RRS attended the 1st annual FAR Liquid Rocket Symposium

by Dave Nordling, President, RRS.ORG


Representatives of the Reaction Research Society were invited to attend the 1st annual Friends of Amateur Rocketry (FAR) liquid propellant rocket symposium at the EAA Chapter 1 headquarters at the Flabob Airport in Riverside, California, on January 28, 2023. Dimitri Timohovich and I came to observe and participate in the all-day event including a range of topics related to safe design and operations with liquid rockets. There were hardware demonstrations giving attendees a direct appreciation for the importance of safety and careful planning with their system designs.

The intended audience was university rocket teams looking for best practices and expert advice. Mark Holthaus (president of FAR), Mark Ventura (RRS member and owner of Ventura Energy Systems) and Derek Honkawa (FAR member and private business owner) all gave excellent presentations covering igniters, propellant handling, part cleaning, and pressure system safety with a generous amount of examples of successful and unsuccessful projects at FAR.

FAR will soon make their presentation files available on their website for download. The RRS was glad to be there for this first of its kind event.

The RRS similarly has experts that have supported liquid rocket projects for decades at the Mojave Test Area. Contact the RRS president for requests and scheduling.

Also, the RRS will be holding our 80th anniversary symposium on April 15th at a venue location to be announced soon. This will be our first symposium since the pandemic and we look forward to having many speakers from industry, government, academia and the hobbyist community on topics related to liquid propellant rockets and many other subjects of interest to our public audience.

Sunrise at the Flabob Airport in Riverside, California.
For early cold mornings, coffee helps.
Pressurized water flow testing rig on display.
A full day of presentations on topics related to liquid rockets.

January 2023 meeting

by Joel Cool-Panama, Secretary, RRS.ORG


The Reaction Research Society held its monthly meeting at the front office of the Compton/Woodley Airport, 7:30 PM PST. on Friday, January 13, 2023.

Agenda topics of the meeting were:

  1. Welding helmets (Mohammed)
  2. Gas Guzzler progress (Wolfram)
  3. 1/14/2023 launch event
  4. * ROC high-power launches, terms of granting membership
  5. * American Artist – LACMA
  6. Work event 1/22-1/25/23
  7. launch event on 1/28/2023?
  8. 2023 symposium on April 8 (Frank)
  9. FAR liquid rocket symposium 1/28/23 at Flabob Airport (Dave)
  10. Restroom progress (Dimitri)
  11. Compton Comet work at MTA (Jamie)
  12. Launch rail designs (Jackson)
  13. Visit to Ventura Energy LLC, 1/12/23
  14. micrograin resources, alpha (Jim Gross)

Past Events

Another update which we were pleased to announce is that the President of the society has been formally admitted to the CALFIRE subcommittee on Fireworks, under which rocketry is governed, and which will be rewriting the existing regulations.

The Compton Comet project also had its first low pressure test earlier this month. There were many leaks, but the team is now nearing the point that they will need to carry on their testing at the Mojave Test Area (MTA).

A new member to the society, Abdullah Daya, also asked if there was any certificate available for those members who attended the society welding class in Vista. It was decided that the society would ask the instructors at a later time.

Current Events

The society is pleased to announce that member, Wolfram Blume, is currently seeking his pyro-op license. He currently only plans to obtain a Class 3 Rockets license, but the society currently seeks to expand its license holder count which will ease the planning of future MTA events requiring the presence of the same.

There was also a fairly lengthy discussion regarding society owned tools. Society member Mohammed Daya researched welding helmets on behalf of the society, giving a recommendation for a particular brand out of a few. There was also a recommendation for individuals to use prescription lenses, and helmets with small viewports should be used to prevent ones vision from wandering.

There was also discussion of a new requirement that individuals using society equipment sign waivers to reduce our liability, similar to the waiver required for MTA use.

Unfortunately, due to the recent weather in California, the launch event on January 14th for a project by American Artist has been cancelled. Dave still wishes to meet with him at another time, and hopefully schedule another date for his project at the MTA.

Another unfortunate situation has occurred, in that the FAA has reduced ROC’s height waiver by a substantial amount (7,000 feet). This will make the larger high-power launches impossible from their Lucerne Valley location. However, it was suggested that the society could reach out to ROC, and offer them use of the RRS MTA for their launch events. Keith Yoerg said he’d reach out to start a conversation.

In regards to the RRS MTA site improvements, the creation of more launch rails therefore was discussed. Materials for the construction of the same have been bought, and their design was briefly debated, with radio towers being mentioned as a frequent base. It was also mentioned that CAD software would be useful in our construction of any of the larger rail designs. A 60-foot launch rail for liquid-fuelled rockets is a top priority at the society this year.

An update on USPS protocols has been announced, that all mail addressed to a PO box must now also give the street address of the Post Office it is located at. Any such mail without an address will be returned to sender, so mail to the society should have the address written as such.

Reaction Research Society

8821 Aviation Blvd.

P.O. Box 90933

Los Angeles, CA, 90009-0933

An unexpected but minor blow to the society’s fundraising was delivered recently when Amazon announced that the AmazonSmile program will be discontinued in February this year. The money earned by the society therefrom was not a vast sum, but per our treasurer, Larry Hoffing, the loss of this small revenue stream means that pizza parties will be cancelled indefinitely. The society has yet to hold one of these events but the loss will still be felt.

Future Events

Starting on Sunday the 22nd, we are planning to have a multi-day work event at the MTA. This will do work on lighting and other electrical work on the site. Handicap rails and an access ramp also need to be installed soon. Dimitri will be present, and other volunteers are encouraged to participate as well.

On January 28th, there is another planned launch event for those wanting training in micrograin loading and launching. Jim Gross will be the pyro-op in charge.

Also on the same day, FAR will be holding a liquid rocket symposium at the Flabob Airport in Riverside. The RRS has been invited, but due to the limited gathering size only a couple individuals from the society will attend.

This April, Bill Claybaugh is planning to launch from the MTA. Likewise, the RRS symposium is planned to take place some time in April. Frank is currently in contact with the Gardena Community Center to see if we can hold the event there again this year on our 80th anniversary.

In regards to the symposium, there is currently no set budget, but it has been suggested that some of the society’s generous benefactors might be contacted to help cover costs.

Jim is currently in possession of zinc that might be used for sulfur micrograin. Some, contained in pales, are known to be good, but some received by mail are of unknown condition. It’s expected that the latter will be tested soon so as to determine its use.

Next meeting will be February 10th. Contact the secretary for details.


80th Anniversary of the Reaction Research Society

by Dave Nordling, President, RRS.ORG


Today, January 6, 2023 marks the 80th anniversary of the Reaction Research Society.

Founded in 1943 by George James, this small club of young boys gathered in Glendale to study and conduct experiments in reaction propulsion. It all began with a child’s chemistry set that included zinc and sulfur powder as a demonstration of exothermic reactions. This would lead to rockets and newer propellants and ever increasingly complicated experiments in the remote northern areas of Los Angeles from Mint Canyon to Rosamond to our present location east of Koehn Dry Lake. Many members of the Reaction Research Society have pursued professional aerospace careers making important contributions to the field.

In the war years of the 1940’s, rocketry was more the subject of science fiction and speculation than the robust science it is today in the early 21st century. Our society has seen eight decades of growth as a collective group of enthusiasts and colleagues supporting research and offering shared testing spaces while remaining dedicated to responsible projects and scientific progress. It is with pride that we share this milestone with the public on a bold new year of launch, facility improvement and looking forward to the future.

Photo credit: Mani Suri

Our month meetings are held at 7:30pm on the second Friday of each month by teleconference and in person at the front office of the Compton/Woodley Airport on Alondra Blvd. in Compton. For details, contact the RRS secretary.

secretary@rrs.org