MTA Firing Event, 2022-11-12

by Jim Gross, Reaction Research Society


The RRS hosted the University of Southern California (USC) Rocket Propulsion Laboratory (RPL) from Friday, 11/11, to Sunday, 11/13/2022 for a static firing of their latest experimental class, solid propellant motor design, Firebiter. I was the pyrotechnic operator in charge with Keith Yoerg and Michael Rouleau apprenticing.

USC firing campaign logos keep getting better and better

Back in September, USC completed a series of test grain burns which gave valuable regression factors necessary for their full 6-inch scale solid motor.

Borrowing from painful past experiences, USC RPL under their team leader, Julia Woomer, found a good compromise between stability and performance as evidenced by their hotfire on Sunday just three minutes before noon.

USC RPL demonstrated a good motor at the RRS Mojave Test Area

The RRS has had a long successful relationship with USC for over a decade. USC will prepare another full-scale motor for flight soon.


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.


MTA work event, 2022-10-20

by Dave Nordling, President, RRS.ORG


The Reaction Research Society has built a new and larger pad to the west of our current launch pads at the Mojave Test Area (MTA). This has been due to the generous donation of lifetime member, Bill Claybaugh, both of his time and resources. This 12-foot square pad is angled to the southwest and is intended for larger launch vehicles soon to be launched from the MTA. This work started a few weeks back with the initial excavation which was delayed due to the extreme heat this summer.

This work event took place over a few days starting Thursday, October 20th and going to Saturday, October 22nd. Bill and the society would like to thank fellow society members, Dimitri Timohovich, Rushd Julfiker and Joe Dominguez for giving their time and sweat to this facility improvement,

Excavation and rebar supports in place.
Add gravel
Spread to an even layer
Adding water is important.
Add concrete
Leveling the pour
Finishing the edges

This is only the first steps to building a useful platform for launching larger rockets from the MTA. The pad must cure over several weeks during these cooler months before temperatures drop below freezing at night, Next steps will be preparing the surface for anchors then adding Bill Claybaugh’s launch rail which is in work right now.

This work will continue to be documented in our work event reports. We are a member driven society and deeply appreciate the hard work it takes to improve and upgrade our site to support our mission as an organization.

Our next monthly meeting is always on the 2nd Friday of the month at the front office of the Compton/Woodley airport at 7:30pm. Come join us on November 11th.