The Reaction Research Society owns and operates the Mojave Test Area (MTA), a 40-acre test site located two and one half hours north of Los Angeles. This private facility, equipped with several static test stands, launch towers, two steel reinforced concrete block houses, observation bunkers, and a rocket assembly building, is one of the most fully developed, privately owned sites in the country for experimental rocket launches. The unique location of the MTA under the controlled air space of Edwards Air Force Base and with miles of adjoining vacant desert allows the RRS to conduct extensive testing that is not possible in many areas of the country.
Visits to or use of the RRS MTA is by invitation only.
Interested parties should contact the RRS well beforehand by coming to our monthly meetings on the 2nd Friday of each month. Meeting members of the society at our monthly meetings is an excellent way to make a good first impression. The MTA is available for responsible groups and individuals upon review and approval of the RRS. All requests must be made first to our president.
At this time, we do not hold regular recurring events, but we do have great flexibility if there is sufficient interest in conducting an event on a particular day. As the society members supporting these events are unpaid volunteers, we prefer to conduct our events on weekends and with ample advance notice weeks in advance.
All persons visiting or attending the RRS MTA must sign and submit an indemnification waiver to the RRS president and have it accepted in advance before arriving. Forms are available for download on this website. Due to the dangerous nature of the work done at the RRS MTA, society does not permit last minute arrivals and visitors. ALL PERSONS regardless of age or level of involvement must have signed and submitted an indemnification waiver with the society president in advance. Please discuss, coordinate and plan your trip to the RRS MTA a minimum of 2 weeks (14 calendar days) in advance. The society reserves the right to refuse entry for any or no reason.
The RRS has a standard fee policy in effect which applies to groups and non-members. We charge a flat daily fee for university groups and a higher flat daily fee for private groups and companies. The RRS has a standing policy with our grade school and high school events which we charge only our expenses. Any deviation from the RRS standard fee policy must be approved by a majority vote of the executive council in advance of the event.
Members are welcome to conduct their own personal projects at the MTA without fee, but they must be active members of the society having paid their dues in that calendar year. Dues must be paid to the treasurer. All parties involved in said personal project must also be active members of the society. Personal projects must be entirely self-funded. All new member projects must also include a standard record form and full description sufficient for the pyrotechnic operator in charge. The same 14 day minimum notice also applies.
It is extremely important to allow sufficient time for the president and executive council to fully review all events and determine the appropriate pyrotechnic operator license required to be present and conduct the event. We require a minimum of two weeks (14 calendar days) to consider any request to use the MTA. All requests must be accompanied by a sufficiently detailed description of all test articles, tests and operations and include a standard record form also available on this website. Requestors must submit a full and detailed explanation of their project and operations to allow the pyrotechnic operator to approve. Many events, by state law, require a pyrotechnic operator with sufficient license to oversee them. The RRS fully complies with all federal, state and local jurisdictional authorities. The president shall appoint the pyrotechnic operator in charge who will be the single point of authority for all projects that day and has final authority on what is and is not permitted. Other licensed pyrotechnic operators may be in attendance but only the pyrotechnic operator in charge has the sole authority for any and all operations at the MTA. Their decisions are final.
The latitude/longitude coordinates of the site are:
35 degrees, 21 minutes, 2 seconds North by 117 degrees, 48 minutes, 30 seconds West.
Search Google Earth for “Mojave Test Area” and you will find it. You will see our large metal sign for the RRS MTA just behind the large iron gate.
We are 12 miles east of Cantil, California, just east of Koehn Dry Lake and north of California City. Only approach the MTA from the west. DO NOT approach the MTA from the north. Map applications sometimes wrongly give this route. The northern road is impassable to most vehicles. You will get stuck! Start from Jawbone or Cantil and you will be fine.
2: Underground Blockhouse
3: Vertical Test Stand and I Beam static test stand
4: High Thrust Vertical Test Stand
5: Launch Pads
6: Fueling and Assembly Area
7: Assembly and Process Building
8: Observation Bunker
9: MTA Entry Sign
10: High Thrust Horizontal Test Stand
11: Storage Sheds
Rocket propulsion experimentation involves many potential hazards. Personnel attending Reaction Research Society rocket activities will be in the proximity of hazardous chemicals, pyrotechnic devices, electrical equipment, tools, and machinery. The building and testing of such experimental rocket motors always presents some risk, however small, of fire, explosion, thermal or chemical burns, toxic poisoning, fragment impact, or electrical shock, just to name a few. The danger associated with these activities is such that testing must be conducted at a remote location. This limits the access to the type of emergency medical assistance that would normally be available within city limits. In addition, the time required for such assistance to arrive on scene might be considerably longer than normal, or an injured person might need to be transported to the nearest medical facility directly by others on scene. Participants must also be aware that the actions of others attending these firings might result in an emergency situation causing injury to those in the immediate area. While the Reaction Research Society has never had an accident resulting in injury to any participant in nearly 80 years of amateur rocket operations, participants attending RRS activities must be aware that the risk of injury or death does exist when engaged in rocket fabrication and test operations.
The following document is the Indemnification agreement that needs to be agreed to and signed by all individuals present at the MTA in advance of their arrival. It is required by all. Last minute visitors will be turned away.
Standard Record Forms:
For many years, members of the RRS have been building and testing a myriad of propulsion devices from the extremely complicated to the very simple. Many of these projects are remarkable in what has been successfully accomplished with very basic tools and designs. Equally as important as undertaking these projects is documenting them for the benefit of other members of the society. The members of the RRS have been doing impressive and sophisticated work for many years and should receive notoriety both within and external to the RRS. This is an effort to capture information for current and future members, and help add to the prestige of the Society as a whole. These forms are for solid propellant as well as liquid and hybrid systems and can be used for either static or flight testing.
Anyone intending to test any type of system will need to fill out and submit a copy of this form to get your vehicle on the docket. A copy filled out with all required pre-firing data should be submitted to the pyrotechnic operator in charge who is scheduled to conduct the event and a second copy should be sent to the director of research. On the day of the firing, the Pyro-Op’s copy can be completed and then filed with the director of research. The submission of this information can be very helpful in several ways.
First, it helps to document RRS activities which helps discover trends and focus our future work.
Secondly, it is a great aid to the Pyro-Op in charge to know what type of device is to be tested and how the testing should be scheduled to maximize efficiency at the MTA. It will also be a great source of the information that the Pyro-Op needs to submit to the local Fire Marshal as part of the permit process and as a courtesy to the Kern County and Randsburg fire authorities.
Thirdly, flight testing at the MTA requires a 45 day in advance notification to the FAA. This information will help the permit process here as well.
There is one other major use planned for the information gathered in this form. It will help the editor of the RRS website and those posting the firing report by providing meaningful and interesting information about current projects. Having this published information is helpful to the society membership in keeping up with recent events and can give some well deserved notoriety to the people conducting projects. Everyone who is planning to fire any type of system needs to keep a copy of these forms handy. Your cooperation with the standard record forms is an essential part of safe operation at the MTA and thus is a requirement.