by Dave Nordling, President, Reaction Research Society
The society has been planning and working on a restroom facility for many months. This creature comfort has been the most requested improvement and this month it has come closer to being a reality at our humble site.
The society held two weekend work parties with the primary purpose of placing the restroom container at the concrete pads poured a few months earlier. The society prides itself on launch events but there are times when our volunteers must step up and do the mundane and arduous tasks of maintenance even on the hottest months of the year. We are grateful to members, Dimitri Timohovich, Osvaldo Tarditti, Larry Hoffing, Keith Yoerg, Bill Inman and new members Rushd Julfiker and Joe Dominguez for spending their day with us in the 108-112 degree heat of summer over the weekends of July 9-10 and July 16. While not all tasks were accomplished, we did achieve a great many things.
The added floor deck, now our spanning roof needed some new plywood panels to preserve the underlying timbers.Water tanks ready for deployment.Joe Dominguez and Dimitri Timohovich secure the pair of empty water tanks to the newly paneled roofOur new drone camera got its first test flight on the first weekend work party.Sunset on the last day of that work campaign.
The latest meeting of the Reaction Research Society was held last Friday, May 13th 2022 and had seventeen attendees.
Screenshot of discussion during the monthly meeting
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.
Progress on the launch pads Dimitri is building
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.
Example of a concrete septic tank
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com to your email whitelist to make sure you are receiving the meeting invitation.
The Reaction Research Society held it’s monthly meeting by teleconference on Friday, October 8, 2021. Some of our members were on travel, but the those in attendance were able to discuss several important issues.
The USC RPL static fire event on 9-26-2021 was safely conducted but ended in a explosion and fire which was ably contained. This was a good example of careful preparations and good management of the people present for the event. A firing report has been posted for this event. Osvaldo Tarditti was the pyrotechnic operator in charge that day.
UCLA had requested the use of the MTA on 10/16/2021 for their next liquid rocket engine test. The MTA was already reserved for Bill Claybaugh’s solid rocket flight that same day and in the days leading up to the event. Dave Nordling was the pyro-op in charge, A firing report for this event will be posted,
UCLA is planning to hold their conceptual design review (CoDR) on 10/22/21 for the next iteration of their liquid rocket. RRS members Dave Nordling and John Krell plan to attend.
Wolfram Blume was on the call and said he was eager to return to the MTA for a second flight attempt of the Gas Guzzler ramjet. With the summer heat gone, he hopes to return at our next launch event which is still being planned. It is hoped that the society can continue their streak of having at least one MTA event per month as we have done since the start of 2021.
The restroom container was purchased and brought to the Compton Airport for interior construction. This 20-foot high cube has a 9.5 foot ceiling and should be able to have two individual rooms with toilet and sink, one of these to have a shower stall. Osvaldo had drafted a floor plan and this was approved by the council. The society will be meeting at the Compton Airport on Saturday, October 23rd, for a late morning barbecue and an in-person discussion of the materials needed to get the restroom interior built. All members are welcome but please notify Keith, Wilbur, Xavier or Dave Nordling if you’re coming as they have access to the airport.
RRS containerized restroom awaits interior design and build
There was some discussion about the septic system and leach field. It is important to maintain an appropriate distance from any nearby water wells, one of which is on Polaris Propulsion property. Sufficient clearance exists based on measurements made and EPA guidelines. The leach field will be positioned to drain away to the north.
The society is considering buying a concrete septic tank but RRS member Wilbur Owens may have a plastic septic tank already available for the society. Some members feel a concrete septic tank will last longer and be less likely to leak. The council is still debating this feature and should render a decision soon.
The society also discussed the water supply to the restroom container and the supporting structure needed to hold a tank on top of the container. There are many important facets to this infrastructure addition which must be weighed carefully.
Nominations for RRS executive council offices will be held at next month’s meeting, November 12th, 2nd Friday of the month at 7:30pm. An election chairman will be selected beforehand and this person must be an active member not holding office nor running for office. A special email address will be set up for the election chairman to gather votes from our active administrative and lifetime members. Results to be announced at the December 10th meeting and new terms to start January 1, 2022.
For any questions, please contact the RRS secretary.