by Chris Kobel and Larry Hoffing, Reaction Research Society
On Tuesday, July 19, 2022, 31 interns from various departments within Aerospace’s Engineering Division gathered in the Building D8 cafeteria to construct mid-power rocket kits. The kits were based on the LOC Precision company’s HyperLOC-160 model kits which utilize a 1.6” diameter airframe, plywood fins, and a 29mm motor mount, along with other requested custom modifications. Under the tutelage of Aerospace Corporation, Astrodynamics department retiree, Chris Kobel, along with his son James (both RRS members), VDID’s Isaac Goldner, Jeff Lang and his son Chase, and the Propulsion Science Department’s, Andrew Cortopassi (former RRS secretary and member), the interns successfully constructed the kits over a 2.5 hour period, while discussing various aspects of aerodynamics, propulsion, stability, recovery, and construction techniques. A second session was held the next day for three interns who couldn’t make the first session.
On Thursday, July 21, 2022, approximately 35 interns left Aerospace early in the morning on chartered buses and made the journey to RRS’s MTA facility in the Mojave Desert. They were accompanied by the Aerospace Corporation build team, along with VDID’s Jerry Fuller and Sophia Martinez as well as Carah Fukumoto from University Relations and Recruiting. The RRS treasurer, Larry Hoffing, acted as the Pyrotechnic Operator in charge for the event.
Under calm and clear skies, but with increasing temperatures reaching a high of 106 degrees Fahrenheit, approximately 45 flights were made, mostly successful. A new 5-rail launch pad provided by Aerospace Corporation was paired with the RRS MTA’s Cobra Wireless firing control system to handle the rocket flights. A few of the early flights indicated some slight instability which was addressed by adding ballast to the nose cones of the rockets (using desert sand!) moving the center of gravity (CG) forward to increase the margin of stability. The sight of some rockets were lost as they departed the launch wires in a somewhat sideways direction out over the desert or on a direct trajectory towards a blazing sun.
A demonstration flight of Aerospace’s C-LINK technology was marginally successful as the booster performed flawlessly, but the payload separated incorrectly and ended up powering into the ground.
Following the launch activities, the interns were treated to a terrific launch at the Voyager restaurant at the Mojave airport, welcoming the cool air-conditioning and ice cold drinks. Overall, it was a long and hot day, but a very successful outing with an enthusiastic response from the interns.
Aerospace Corporation held a private launch event at the RRS MTA on Friday, July 23, 2021, for a group of interns soon to return back to school. I was the pyrotechnic operator in charge for this event with Drew Cortopassi as my apprentice. It was an ideal day for launch with low winds all day, but the Mojave summer heat was formidable as ever with temperatures reaching over 100 degrees before noon.
This was the first time the company organized a build-and-fly type of event. RRS members also employed at Aerospace were able to recommend a common and reliable model rocket design with F-sized motors. The participants arrived early and were well organized and prepared. With a diligent safety officer from the company, no one had any significant problems with the heat. After our standard safety briefing, the event began with launching all 18 rockets prepared that day, with only one dud motor which was easily replaced.
Spotting the rockets in flight is challenging even under open blue skies such as we had that fine day at the MTA. All but two rockets were recovered. Some drifted further away from the range and some weren’t able to recover all parts from thier rocket. As many wanted the keepsake, it is a lesson in amateur rocketry that recovery is not guaranteed.
The fun wasn’t limited to just the interns that day. I brought my small Estes Generic E2X and flew my first model rocket with a peppy little C6-7 motor. In doing so, I answered the Yoerg Challenge issued to all RRS members to build and fly a kit rocket as a team broadening effort.
The last project at this event was an experimental rocket built by Jerry Fuller, Jeff Lang and others at Aerospace Corporation. The details of this project were company proprietary but they were able to use a commercial high powered motor and booster rocket for what appeared to be a successful flight from our 1515 rail launcher.
The society was glad to support individual groups and companies with these kind of events. For organizations interested in having similar educational events at the RRS MTA or simply using our site for conducting private projects, contact the RRS president, Osvaldo Tarditti.
For the third year in a row, the RRS held its annual space and rocketry symposium at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena on Saturday, April 27, 2019. We had over 200 people come to share the event with us. This was slightly larger from last year’s 75th anniversary celebration which marked this event as a big success. We’re glad to bring our public audience new things to see at each of these events.
Our membership really delivered on setting up the ballroom for the event in record time. The RRS thanks our volunteer organization for donating their time in the night before and in the long day ahead.
The RRS was glad to welcome many of our returning presenters and exhibitors such as the Rocketry Organization of California (ROC), US Rockets, Aerospace Corporation of El Segundo, Northrop Grumman of Redondo Beach, USAF SMC Heritage Center, UCLA, USC RPL, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, Additive Rocket Corporation (ARC) and Bill Claybaugh’s Space Transportation Institute.
We had many new presenters join us for the first time such as AFRL Edwards AFB, Leo Aerospace and CSU Fullerton. We were also glad to have Spaceport LA, Columbia Memorial Space Center and Outside the Lines Arts Education join us in the exhibitors hall.
The RRS was glad to welcome several presenters from the local aerospace industry. Aerospace Corporation, a federally-funded research and development center (FFRDC), based in El Segundo and supporting mission assurance and research for the United State Air Force was a return visitor to our humble forum. We thank Dr. Christopher Zeineh for bringing another exciting current topic (MarsHop) in Aerospace’s research, this time with NASA and their Mars Exploration program.
Also, the RRS would like to thank Jacky Calvignac of Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems (NGIS) from their Redondo Beach office giving an excellent presentation on spacecraft refueling systems. Northrop Grumman (formerly TRW many years ago) has been a big supporter of Los Angeles community events and we are blessed to have them share their work with our public audience.
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Edwards AFB, CA, was another one of our featured presenters at the RRS symposium. The RRS thanks Nils Sedano and Phuoc Hai Tran for making the long journey from the high desert of Mojave to be with us and share the exciting research done at AFRL Edwards AFB.
Leo Aerospace, a Gardena-based start-up company, was another one of the RRS’s presenters at the symposium. Leo Aerospace founders, Abishek Murali and Dane Rudy, gave our audience an exciting description of their low-cost concept to sending cubesats to low-earth orbit. Their unconventional hybrid approach uses a hot air balloon to lift a small launch vehicle above most of the atmosphere then using a small rocket to reach space. The launcher concept is sometimes referred to as a “rockoon”.
Additive Rocket Corporation (ARC) of San Diego, California, made an excellent presentation of their patented approach to advanced rocket engine design through the amazing possibilities of 3D metal printing.
RRS member, Alastair Martin, was exhibiting his company, Production Tribe LLC, and WatchHollywood.TV. He was filming many of the presentations during the symposium. His latest project, Rocket Talk Radio, is a podcast program discussing current topics in rocketry and space exploration.
The Los Angeles Police Department’s Community Safety Partnership (LAPD CSP) were our honored guests and exhibitors in the main lobby. LAPD CSP helped the RRS in welcoming our visitors and showcasing the fun we’ve all shared. For almost two years, the RRS has conducted educational programs with local schools in Watts, Compton and others across Los Angeles. The “Rockets in the Projects” program continues to go strong with another program planned for this summer, and possibly again in the fall.
We also were glad to welcome Mad Mike Hughes and new member, Waldo Stakes, to the symposium for the first time. Mad Mike brought his latest manned suborbital steam rocket vehicle for display in the north parking lot of the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena.
The Titan rover team of CSU Fullerton had their rover on display with frequent demonstrations of its agility and ability to test technologies for future Mars and Moon exploration.
The RRS was glad to welcome back the Columbia Memorial Space Center of Downey, California. Similar to the RRS, they are an educational non-profit group working with local schools throughout the Los Angeles area.
One of our special guests at the RRS symposium was Deputy Fire Marshal, Ramiro Rodriguez of the California Fire Marshal’s (CALFIRE) office in Hollywood. Ramiro gave a great presentation to our amateur and professional rocketry audience on the subject of state regulations as they apply to our hobby and the licensing of pyrotechnic operators in the state of California. Ramiro has been very helpful with the RRS and is an advocate of rocketry in California. Ramiro was available to discuss licensing and permitting processes with our public audience throughout the day in the exhibition hall.
We had many university teams willing to share their latest success and challenges with their solid and liquid rocket projects.
The UCLA Rocket Project is growing strong thanks to RRS member, Dave Crisalli. UCLA had a lot of new liquid rocket hardware on display at the exhibition.
The United States Air Force was one of featured guests at the exhibition. Lt. Col. Porter of Los Angeles AFB was giving demonstrations all day to our public audience.
Next to Lt. Col. Porter was Karen Austin of the USAF Space and Missile Center’s (SMC) Heritage Center dedicated to showcasing the long history of the US Air Force and our national defense in space. Her presentation at the symposium on the US Air Force in Space was very well received. The RRS is very grateful to the USAF SMC at LA AFB for supporting our event.
The events at the 2019 RRS symposium were not limited to the exhibition hall, ballroom and lobby. We had several outdoor demonstrations of a pneumatic paper rocket launcher. This is always a big hit. The popularity was so great that the RRS had to build one of our own!
I have several more photos from other people who were kind enough to document the event. I would like to thank all who came to the event and hope we’ll see everyone back at our next symposium. The RRS was glad to welcome new members and returning members throughout the day. Some of our members traveled far to be with us for this special annual event. We were also glad to receive a few membership applications at the event. The RRS is glad to welcome new members anytime.
The RRS membership voted last year that we would not hold our symposium in 2020. We will be focusing on our current projects and saving our resources for an even larger symposium event in 2021. The RRS is glad to have had three solid years of the symposium and great support from our participants.
Our next monthly meeting of the RRS will be May 10th at 7:30pm, following our standard 2nd Friday convention. We meet at the same place, the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena. Please stop by if you’re interested in learning more. We’ll be discussing the symposium and the many projects we have in store for this summer.