by Dave Nordling, President, Reaction Research Society
The University of Southern California (USC) Rocket Propulsion Laboratory (RPL) conducted a series of six propellant sample burns for characterizing their latest mixture. I was the pyrotechnic operator in charge for that day. New member and former USC RPL student, Michael Rouleau, was my apprentice that day.
Testing took place in the horizontal configuration on our repaired pad with the new 3/4” female pattern using a load cell and chamber pressure transmitters reading from the bulkhead in a modular nozzle can configuration.
USC RPL has had several motor failures in recent times which has led this year’s team to try a better known and safer recipe. COVID-19 played a role in creating a knowledge gap. This year’s team hopes to reclaim a success when the full static fire motor is tested at the RRS MTA in a little more than a month.
by Dave Nordling, President, Reaction Research Society
The Reaction Research Society held its monthly meeting by teleconference on June 10, 2022. The meeting covered several recent topics and we welcomed new member, Rushd Julfiker.:
We discussed the two recent events at the RRS MTA. Firing reports have been posted for each.
5/21: YMCA student launch event
6/4: UCLA Senior Capstone project launches
The society has had a few groups interested in using the MTA in the next month. Formal requests to use the MTA must be sent by email to the RRS president with specific dates requested.
Dimitri Timohovich and Osvaldo Tarditti went to the MTA on Sunday, 6/5/22 to disassemble and examine the condition of the loader used at the MTA and owned by member, Wilbur Owens. The hydraulic cylinders will require a complete rebuild to return the machine to working order. The backhoe and loader has been a very useful asset to the society and as such the repairs will be paid by the society. Our security cameras are working well to monitor the site in our absence.
The 40th annual Large and Dangerous Rocket Ships (LDRS40) event by the Tripoli Rocketry Association is being hosted by the Rocketry Organization of California (ROC) in Lucerne Valley this weekend. Some of the RRS will be attending. it is an excellent event that brings many groups together and this year it is back in southern California.
Progress is being made on the new restroom facility. The septic system and leach field will go in soon. Dimitri provided updates on the container interior which should be finished by month’s end. The next step will be adding the roof platform and water tanks followed by completing the electrical systems.
Site maintenance and upgrades were discussed for projects after the new restroom facility is complete including more water storage and fire suppression gear. We could also use some metal cabinets and industrial shelving to better organize the contents of our new 40-foot storage container.
We have had a persistent problem with nails and metal debris puncturing tires at the MTA. One solution to this problem is a magentic sweeper which can pull up and remove any iron pieces left in the shallow layers of sand and dust.
The society has bought two of these devices. With some dedicated and coordinated efforts, our site can be cleaned of this hazard. We will be asking our membership to spend some time sweeping the MTA, collecting the findings and disposing of them in the burn pit.
The society has bought a new 1-ton gantry crane, trolley and chain hoist. This equipment will be useful in loading and unloaiding heavy materials on and off pickup trucks. Items such as cryogenic liquid cylinders would benefit from having a simple means of lifting them on and off with no power source required. The gantry crane will have the wheels removed and will be permanently mounted to a fixed foundation at the north pad by the Dosa Building.
After some consideration, the executive council decided it would be best to postpone the next RRS Symposium until the spring of 2023. It takes a significant amount of preparation and we felt it best to wait to begin in the new year when we will celebrate our 80th anniversary. Before the pandemic, we had three increasingly successful annual events and we look forward to restarting them soon.
Next meeting will be July 8th as they happen on every 2nd Friday of the month. Our meetings will remain by teleconference but we are checking with the Ken Nakaoka Community Center about returning to in-person meetings soon. We will continue to have the teleconference feature even after we return to in-person meetings.
To attend our meetings, contact the RRS secretary.
The latest meeting of the Reaction Research Society was held last Friday, May 13th 2022 and had seventeen attendees.
UPCOMING MTA EVENTS
The meeting began with a discussion of the launch event upcoming at the MTA. Events planned for Saturday, May 21st include:
30 students from a LAPD class launching Baby Bertha model rockets 2 times each
Launch of Wolfram Blume’s Gas Guzzler
Cryogenic testing of Compton Comet tanks
Dimitri has started work on a new set of launch pads to accommodate up to 18 model rockets (which is the number of separate igniters each Cobra firing module can accommodate). The high number of launches we expect to complete this weekend will give us a chance to train members who might be interested in learning how to use the relatively new Cobra Firing System.
Wolfram is planning to conduct another launch of his rocket Gas Guzzler, hopefully fixing issues with the parachute system from the last launch. Several members of the Compton Comet team plan to conduct cryogenic shock testing of hardware for their liquid rocket project. Compton Comet team members agreed to send a list of attendees to the RRS President & Treasurer to help confirm that all the members have current membership and waivers on file.
REVIEW OF RECENT MTA EVENTS
We then discussed the recent MTA event where the USCRPL launched a rocket called “Jawbone.” Frank showed a YouTube video that the group made after the launch.
RECAP OF RECENT EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEETINGS
The RRS Executive Council (EC) met in each of the 4 weeks leading up to the May monthly meeting, and the council provided a brief synopsis of the topics and decisions made in those meetings to the membership. Specifically, one EC meeting included RRS members Richard Dierking and Kent Schwitkis and was focused on emergency preparedness at the MTA, including what infrastructure improvements might be useful from a safety standpoint. Another meeting was attended by Xavier Marshall and focused on modernizing and digitizing the administrative processes of the RRS. The other 2 meetings focused primarily on the new RRS bathroom, and decisions were reached on selecting a contractor as well as construction material (concrete) for the septic tank. The council hopes the septic system will be installed by the end of June, with the bathroom container installed not long thereafter.
DISCUSSION OF MONTHLY MEETING LAYOUT
After several monthly meetings with lengthy presentations, the EC decided to open a discussion with current members on the layout for monthly meetings. The general consensus was that presentations are an appreciated and valued part of the meetings, but that a hard time-limit should be enforced to limit meetings running too late into the night. Many members agreed that 20 minutes is a reasonable limit, and that Q&A periods should be limited as well to avoid lengthy questions that become their own monologues. Most members in attendance agreed that starting the meetings with presentations would be preferable to leaving presentations until the end of each meeting.
PROMOTION OF THE RRS& OTHER ITEMS
Our Vice President Frank Muiccio was asked to give a radio interview as part of a segment on local heroes. The interview will be on AirTalk with Larry Mantle on the local NPR radio station 89.3 KPCC Thursday, May 19th at 11:45 am and can be heard on the radio or streaming on their website. Frank also updated the society on the possibility of an update to the documentary about the RRS youth outreach programs called Rockets in the Projects.
This opened a discussion about the possibility of expanding the classes to potentially include entries in competitions like the TARC challenge. Jerry Fuller mentioned that his local high school in Palos Verdes has had many groups successfully compete in this challenge, and expressed interest in helping connect the RRS with the instructors of that group.
Although Jim Gross was unable to attend the meeting, he sent along information that he wanted the membership to be aware of:
Wanted to let the Society members know there is a 5-day “Cryogenic Engineering & Safety Course” scheduled for 1-5 August 2022 at the Colorado School of Mines. The price is $3,250 per student. This MIGHT be useful for anyone going for a Rockets Class 1 Pyro. Op. License. I’ve never taken it, so I am not sure. More info is available from 1 (305) 972-8847 or www.cryocourses.com or via email at email@example.com
NEXT MONTHLY MEETING
The next RRS monthly meeting will be held virtually on Friday, June 10th at 7:30 pm pacific time. Current members will receive an invite via e-mail the week of the meeting. Non-members (or members who have not received recent invites) can request an invitation by sending an email to:
Please check your spam folders and add firstname.lastname@example.org to your email whitelist to make sure you are receiving the meeting invitation.