November 2022 meeting

by Frank Miuccio, Vice President, RRS.ORG


The Reaction Research Society held its monthly meeting November 11, 2022, at 730pm, at the front office of the Compton/Woodley Airport. Others were able to join us by teleconference.

Agenda topics for the meeting were:

  1. Review of recent MTA/rocket events:
  2. Upcoming MTA events including bathroom work & USC static fire on 11/12/22
  3. 1-day welding class in Oceanside – who is interested?
  4. CALFIRE fee increases
  5. 2023 executive council nominations

Recent MTA/rocket events were reviewed including the November 5th work event on the restroom.

RRS has purchased a 20-foot high cube container that will be placec next to the new bathroom container which will be our new fire station which will house fire suppression equipment. It was suggested that we paint the container red or at least part of it red. The RRS also purchased a 35 GPM water pump with 1” hose and adapters and spray nozzles. An all-terrain vehicle for firefighting has been on our bucket list for awhile. We discussed current fire suppression tools including the pressurized water type fire extinguishers and shovels. It was recommended we do a fire training class at the MTA yearly so people know how to use the current and future solutions. We will need a volunteer to coordinate this effort.

Upcoming MTA events include the static fire event with USC RPL from Friday 11/11/2022 and into Saturday 11/12/2022. USC’s latest 6-inch vehicle, Firebiter, will be tested before committing to launch their next flight article later this year.

Bathroom work continues. There are a few items that still need to be installed such as some plumbing and connections to the infrastructure.

The RRS has found a skilled private individual, Jay Miller (and son), willing to teach a one-day welding class. The cost will be substantial but split among those who will attend. It is not common to find this kind of training on a weekend. Jay will have 3 rigs to divide among the students at their shop in Oceanside, CA. Metal welding samples of aluminum, carbon and stainless steels with filler material and plates to weld on will be provided as well as gases.

Carpooling is recommended once a firm date is set. People with interest need to confirm very soon.

CALFIRE is opening a public comment sessions for proposed fee increases which affecting our operations.

Pyrotechnic operator annual license fees for Rockets Classes 1, 2 and 3 from $50 to $100

Public Display licenses will increase from $200 to $350 annually.

RRS members will attend this meeting with CALFIRE in December. The RRS will produce a joint statement representing the society’s opposition to fee increases. It is unlikely we will be successful in dissuading the state fire marshal from increasing fees.

This topic also went to discussing the process to become a pyrotechnic operator and encouraged more people to begin the application process to become licensed. Frank said he will update people as he goes through the process. The hardest part is securing five letter of recommendation from licensed pyro-ops. After letters are ready, applicants need to be fingerprinted at Live Scan locations in California.

Cameron Kurtz spoke to the RRS about a solid motor project he was working on (he is in Texas). He was looking if anyone had data that he could use. John Krell and Michael Rouleau will be working with Cameron offline

2023 executive council nominations were held as we do at each November meeting. RRS member, Drew Cortopassi, was appointed as our election chairman. Drew will be sending out ballots to the administrative members and must receive them back before the December meeting. Nominees are listed below. All offices are running unopposed.

Secretary = Joel Cool-Panama

Treasurer = Larry Hoffing

Vice-President = Frank Miuccio

President = Dave Nording

Straw rockets and air rockets were discussed. They are very simple and popular tools used in our educational programs. Frank showed the launchers used for the classes to launch them. Frank also showed examples of straw rockets and air rockets.

On straw rockets, the process of the nose cones was discussed. First phase starts with molded clay. Second phase was foam ear plugs. Third phase was rubber end caps (bolt caps cover). This latest version has improved the launch. Frank also discussed what students learn from the activities.

Next meeting will be December 9, 2022. Meetings are always held on the 2nd Friday of each month.


September 2022 meeting

by Keith Yoerg, Secretary, RRS.ORG


The Reaction Research Society held our monthly meeting on September 9th. It was the first in-person meeting in 31 months We met at the front office of the Compton/Woodley Airport at our usual starting time of 7:30pm. This was a new location for us and we are grateful to the staff of Los Angeles County for their hospitality.

We still held our teleconference which continues to allow our members living far from the city to join us. We will stay at this location for the next two more meetings to decide if this will be our permanent location.

September meeting agenda

  1. Review of recent MTA/rocket events:
  2. Upcoming MTA events
    • Bathroom work to continue this month
    • New concrete launch pad
    • USC RPL testing campaign
  3. Catching-up in person

This is a placeholder until the full meeting minutes can be transferred.

Our next meeting will be on October 14 at the same location at the front office of the Compton/Woodley Airport. We will meet every 2nd Friday of each month. Contact the RRS secretary for information.


MTA Firing Event, 2022-07-31

by Dave Nordling, President, Reaction Research Society


The University of Michigan came to the Mojave Test Area for another static fire campaign starting Monday, July 25th and ending July 31st. Pyrotechnic operators, Jim Gross, Osvaldo Tarditti and myself supported this protracted campaign in the July heat. The weather was challenging during that week with few heat-related problems other than slow progress which is understandable given the conditions. New RRS member, Rushd Julfiker, and long time member, Jim Gross, assisted me in the cold flow and hot-fire testing. MASA’s academic adviser, Professor Mirko Gamba was also present at the MTA for the days of cold flow and hot-fire testing.

University of Michigan held a Test Readiness Review on Sunday, 7/17/2022, with RRS members present. Many good questions were raised but few corrections were needed. MASA proceeded with packing and departed campus for the MTA on Friday, 7/22/2022.

University of Michigan first day at the Mojave Test Area

The team arrived at the MTA on Monday night (7/25/2022) and began to unpack their gear and assemble the mobile test trailer. Leak checking went more smoothly due to design improvements. Problems with the igniter channel would prove to be a recurring concern.

Initial setup of the mobile trailer at first arrival.
Attaching frequently used tools by retractable tethers means never hunting for the right wrench again. Genius.
Hewlett-Packard film crew prepares to have interviews with the students.
Control trailer operations leading up to test.
A clean injector ready to be installed.
Fuel transfer operations before next test.
230-liter cryogenic liquid cylinders from Linde.

On Friday (7/29/22), gas bottles and cryogenic liquids were recieved from the supplier. Delays in receiving these consumables allowed sufficient time to verify systems were ready. MASA achieved significant progress towards hotfire after completing four valve timing coldflows and one abort test. Analysis of the data from our tests in preparation for hotfire tomorrow.

The RP-D2 engine sits on its thrust stand.
University of Michigan’s mobile test trailer beside the vertical test stand

Saturday (7/30/22) was the first attempt at hot-fire which was unsuccessful due to an igniter failure. The cause was traced back to an intermittent problem with the switch in the junction box. The prior igniter test demonstrated the igniter would fire in the cold flow conditions the day before. Comparing data sets, the team found that a simple verification of continuity in the voltage data stream during the countdown would safely identify a failed igniter firing circuit and allow a safe abort if it were to repeat.

RRS members Jim Gross and Rushd Julfiker examine the setup before the next test attempt.

In the last hour of the last day (Sunday, 7/31/22) of the campaign, MASA completed a successful 1 second hot-fire of the 2,000 lbf RP-D2 engine. The chamber and injector remained intact and the system safed itself properly.

Screenshot from the 1-second firing of RP-D2 as seen from the Garboden bunker

After examining the data, pressures were significantly off from the expected profile, but the engine passed the visual inspection After further consideration, the team opted not to proceed with a longer 4-second burn due to the uncertainty about our data values and pressure drops seen from hot-fire. MASA would conduct a more thorough examination of the data and hardware back at the university.

The MASA team began cleaning up the test site on Sunday night and continued throughout the night to prepare for the 1800 mile jouney home. University of Michigan was extremely happy with the result of their campaign and were grateful to our pyro-op’s and membership that supported every day with the MASA team.

The RRS was glad to provide our testing site, resources, experience, labor and insight to this successful testing campaign.

For inquiries about using the RRS Mojave Test Area, contact the RRS president.

president@rrs.org