May 2022 virtual meeting

by Keith Yoerg (RRS Secretary)


The latest meeting of the Reaction Research Society was held last Friday, May 13th 2022 and had seventeen attendees.

Screenshot of discussion during the monthly meeting

UPCOMING MTA EVENTS

The meeting began with a discussion of the launch event upcoming at the MTA. Events planned for Saturday, May 21st include:

  • 30 students from a LAPD class launching Baby Bertha model rockets 2 times each
  • Launch of Wolfram Blume’s Gas Guzzler
  • Cryogenic testing of Compton Comet tanks

Dimitri has started work on a new set of launch pads to accommodate up to 18 model rockets (which is the number of separate igniters each Cobra firing module can accommodate). The high number of launches we expect to complete this weekend will give us a chance to train members who might be interested in learning how to use the relatively new Cobra Firing System.

Progress on the launch pads Dimitri is building

Wolfram is planning to conduct another launch of his rocket Gas Guzzler, hopefully fixing issues with the parachute system from the last launch. Several members of the Compton Comet team plan to conduct cryogenic shock testing of hardware for their liquid rocket project. Compton Comet team members agreed to send a list of attendees to the RRS President & Treasurer to help confirm that all the members have current membership and waivers on file.

REVIEW OF RECENT MTA EVENTS

We then discussed the recent MTA event where the USCRPL launched a rocket called “Jawbone.” Frank showed a YouTube video that the group made after the launch.

RECAP OF RECENT EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEETINGS

The RRS Executive Council (EC) met in each of the 4 weeks leading up to the May monthly meeting, and the council provided a brief synopsis of the topics and decisions made in those meetings to the membership. Specifically, one EC meeting included RRS members Richard Dierking and Kent Schwitkis and was focused on emergency preparedness at the MTA, including what infrastructure improvements might be useful from a safety standpoint. Another meeting was attended by Xavier Marshall and focused on modernizing and digitizing the administrative processes of the RRS. The other 2 meetings focused primarily on the new RRS bathroom, and decisions were reached on selecting a contractor as well as construction material (concrete) for the septic tank. The council hopes the septic system will be installed by the end of June, with the bathroom container installed not long thereafter.

Septic Tanks — Flemington Precast & Supply
Example of a concrete septic tank

DISCUSSION OF MONTHLY MEETING LAYOUT

After several monthly meetings with lengthy presentations, the EC decided to open a discussion with current members on the layout for monthly meetings. The general consensus was that presentations are an appreciated and valued part of the meetings, but that a hard time-limit should be enforced to limit meetings running too late into the night. Many members agreed that 20 minutes is a reasonable limit, and that Q&A periods should be limited as well to avoid lengthy questions that become their own monologues. Most members in attendance agreed that starting the meetings with presentations would be preferable to leaving presentations until the end of each meeting.

PROMOTION OF THE RRS & OTHER ITEMS

Our Vice President Frank Muiccio was asked to give a radio interview as part of a segment on local heroes. The interview will be on AirTalk with Larry Mantle on the local NPR radio station 89.3 KPCC Thursday, May 19th at 11:45 am and can be heard on the radio or streaming on their website. Frank also updated the society on the possibility of an update to the documentary about the RRS youth outreach programs called Rockets in the Projects.

This opened a discussion about the possibility of expanding the classes to potentially include entries in competitions like the TARC challenge. Jerry Fuller mentioned that his local high school in Palos Verdes has had many groups successfully compete in this challenge, and expressed interest in helping connect the RRS with the instructors of that group.

Although Jim Gross was unable to attend the meeting, he sent along information that he wanted the membership to be aware of:

Wanted to let the Society members know there is a 5-day “Cryogenic Engineering & Safety Course” scheduled for 1-5 August 2022 at the Colorado School of Mines.  The price is $3,250 per student.  This MIGHT be useful for anyone going for a Rockets Class 1 Pyro. Op. License.  I’ve never taken it, so I am not sure.  More info is available from 1 (305) 972-8847 or
www.cryocourses.com or via email at  info@cryocourses.com

NEXT MONTHLY MEETING

The next RRS monthly meeting will be held virtually on Friday, June 10th at 7:30 pm pacific time. Current members will receive an invite via e-mail the week of the meeting. Non-members (or members who have not received recent invites) can request an invitation by sending an email to:

secretary@rrs.org

Please check your spam folders and add secretary@rrs.org to your email whitelist to make sure you are receiving the meeting invitation.

April 2022 virtual meeting

by Keith Yoerg (RRS Secretary)


The latest meeting of the Reaction Research Society was held Friday, April 8th 2022 and had twenty-two attendees, including several student presenters from the UCSD Colossus project.

Screenshot of discussion during the monthly meeting

PRESENTATION FROM UCSD COLOSSUS TEAM

The meeting began with a presentation from the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Students for the Exploration & Development of Space (SEDS) team, led by the Colossus Project Manager Shannon Lin. Colossus is a trailer-mounted thrust stand developed by UCSD students with funding from a NASA grant, intended to accommodate a wide range of liquid bi-propellant rocket engines (up to 3,000 lbf).

Title slide from the UCSD presentation

The UCSD team hopes to market use time on Colossus to student, amateur, and professional groups that are building liquid rockets and would like to collect data without designing and building their own thrust stand. Colossus can collect concurrent data from 13 pressure transducers, 8 thermocouples, and 5 load cells at 1,000 Hz sample rate. They also expect to add a 20,000 fps high-speed camera as well as a mass-spectrometry camera to their data collection options.

The presentation prompted many questions from RRS members, and there was a lengthy description of the prior failure, refurbishment, and upgrades made to their mobile and modular test stand. The team expects to conduct coldflow testing in the coming months, and hope to use the MTA to test fire a CalTech rocket and a UCSD project sometime in the coming summer.

REVIEW OF RECENT MTA EVENTS

Following the UCSD presentation, membership discussed the recent events at the MTA since the March meeting. On March 12, Dimitri delivered and placed the new 40-foot storage container, Bill Inman performed his second and final burst test of a fired vessel for steam rocketry, and members conducted low and high-power launches. A firing report from Dave Nordling can be found here.

On April 2nd, LAPD CSP sponsored an event with STRIVE featuring Baby Bertha launches, a high-power launch, and one zinc-sulphur alpha. Maintenance of the MTA site was also performed that day by USC RPL and RRS president, Dave Nordling. A firing report from Dave can be found here.

The RRS executive council for 2022: from left to right, Larry Hoffing (treasurer), Frank Miuccio (vice president), Dave Nordling (president), Keith Yoerg (secretary)

UPCOMING MTA EVENTS

April 14th-15th the UCLA Rocket Project plans to use the Dosa Building at the MTA in preparation for a launch from our neighbor FAR on 4/16/2022. We are requiring that the group complete some site maintenance by way of brush clearance to help reduce the risk of fire at the MTA in exchange for use of the Dosa Building.

On April 23rd, USC RPL intends to static fire their Earthshaker 4 solid rocket, as well as launch a 6-inch rocket called Jawbone from the MTA. The group has been working with Jim Gross, who will be the pyro-op in charge that day. USC has also been conducting repairs on the concrete pad below the vertical test stand, including anchor bolt removal, concrete patching, and installing a new, larger female anchor bolt pattern via a template for accurate placement of future projects from any team.

The University of Michigan (MASA) is planning to conduct testing at the MTA from May 6th – 13th. Mutliple pyro-ops from the RRS will be required to support the campaign that the students hope to complete. The TRR is 4/21/2022, pyro-ops who are available should reach out to the RRS President to request the meeting details at: president@rrs.org Cryogenic deliveries to the MTA through Linde in Lancaster have been resolved, which was an important step considering the difficulties from the last time MASA tested at the MTA.

Frank and Larry have been teaching another rocketry class, this time with the YMCA. This class also uses Big Bertha launches and will likely include an alpha launch as well. This launch is planned for May 21st.

In early June, UCLA Senior Capstone project will use the MTA to launch rockets they have been building.

OTHER ITEMS

  • New and improved website coming soon!
  • Two new members of the society joined the Compton Comet team, Drake Perason and Alexis Monitel
  • Reminder for all pyro-op’s to renew their licenses with CALFIRE using new online system, deadline 6/30/22
  • Quarterly Amazon Smile disbursement

SAFETY AND RISK MITIGATION

Richard Dierking requested info on eye-wash station or similar on-site safety shower. Richard is researching and will present to the executive council in a few weeks.

Example of a portable eyewash station from an RRS member on the meeting

Richard Garcia did research on flame stacks, and whether the RRS should require their use when methane is used at the MTA. He is working on building reference to know what safe distances should be based on existing plume models. As the RRS Director of Research, Richard may draft a paper to add this information to the RRS member library. Other members or student groups with papers they would like considered for addition to the library can contact Richard at:

research@rrs.org

NEXT MONTHLY MEETING

The next RRS monthly meeting will be held virtually on Friday, May 13th at 7:30 pm pacific time. Current members will receive an invite via e-mail the week of the meeting. Non-members (or members who have not received recent invites) can request an invitation by sending an email to:

secretary@rrs.org

Please check your spam folders and add secretary@rrs.org to your email whitelist to make sure you are receiving the meeting invitation.

March 2022 virtual meeting

by Keith Yoerg, Secretary, Reaction Research Society


The society held its monthly meeting for March on Friday, the 11th, at 7:30pm by teleconference.

The following items were on the agenda.

  • Chris Lancaster’s presentation on rocket bikes and drag racing history
  • Review of recent MTA events, USC RPL static fire
  • Upcoming events at the MTA
    • Delivery of new 40-foot storage container by Dimitri Timohovich
    • Site maintenance and upgrades
    • Wolframe Blume’s next flight of the Gas Guzzler
    • Bill Inman’s testing for steam rocketry
    • Low power launches
  • Upcoming university event requests and inquiries
    • USC RPL static fire and flight
    • University of Michigan, MASA in May 2022
    • UC Irvine and Cal Poly Pomona
    • UCLA
  • Student classes and launches
    • LAPD CSP – STRIVE event, 4/2/2022
    • YMCA classes, launch on 5/1/2022(?)
  • RRS post office box, renewal and other options

We spent the majority of our time on the subject of early rocketry in drag racing and rocket bikes. Chris Lancaster of Pennsylvania spent an extraordinary amount of time researching this subject and the specific rocket bike built by Henk Vink now on exhibit in Germany. A stand-alone article on this topic may be forthcoming.

Henk Vink, racing a rocket-powered motorcycle in Europe

The MTA firing report from 3/12/2022 covers the events from that day following the meeting. The anticipated events were discussed at the meeting.

The RRS will continue to keep our post office box in Los Angeles (Inglewood) 90009 for another year. The annual cost has been rising but it remains well used for correspondence.

Reaction Research Society; P.O. Box 90933; Los Angeles, CA, 90009

Our director of research, Richard Garcia, agreed to investigate LNG safety guidelines with regard to flaring of this volatile fuel in amateur rocketry applications. He will submit his findings to the council for internal peer review. The RRS will be creating a policy on this issue as some amateur liquid rocket projects intend to use natural gas (largely methane).

example of an industrial-scale flare stack

Further updates to this meeting report are forthcoming.

Next meeting will be April 8th. For those interested in attending, contact the RRS secretary.