MTA Work Event, 2022-08-04

By Dave Nordling, President, Reaction Research Society


The society had a small work event at the Mojave Test Area on August 4th, 2022. The purpose was limited to starting the build of a new launch pad foundation for Bill Claybaugh’s upcoming large solid motor powered vehciles. The summer heat and tough soil limited progress but it was useful to gauge what the next steps should be. Launch is scheduled for mid-October.

Joe Dominguez (right) and Bill Claybaugh (left) examine the levelness of the form work.

Many thanks to Rushd Julfiker and Joe Dominguez for volunteering their support to Bill on that day. A new and larger launch pad is designed to support Bill’s larger adjustable launch rail system which will be useful to the larger sizes of future rocket projects at the RRS. New developments will be reported in the near future.


MTA Work Events, July 2022

by Dave Nordling, President, Reaction Research Society


The society has been planning and working on a restroom facility for many months. This creature comfort has been the most requested improvement and this month it has come closer to being a reality at our humble site.

The society held two weekend work parties with the primary purpose of placing the restroom container at the concrete pads poured a few months earlier. The society prides itself on launch events but there are times when our volunteers must step up and do the mundane and arduous tasks of maintenance even on the hottest months of the year. We are grateful to members, Dimitri Timohovich, Osvaldo Tarditti, Larry Hoffing, Keith Yoerg, Bill Inman and new members Rushd Julfiker and Joe Dominguez for spending their day with us in the 108-112 degree heat of summer over the weekends of July 9-10 and July 16. While not all tasks were accomplished, we did achieve a great many things.

Drone footage of the truck bringing the container to the MTA.
Dimitri’s camper for the intrepid few spending the night on that hot first weekend in July.
New shelving for our storage container.
Taking a break in the Dosa Building. Ice is your saviour.
The added floor deck, now our spanning roof needed some new plywood panels to preserve the underlying timbers.
Water tanks ready for deployment.
Joe Dominguez and Dimitri Timohovich secure the pair of empty water tanks to the newly paneled roof
Our new drone camera got its first test flight on the first weekend work party.
Sunset on the last day of that work campaign.

MTA Blockhouse Repair Nov 6-7, 2021

by Dimitri Timohovich, RRS.ORG


Saturday started with bringing the loader over from FAR.

Loader and blockhouse with the old roof
Blockhouse with old roof timbers removed

Bill and Jon arrived as the demo was finishing up and we quickly jumped into removing the nuts that held the old 2x6s on top of the cinder block walls. 

It was a pleasant surprise to see that all the cells were filled with concrete.  Bill and Jon cleaned the bolts while I cut the new 2x6s and drilled new holes for the bolts to go through.

Bolts in the blockhouse walls

We attached the new 2x6s and added an additional one to the front of the blockhouse to give the roof a slope to shed rain water.  By the time this was done, it was lunch time.

Bill Inman looking at his favorite rocket power source
Another shot of the 2×6 beams installed on the blockhouse

After lunch the 1 1/8” Tongue and Groove plywood was installed.  I brought the loader over from FAR and Jon was able to send up pieces in the bucket.  The wind started to pick up and we had to fight a little to get the plywood in.  After lining it up and tapping the sheets together I screwed them down to the 2x6s.

Plywood installed on the blockhouse roof

We then used the loader to lift up a couple of the timbers into place and were able to do a test fit.  By now it was getting late and we decided to call it a day.

The first railroad timbers in place for a test fit
Discussions with our neighbors near the end of daylight
Getting the alignment right for the timbers & adding screws
Blockhouse state at the end of the first day of work

Sunday morning was dedicated to getting all the timbers up onto the roof and screwing them to the plywood and also to each other.

Working on installing the rest of the timbers
Jon Wells using the loader to lift timbers on top of the blockhouse as Dimitri moves them into place
View of the blockhouse from the vertical test stand with all the timbers installed

Keith Yoerg was able to come out for the day.  He wanted to do a couple of tests on the parachute deployment charges for his upcoming launch.

Still shot from a video of Keith’s drogue parachute test

After two successful tests (drogue and main parachutes), he jumped in and helped get lumber up to the roof, cleaning the site, and helping install the trim work.  He also received a crash course in how to drive a piece of heavy machinery and drove the loader for the first time.

Keith in the loader after learning how to operate it

After the timbers were all placed and secured, the top sheeting of 11/32” plywood was screwed down to them.  Some trim work was applied to cover up the gap created by having a sloped roof.

Picture from Saturday before timbers were installed showing the roof slope
Trim installed under the sloped roof

We tried to lay down the roofing paper, but the winds picked up and we had one of the cut sheets fly off the roof twice so we decided to leave that for next time

With a little sunlight left in the day, the USC trench was filled in before the loader was taken back to the FAR site.

Dimitri filling in the “USC Trench”
Dramatic lighting as Dimitri continues to fill in the USC Trench