January 2024 Meeting

by Joel Cool-Panama, Secretary, RRS.ORG

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

The presentation can be found here.

Executive Summary

  • Constitutional amendment vote started December 22nd, ends February 9th
  • Amendment Procedure amendment passed unanimously
  • ITAR regulation rules controversial for RRS Regenerative Engine Competition
  • Dimitri officially Facilities Manager
  • 60’ Launch Rail pad poured, gimbal system to be delivered in March
    • Rushd project manager as of January 1st
  • Electric Grid pad poured, container delivered
  • Firetruck gator purchased and delivered to the MTA
  • Bottle Yard project proposed
  • Dosa Building project estimates found
  • LNG cylinder not yet worked on
    • Dave approves of workshop, wants a new pallet for the cylinder
  • 2024 Symposium has 5 confirmed exhibitors
  • TAM shutdown December 17th, Society assets locked inside
  • UCLA and USC still haven’t rescheduled, LMU may have conflicts with Polaris
  • LACMA project to get Society $9,000 in site use fees, expected to test in June or July
  • AIAA wants to make an RRS exhibit
    • Beta rocket?
    • Scalding Cat?
  • Dues due January 1st
    • Wolfram donated $2,500
    • George Garboden donated $500


  • Constitutional Amendments
  • RRS Regenerative Engine Competition
  • Facilities Manager
  • 60’ Launch Rail Project
  • Electric Grid Project
  • Firetruck Project
  • Bottle Yard Project
  • Dosa Building Insulation Project
  • LNG Cylinder Restoration Project
  • 2024 Symposium
  • Historical Documents
  • MTA Rocketry Events
  • LACMA GALCIT Project
  • Donations, Dues

The January 2024 meeting started off with a discussion of our constitutional amendments. The vote on the seven amendments sent out started on Friday, December 22nd. Joel later sent out a reminder on Wednesday, January 10th. When asked to give a status report on the vote, Election Chairman Xavier Marshall stated that as of this meeting, only seven members had voted on the amendments, a far cry from the 37 votes cast for the Council election last month.

During this meeting, Joel brought an additional eighth amendment to a vote. The procedure currently specified in the Constitution requires that all amendments be passed by vote at a meeting of the members, following thirty days notice. This additional amendment changes the procedure, to use the electronic voting that the Society initiated last month for the previous seven amendments. When brought to a vote, the amendment passed unanimously, with a handful of abstentions.

The next topic of discussion was the new RRS Regenerative Engine Competition. President-Emeritus Dave Nordling handed down his rules for the competition on Sunday, December 31st. Since then, Rushd Julfiker, Drew Cortopassi, and John Krell have been named as potential candidates for the three judge committee judging the competition, and they were approved by the Council at this meeting. During the discussion, it was brought up that some feedback had been given regarding some rules for the competition, namely those banning foreign students and foreign manufacture of parts, in compliance with ITAR. This is reportedly a problem for most universities, since they almost all have foreign born students, especially on their rocketry teams. Also, many of the universities are using foreign manufacturers, often Chinese, to reduce their expenses. Comments were made that we’re only judging their rockets, and Larry, Frank, and Xavier expressed their desire to drop these rules. Richard, aside form his comments on the ceramic coating discussion, also brought up that ITAR only regulates export, and not import. Logan Herrera also commented that he’s had problems with these same regulations with his own organization. Finally, Derek Honkawa commented that CSV isn’t a Microsoft technology, which one rule implies.

We then brought up that we had passed a by-law defining a Facilities Manager position. The Council elected Dimitri Timohovich to this position on Thursday, November 30th, and we certainly hope that he continues to graciously give his time to help the Society upgrade and manage the MTA. Larry also thanked him for lending us his COBRA system.

Discussion of the 60’ Launch Rail followed. Dimitri’s welder friend inspected the ham radio tower on Saturday, December 9th, which is to be the backbone of the rail, and will return later to reinforce it as necessary. On the same day Dimitri oversaw the pouring of the 12’ x 12’ x 12” reinforced pad for the rail. Rushd became manager of the project on January 1st, and Dimitri had to reschedule the delivery of the gimbal system to March, when the owner will be back in California.

Following that we discussed the Electrical Grid project. Dimitri is currently still storing the generator at his home, and he also oversaw the pouring of the 8’ x 10’ x 4” pad for the container. This came at an additional cost of about $550, but saved us at least $1,500 as compared to pouring this pad separate from the rail pad. The container for the generator was delivered on January 6th, again overseen by Dimitri. Dimitri commented yet again that this generator should produce more than enough power for the MTA, and should be even more powerful that Polaris’ generator.

Next came discussion of the firetruck project. It had been recommended that we insure the gator, which Dimitri assured us is possible to do. He also commented that registering the trailer is only $10 for 5 years, but that we don’t need to register the gator, since it’s considered a turf vehicle. About $30,000 has been spent so far, including some new locks, a lo-jack device ($50/year), and some other items. Dimitri also stated that he’s going to place a vinyl RRS logo on the hood of the gator, which Larry had previously suggested.

A proposed bottle yard project was then discussed. The Council previously defined some specifications, such as extending the concrete north of the Dosa Building, putting up fence with gates on the east and west sites, and locking them with combination locks, with a leanto roof above. However, Frank commented during the meeting that he came up with another potential solution. More information will follow.

We then briefly discussed the Dosa Building Insulation project. Three solutions were discussed, including spraying foam insulation on the inside, estimated to cost as much as $6,000. Another was painting the exterior with ceramic, and the third was installing ventilation fans near the ceiling of the building.

We discussed the LNG cylinder restoration. Zach Lesan took custody of the cylinder on December 9th, and as of yet hasn’t done any hard work on the cylinder. Dave has previously visited Zach’s workshop, and deemed it suitable for the task. Dave also asked for Zach to build a better pallet to hold the cylinder. Zach has however found a manual for the cylinder, and determines that it holds a seal, but has a small leak. He plans to get back to us about it in a couple of weeks, and as of yet hasn’t determined if the vacuum is still any good. Richard commented that the cylinder that FAR got needed a vacuum to be pulled, so it seems likely our cylinder will need so done as well.

Next we discussed the 2024 Symposium. As of now five or six exhibitors have confirmed their attendance, much to Frank’s relief, as last month only two had confirmed. Several others are still waiting for their annual budgets, before deciding if they can participate or not. Frank also stated that any people or organization interested in exhibiting or presenting should email him to make arrangements. As of now, Frank is planning for presenters to have 20 minutes to present, out of a designated 30 minute window. Frank also asked that anyone working in the aerospace industry post our flyer around their lunchrooms and elsewhere, to spread the word. He also intends to use Facebook, LinkedIn, Channel 4, EventBrite, and others to spread the word. Frank intends for us to have three tables at the Symposium, one for the RRS Regenerative Engine Competition, one for the MTA, and another for the RRS itself. We will also be having paper rockets again.

Joel then brought up an update for the Society’s Historical Documents. As of now Joel has no new progress to report, but he did want to comment on the current state of where they’re being stored, the Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum. In short, the museum was shutdown by the police on December 17th. Many Society assets, including a welder, air compressor, fittings, and other Society assets are still in the museum’s rocket lab. It is unknown when we’ll regain access to these assets, but Xavier assured us that it’ll be within a few months.

Next we discussed the MTA schedule. As of now UCLA and USC still haven’t given definite dates for their delayed static fires. LMU is looking to fire in February or March, although this may conflict with Polaris, which looks to launch in March as of now. LACMA and LMU are both scheduled to meet with Dave, Dimitri, and Rushd on January 20th, to tour the facility.

We then discussed the LACMA project. Dave so far has sent them three of five invoices, totalling nearly $42,000, which they paid for on December 21st. The project will run a total of $60,000, for which the Society will get $9,000 in MTA usage fees.

At this point, Frank interrupted the presentation, and brought up his appeal to a Washington D.C. museum, the AIAA. To his surprise, they were glad to collaborate with us, and would like to make an exhibit for the RRS. Richard at this time commented that Time Pickens and a Scott were not too far from his current location, and he’d talk to them about this subject as former RRS members. It was suggested that we could give them a beta rocket, and Bill Inman later commented that he could hand over his Scalding Cat as an exhibit piece.

The final item on the agenda, Dues and Donations, came next. We want to remind everyone that, per the Constitution, dues are due January 1st. Other than that, we want to extend our gratitude to Wolfram for his donation of $2,500, and to George Garboden for his donation of $500.

Following the end of the agenda, Frank brought up that a military installation in San Pedro could make for a good launch site for model rockets.

Then, Joel asked Wilbur, who showed up near the end of the meeting, what he thought of the TAM situation. He then suggested that Dave and Joel would be great to run the museum, and apparently the RRS taking the whole museum is a possibility that’s being considered.

Finally, Xavier wants to remind everyone that the voting on the amendments ends February 9th, 12 AM. Frank also commented that we should expect USC to present at February’s meeting.

The next Society meeting will be on February 9th, 2024, at the Compton/Woodley Airport location. Contact the Secretary for details.

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