council also requested a new membership web application.

It was also mentioned that the old website has historically had problems with spam. It was suggested that the new website could be made invite-only, preserving access for members and locking out anyone else.

The Society is likewise pleased to have Vice-President Frank Miuccio receive his class 3 pyro-op license. He can now pyro-op his own events at the MTA, and is certainly likely to take advantage of this new capacity. Secretary Joel Cool also announced that he is studying for his own class 3 license, and that he intends to make his personal study guide available to Society membership, in hopes of increasing accessibility to license and the MTA.

During the meeting it was mentioned that a lot of college teams, some of which had used the RRS MTA in the past, have recently been using FAR instead. It was suggested that the Society should increase its outreach efforts, including by increasing the Society’s social media presence, such as through making a LinkedIn page.

The Compton Comet project has made quite a bit of progress in the past month. They’ve recently had new pipes fabricated to solve some plumbing issues. As a result, the team has started to conduct low pressure tests at their lab, located at the Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum. They’re pleased to report that their solenoids open with as little as 15 psi in the
fuel tanks, meaning that little energy will be left in reserve by the end of the flight. It was also mentioned that Jerry Fuller was to help the team make a presentation to give, in order to receive more funding, but that nothing has materialized as of yet.

Future Business

The July 21st intern event at the MTA, hosted for the Aerospace Corporation, is still on. Former Society President Oswaldo is set to pyro-op the event. Society member Jim Gross also may attend the launch event. Logan Herrera is also set to launch a micrograin rocket. President Dave may likewise be in attendance, his business schedule allowing.

The Society may also hold another event this month, on either July 29th or August 5th, for our new member Andrew Fuller. He’s due to return home to Ohio soon, so he’d like to get this out of the way while he’s still in California. August 5th being the likely date.

The RRS is also set to attend the August 12th event being held at the Columbia Memorial center in Downey. Frank and Joel are set to attend, with Frank having not yet decided if he will do either straw or bottle rocket demonstrations. Frank has asked for more help with the event.

The next symposium date has also been set in stone. As of now, the RRS Symposium 2024 is set to occur on April 13th. We will likely be using Mary Star High School again, and they have already scheduled us for such.

The next society meeting will be on August 11, 2023, at the Compton/Woodley Airport location. Contact the secretary for details.