MTA Launch Event, 2024-07-15

by the Reaction Research Society

The Reaction Research Society (RRS) hosted a launch event with Aerospace Corporation at our private testing facility, the Mojave Test Area (MTA), on Monday, July 15, 2024. Osvaldo Tarditti served as the pyrotechnic operator in charge for the event. Winds were pretty low but temperatures were over 100F which is normal for this season.

The RRS was glad to welcome Aerospace Corporation as a repeat client serving their launch needs. There were 25 model rockets propelled by “F” motors, mostly successful with a few a little unstable in flight.

Chase Lang had loaded his first standard alpha and flew it. Disappointingly, the alpha only flew 4 feet before landing safely back at the MTA. There seemed to be some trouble either in the quality of the new batch of propellants we acquired or a failure to build up pressure at the start with the burst disk. A good reason to try again soon. Some of our other new members have expressed interest in loading and flying their own micrograin rocket. Although now an obscure type of propellants, zinc and sulfur powders remain our signature rocket.

Chase Lang brought his large 10-inch diameter high-power rocket “Thumper” with a clean paint job and a big M1600 motor. Launched from the RRS 1515 rail at the MTA, it was a great sight reaching 4,700 feet. The dual-deployment chutes worked well and the rocket was recovered downrange.

The society is glad to have the interms of Aerospace Corporation at the MTA again and also grateful to members Chase and Jeff Lang for coming out and launching.

The RRS meets every 2nd Friday of each month at the front office of the Compton/Woodley Airport at 7:30pm. Next meeting of the Reaction Research Society will be August 9th. Contact the RRS president for details.

MTA Work Event, 2023-11-04

by Dave Nordling, President, RRS.ORG

A small working group of RRS members and the director of research met at the RRS MTA to discuss ideas and proposals for a 60-foot launch rail suitable for liquid fueled rockets to be flown from the RRS MTA. This project is the society’s next primary focus for infrastructure upgrades to provide greater support to the amateur rocket community. The society will soon appoint a project leader from within our membership to lrad and complete this task.

Over this year, many ideas have been circulated but none thus far have provided detailed plans. As this is a fully funded project, the society will take this on internally using best practices seen with other rocketry groups. The working group made several key design decisions about the 60-foot launch rail:

Launch rail will be a fixed asset operating only at the RRS MTA

Launch rail will have at least 60-feet of rail length using 2-inch aluminum extrusion

Rockets will be placed on top of the rail with a maximum height of 42-inches from ground level.

Launch rail will be raised and lowered by a hydraulic lift system.

Launch rail will have its own thick launch pad just parallel and to the north of the existing Claybaugh pad and launcher. A quote from our supplier has been received.

The launch rail project has begun immediately and more progress statements will be coming in the next months. Several key components in the new launch rail are already at the MTA.

Progress will be reported at next RRS monthly meeting at the Compton-Woodley Airport at 730pm, November 10, 2023.

May 2023 Meeting

by Joel Cool-Panama, Secretary, RRS.ORG

The Reaction Research Society held its monthly meeting at the Compton/Woodley Airport location, 7:30 PM PST.

Agenda topics of the meeting were:

  • Symposium successes
  • Restroom operational
  • MTA improvements
  • Wolfram launch 5/20
  • UCLA launch 6/10

Past Events

It is with great pleasure that the Society declares the Symposium to have been a success. In all, there were 22 presenters present, and approximately 70 to 80 persons in attendance. Likewise, Mary Star High School has told us that they did well on their food service sales, and have already penciled us in to host the Symposium at their location again on April 8th, 2024.

However, there is much room for improvement. For example, we need to have better signage for the presentation room and food service at the next symposium. We could also take advantage of the large screens present in the gymnasium to keep attendees up to date on presentations. It was also noted that we should have a hard deadline for speakers to sign up, probably a few days in advance of the event, to prevent scheduling confusion. The older members of the Society are also in agreement that we should hire some of the students to help us setup and break down the Symposium. We could also Mary Star’s WiFi password, and maybe make it available upon request.

The Society was also pleased to receive a donation of eletrical match blanks from long-time RRS member, Steve Majdali. Our treasurer, Larry Hoffing, is to write a receipt for them.

Current Events

Prior to the meeting, Society President Dave Nordling had new keys made for the newly opened MTA restrooms. Six pairs of keys were made, the gold one being to open the restroom proper, and the silver to open the container door to the valves and switches.

In regards to the restroom, it was mentioned that the society should probably hire someone to clean the restroom. In the past, society members have graciously handled cleaning and supplies themselves with the porta-potties, but there is a desire to have the restrooms taken care of by someone else. The main problem seems to be the cost of doing so, and how we might extract compensatory fees from anyone who uses the MTA and doesn’t clean up after themselves. A deposit was suggested, but Frank noted that getting such from a school would likely be a hassle.

Thanks to the Society’s generous donors, we are pleased to announce that a 60-foot launch rail for launching liquid rockets, and prefabbed containers for the MTA, have been funded. Polaris has a design for such a launch rail, and the Society is considering hiring them to build it. Also, in light of the struggles around building numerous projects at the MTA, it is expected that the Society will pay contractors to make improvements to the site mifor the forseeable future.

It’s also been recommended that the Society should have portable launch rails at the MTA. Being portable means that they can be moved away when might be necessary, such as if a group’s view of another launch rail is obstructed. Wolfram in particular has requested 1515 launch rails, but others, such as members of ROC, might appreciate these as well, due to the difference between our height waivers.

Steve Majdali mentioned at the meeting that he has 1,000 ft of duplex wire, 18 gauge solid core, which he might donate to the Society for our use. He also apparently has multi-strand, fine gauge wire, and might even have some sulfur to dispose of as well.

In other news, Society Treasurer Larry has received 3 lbs of 400-mesh zinc powder from a supplier in India. The zinc isn’t of the fineness typically used for micrograin rockets, but Larry will test its use regardless. It should be noted that the zinc was bought at $4 per pound, which is a very good deal, and we might consider sourcing from this supplier in the future. US-based suppliers are not as common today as they have been in decades past.

Future Events

UCLA is currently scheduled to hold their Capstone project launch event at the MTA on June 10th. Likewise, Frank and Larry will simultaeneously be holding launch classes at the site. They will be having two launches, B and C motor model rockets, as well as Baby Bertha.

The Aerospace Corporation is also scheduled to use the MTA for their intern rocket launch event. As of now, there is no conflict on the MTA schedule with their event.

The Society is also receiving more requests for Vice-President Frank to teach more classes. Among past locations requesting his services is Nickerson Gardens.

Also, it has been noted that having underground cable runs between the launch rails and the Garboden Observation Bunker at the MTA would be very valuable. A pull string should be installed along with whatever conduit is put in place, and CAT9 wire should definitely be installed as a good starting point. This facility improvement needs further definition.

The next society meeting will be on June 9th, 2023, at the Compton/Woodley Airport location. Contact the secretary for details.