The Reaction Research Society held a launch event at our Mojave Test Area on June 10, 2023. We had two groups holding separate events that day.
Operation Progress and the Los Angeles Police Department’s Community Safety Partnership held an event with student built “Big Bertha” rockets. Our society treasurer, Larry Hoffing, was the pyro-op in charge. Our vice president, Frank Miuccio, was supporting the event in uniform.
Everything went well as we had some clouds, low winds and mild temperatures for June. A group photo under the MTA arch was a nice finish to a great event. We thank Operation Progress and LAPD and the volunteers who helped make the event a success.
The RRS MTA’s latest improvement, our containerized restroom got its first live test and performed well. Final fixes to be completed this year.
The second event we had at the MTA a little further north was the UCLA Capstone project. Every year before graduation, some UCLA students build custom model rockets with different objectives. They used F and G motors so they still qualify as model rockets. RRS secretary, Joel Cool-Panama, and myself supervised the event with Professors Mitchell Spearrin and Bret Lopez.
All teams were able to launch, sometimes multiple times. UCLA teams recorded their results as part of the senior class. UCLA was well organized and is very easy to work with. We hope to see them again next year at the MTA.
While Joel and I observed UCLA’s operations, we took some time with a shovel and rake to remove the large amount of brush that has grown around the MTA launch and work areas. This year’s abundance of rain was a God-send to many throughout the drought-racked state od California. To the society, it served as a bold reminder that brush clearance is and will be a frequent need to safely continue our operations.
The large vertical test stand with its concrete flame trench has been idle for several years. The Compton Comet team hopes to conduct a static fire test some day soon. After some surveying of the area’s worst spots for brush, Joel decided to clear out the flame trench. I was getting winded just keeping up with loading and carrying away the removed piles. Joel is a good worker and has made his mark this year at the society and serving as an officer on the council.
The last photo is of the 2023 RRS executive council, all of whom attended and participated at this June 10th event.
Our next event will be in July. This could be Saturday, July 22nd, if I get more confirmation from those wanting to launch. All launch and test requests must be made to the RRS president.
The Reaction Research Society held another launch event at the Mojave Test Area (MTA) on February 20, 2021. The weather was not cooperative for much of this day with wind gusts well beyond acceptable limits for launch (> 25 MPH). Our neighbor, Dave Crisalli and his Polaris Propulsion team, were using the Dosa Building as he had construction activities planned but were cancelled for that day. The RRS and Polaris Propulsion were glad to share the Dosa Building as we both made good use of the day.
The three planned objectives (weather permitting) for this MTA launch event were:
Build a new pit toilet restroom just north of the original site.
Conduct Solar Cat operations at the MTA
Conduct model rocket launches from Keith Yoerg’s new wire launcher array
THE ALL-SOLAR POWERED SOLAR CAT PROJECT
Bill Inman and his colleague, John Wells, made the long journey to the MTA from Nevada. Bill had made further improvements to the launching system and solar collector powering the Solar Cat steam rocket. He was able to and a remote tracking motor and drive system to further automate his solar concentrator, but several minor problems in setup prevented a launch that day.
Bill is striving to use an entirely solar powered system including a photovoltaic power system for his auxiliary functions. Because of the east to west passage of the sun through the sky, the steam rocket must be launched in a northerly direction. This is possible if done from the northern or western edges of our launch site.
Although the winds were excessive throughout most of the day, Bill could still conduct some assembly testing and even conduct steam rocket heating operations while keeping the rocket secure on the ground. Launch would only be attempted if the winds lowered in that time. Sadly, much of the day passed in correcting minor problems and system tests. The system proved ready but insufficient sunlight remained that day and launch would have to be conducted from the MTA at the next opportunity.
BUILDINGA NEW PIT TOILET AT THE MTA
The society has been examining many improvements to our Mojave Test Area which has stood for over 65 years. The site has been improved over the many years but time has taken its toll and renovations are needed.
The top priority selected by our membership and visitors was the restroom facilities. Our short term plan was to build a second pit toilet while we work on plans for a more luxurious option in the longer term. This effort is viewed as a stopgap solution which will serve our society for at least a few years. Dmitri Timohovich and Wilbur Owens contributed greatly to this effort. With the many people we had at the site, we were able to start and complete the project with time to spare that day.
The pit toilet project was a success thanks to both our members providing their physical and material labor and the careful planning and coordination that took place starting in this new year. This improvement project will be only one of several to come. We hope to make our remote testing site both more functional but also a bit more comfortable to all who visit us after many hours drive from the city.
LAUNCHING ROCKETS FROM A NEW MULTI-WIRE RAIL STRUCTURE
With the last hours of the day upon us, the winds had subsided to a more reasonable speed. Keith Yoerg had a few model rockets prepared for launch with commercial motors. He had also built a multi-wire launcher which is a convenient way to display and launch several small vehicles successively.
Second thing introduced at this MTA launch event was a four channel launch box built by Dmitri Timohovich. With a clean wood finish and a rugged latched case, this box proved its function well with the launch of three model rockets that day.
After some glitches with the electric matches, Keith was able to launch and recover the Baby Bertha (A8-3) and the Big Bertha (A8-3) rockets. We got excellent footage of these classic model rocket types. The last of the three launches was the slightly larger Star Orbiter (E16-6) which left the rails cleanly and the recovery system deployed without issue. Although the winds had subsided sufficiently at ground level, the higher level winds carried the Star Orbiter for a long horizontal trek west well beyond the property line, After some searching, the Star Orbiter was lost to the desert hoping to be recovered
The team cleaned up the area and put away the gear at sunset. We talked about setting the next launch date in March 2021. We hope to have a new date set soon, likely after March 12th.