MTA work event, 2022-10-20

by Dave Nordling, President, RRS.ORG


The Reaction Research Society has built a new and larger pad to the west of our current launch pads at the Mojave Test Area (MTA). This has been due to the generous donation of lifetime member, Bill Claybaugh, both of his time and resources. This 12-foot square pad is angled to the southwest and is intended for larger launch vehicles soon to be launched from the MTA. This work started a few weeks back with the initial excavation which was delayed due to the extreme heat this summer.

This work event took place over a few days starting Thursday, October 20th and going to Saturday, October 22nd. Bill and the society would like to thank fellow society members, Dimitri Timohovich, Rushd Julfiker and Joe Dominguez for giving their time and sweat to this facility improvement,

Excavation and rebar supports in place.
Add gravel
Spread to an even layer
Adding water is important.
Add concrete
Leveling the pour
Finishing the edges

This is only the first steps to building a useful platform for launching larger rockets from the MTA. The pad must cure over several weeks during these cooler months before temperatures drop below freezing at night, Next steps will be preparing the surface for anchors then adding Bill Claybaugh’s launch rail which is in work right now.

This work will continue to be documented in our work event reports. We are a member driven society and deeply appreciate the hard work it takes to improve and upgrade our site to support our mission as an organization.

Our next monthly meeting is always on the 2nd Friday of the month at the front office of the Compton/Woodley airport at 7:30pm. Come join us on November 11th.




October 2022 meeting

by Dave Nordling, President, RRS.ORG


The society met at the Compton Airport front office again for our monthly meeting on October 14th. Mike LaGrange joined us by teleconference for the first time. Joel Cool-Panama was welcomed as our newest administrative member.

We first reviewed past events,

  • USC RPL sample grain burns
  • pad anchor modifications
  • restroom progress at the 10/1/22 work event

We spoke of pending events

  • Bill Claybaugh’s new pad, 10/20-10/22
  • Aerospace Corp launch of experimental motor, 10/20
  • next work event, 11/5-11/6, more plumbing
  • USC RPL static fire on 11/12
  • Events subject to change, public calendar soon to come online with the new website

The RRS reported quarterly dividend from Smile.amazon.com

Further concrete repair work is needed. Four of the 28 mounting holes need more work. This will likely be done by the society. We need to determine best way to extract old anchors and patch the holes with sufficient time for curing before redrilling. USC RPL will assist by drilling final anchors once repair work is done. USC has been very helpful in making this important site improvement.

A budget update on restroom with expenses to date and how much to finish. Last estimate showed we’re on target. An update is coming before next month. Our goal is for the restroom to become operational by year’s end.

The society is working hard to help other members to become pyro-ops. More pyro-ops means safer operations and greater flexibility in future events. Frank and Bill Inman have their letters and are working on their applications. The best way to start is being active with society events and apprenticing under experienced and licensed individuals.

RRS has updated their flight waiver with the FAA to 100,000 feet. Some planning and advance notice required. Laminated copy of our waiver and instructions will be put in the Dosa Bldg. Also, launch requirements available from the RRS president.

Patrick Finley of the Collegiate Propulsive Lander Challenge attended. He explained his foundation to encourage propulsive landing technologies among university groups. Five technology prizes. The RRS is a supporter of this initiative. He can be reached at “patrick@landerchallenge.space”

Wolfram Blume has been working on the Gas Guzzler over the summer. Fuel pump and flameholder fixes. Next flight could be in December?

Bill Inman is building the 2nd generation Solar Cat with fellow member Dale Talcott in Nevada. Subscale prototype built in the summer had excellent focus and heating. Next test at MTA could be December, perhaps January.

John Krell’s avionics chips have had some improvements. Now can do 16 channels at over 1 kHz all on a chip fitting in a slim alpha payload tube

First meeting with LACMA by the president and VP on a STEAM project focused on the arts. Further discussions will better define the RRS role. 

2023 Symposium will celebrate our 80th anniversary, tentative date is April 8. Researching locations, food service and potential speakers. Official launch will be in the new year.

New launch rail design proposed for high power rockets using 24-feet of 1515 launch rail and a 1-ton hand-winch to operate. It will be an outdoor fixed asset and supplement existing launch rails. Need to get a materials list and drawings made for a contractor quote.

Larger 60-foot launch rail for liquid rockets is in the planning stages. The RRS has had several entities interested in using such an asset.

We will soon be starting the effort to sort out the old equipment in the north yard, determine the purpose, origin, and dispose or refurbish each item. We must use our space wisely and not store articles without a relevant purpose. Junk will always fill a void.

RRS may be getting a new pair of storage containers and fire-fighting equipment. Council is in discussions and supportive of this site improvement. More details later.

Some at the meeting indicated strong interest in learning how to weld. The RRS is seeking an instructor which may give us training for a nominal fee. More on this next month.

3D printers were discussed near the end of the meeting. Several members have the devices, but design tools are just as important. Google Sketchup, Solidworks and CATIA are options but costs on some can be prohibitive. This would make a fine topic for a future article on RRS.ORG

Nominations for executive council offices will be at the November meeting next month. An election chairman will be appointed who is neither a current office holder or a candidate for office.

Next meeting at Compton Airport front office on 11/11/2022 at 7:30pm.


August 2022 monthly meeting

by Keith Yoerg, Secretary, Reaction Research Society


The RRS held its monthly meeting on Friday, August 12, 2022, by teleconference starting 7:30pm. The agenda was below.

  1. Review of recent MTA/rocket events, reports are posted on the website
    • 7/9 & 7/16: Work parties at MTA to install bathroom container (video Keith made of the delivery with the drone)
    • 7/21: Aerospace Ccorporation intern launch event
    • 7/25-7/31: Michigan liquid engine hot fire test campaign
  2. Upcoming MTA events
    • Bathroom work to continue in September
    • Other planned events are
      • USC RPL pad work
      • USC propellant sample testing
      • and a USC RPL static fire
      • Bill Claybaugh is preparing a new pad for launching heavier rockets from the MTA
      • Bill Ca;ybaugh will launch his six-inch rocket from a new rail launcher
  3. Social media milestone reached: 1,000 Instagram followers
  4. Preferences for future monthly meetings:
    • Monthly in-person (w/ zoom option) is something desired by many
    • In-person 4x per year (zoom other months), some supported the idea, other thought it may be confusing
    • Other ideas included meeting at a new location at the Compton Airport front office
  5. Other items addressed by the Executive Council this month:
    • Looking into society workshop/workspace at the Compton airport
    • Addition of more/semi-permanent high power launch pads
    • RRS membership has surpassed 2021 levels
    • Progress still being made on website update, hope to show something next month

Our next meeting will be September 9th. Contact the RRS secretary for details.

The Reaction Research Society reaches a milestone in our social media campaign.