The RRS held a firing event at the MTA on Saturday, February 28th, 2023.
The purpose of the event was to provide training for several society members who desired to gain experience in support of applications for Rockets – Class 2 Pyrotechnic Operator’s licenses from CALFIRE. Jim Gross was the PyroOp in charge for the day, with Rushd Julfiker, Michael Rouleau, Leanna Lincoln, and Keith Yoerg receiving training. The winter morning started off cool with Michael, Keith, and Leanna opening up the MTA and preparing the site for the day’s testing.
RRS standard alpha rockets that had previously been launched as a part of RRS youth outreach programs were disassembled and cleaned of residue from their previous firings and propellant mixing supplies were prepped. Rushd arrived while Keith prepped and loaded his high power rocket “Flight On!” with an Aerotech H182-Redline motor for a launch later in the day.
Once Jim arrived at the MTA, a safety briefing was held and everyone in attendance provided a brief introduction detailing their background and interest in rocketry. The static test stand was then bolted to the vertical test stand concrete pad using bolt anchors already in place on the pad. The test stand is a modified I-Beam provided by Jim. After a temporary delay from difficulties in getting the gasoline generator up and running, enough zinc and sulfur micrograin powder for 4 firings were added to the mixing bucket and set up on the mixer.
While the propellants mixed, the group returned to the Dosa building for a lunchtime grill out of brats and pineapple. During lunch, the group watched a video on electric match ignition safety from the early 2000s’s provided by Jim, which had to be stopped early to return to the testing task at hand before daylight ran out. The video was “Basics of Electric Firing” by Scott Cartwright was purchased from the American Fireworks News.
Keith, Rushd, Michael, and Leanna then loaded the well-mixed propellant into the prepared alpha rockets and test fired the motors in that order. A video of the firing compiled by Keith can be found on his YouTube channel here, which was collected using RRS GoPro and quadcopter drone cameras.
Following the test firing of the alpha rockets, Keith launched his high power rocket “Flight On!” for the 3rd time, which was successful in both the flight and recovery. The group then cleaned up the site before locking up and leaving. Thanks to all who made this first firing event of 2023 a success, including former RRS President (and current PyroOp) Osavldo Tarditti for assistance with the propellants and current RRS Vice President Frank Muiccio for providing the alpha rockets used for the testing. We look forward to many more successful events at the MTA this year.
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.
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.
The RRS has had a long successful relationship with USC for over a decade. USC will prepare another full-scale motor for flight soon.
The latest meeting of the Reaction Research Society was held Friday, April 8th 2022 and had twenty-two attendees, including several student presenters from the UCSD Colossus project.
PRESENTATION FROM UCSD COLOSSUS TEAM
The meeting began with a presentation from the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Students for the Exploration & Development of Space (SEDS) team, led by the Colossus Project Manager Shannon Lin. Colossus is a trailer-mounted thrust stand developed by UCSD students with funding from a NASA grant, intended to accommodate a wide range of liquid bi-propellant rocket engines (up to 3,000 lbf).
The UCSD team hopes to market use time on Colossus to student, amateur, and professional groups that are building liquid rockets and would like to collect data without designing and building their own thrust stand. Colossus can collect concurrent data from 13 pressure transducers, 8 thermocouples, and 5 load cells at 1,000 Hz sample rate. They also expect to add a 20,000 fps high-speed camera as well as a mass-spectrometry camera to their data collection options.
The presentation prompted many questions from RRS members, and there was a lengthy description of the prior failure, refurbishment, and upgrades made to their mobile and modular test stand. The team expects to conduct coldflow testing in the coming months, and hope to use the MTA to test fire a CalTech rocket and a UCSD project sometime in the coming summer.
REVIEW OF RECENT MTA EVENTS
Following the UCSD presentation, membership discussed the recent events at the MTA since the March meeting. On March 12, Dimitri delivered and placed the new 40-foot storage container, Bill Inman performed his second and final burst test of a fired vessel for steam rocketry, and members conducted low and high-power launches. A firing report from Dave Nordling can be found here.
On April 2nd, LAPD CSP sponsored an event with STRIVE featuring Baby Bertha launches, a high-power launch, and one zinc-sulphur alpha. Maintenance of the MTA site was also performed that day by USC RPL and RRS president, Dave Nordling. A firing report from Dave can be found here.
UPCOMING MTA EVENTS
April 14th-15th the UCLA Rocket Project plans to use the Dosa Building at the MTA in preparation for a launch from our neighbor FAR on 4/16/2022. We are requiring that the group complete some site maintenance by way of brush clearance to help reduce the risk of fire at the MTA in exchange for use of the Dosa Building.
On April 23rd, USC RPL intends to static fire their Earthshaker 4 solid rocket, as well as launch a 6-inch rocket called Jawbone from the MTA. The group has been working with Jim Gross, who will be the pyro-op in charge that day. USC has also been conducting repairs on the concrete pad below the vertical test stand, including anchor bolt removal, concrete patching, and installing a new, larger female anchor bolt pattern via a template for accurate placement of future projects from any team.
The University of Michigan (MASA) is planning to conduct testing at the MTA from May 6th – 13th. Mutliple pyro-ops from the RRS will be required to support the campaign that the students hope to complete. The TRR is 4/21/2022, pyro-ops who are available should reach out to the RRS President to request the meeting details at: email@example.com Cryogenic deliveries to the MTA through Linde in Lancaster have been resolved, which was an important step considering the difficulties from the last time MASA tested at the MTA.
Frank and Larry have been teaching another rocketry class, this time with the YMCA. This class also uses Big Bertha launches and will likely include an alpha launch as well. This launch is planned for May 21st.
In early June, UCLA Senior Capstone project will use the MTA to launch rockets they have been building.
New and improved website coming soon!
Two new members of the society joined the Compton Comet team, Drake Perason and Alexis Monitel
Reminder for all pyro-op’s to renew their licenses with CALFIRE using new online system, deadline 6/30/22
Quarterly Amazon Smile disbursement
SAFETY AND RISKMITIGATION
Richard Dierking requested info on eye-wash station or similar on-site safety shower. Richard is researching and will present to the executive council in a few weeks.
Richard Garcia did research on flame stacks, and whether the RRS should require their use when methane is used at the MTA. He is working on building reference to know what safe distances should be based on existing plume models. As the RRS Director of Research, Richard may draft a paper to add this information to the RRS member library. Other members or student groups with papers they would like considered for addition to the library can contact Richard at:
NEXT MONTHLY MEETING
The next RRS monthly meeting will be held virtually on Friday, May 13th 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.