by Keith Yoerg (RRS Secretary)
The latest meeting of the Reaction Research Society took place via video call on Friday, February 11th and had eighteen attendees.
DISCUSSION ON USC RPL STATIC FIRING – EARTHSHAKR III
The meeting kicked off with a discussion of the static fire that was to be conducted the following day at the MTA. Osvaldo Tarditti will be the Pyro Op in charge. The wear and tear of testing has become evident on the concrete pad near the vertical test stand, and a question was raised about the best option for future tests by USC at the MTA. Some RRS members raised concerns about any additional drilling into the concrete, and have expressed a desire to eliminate the tripping hazard of permanent bolts. One option discussed and preferred by some members was launching in a vertical orientation. Other members prefer the horizontal orientation that USC has been using.
All members agreed that safety is the #1 priority. John Krell recalled having a friend die in the 60s from fragments of a metal casing that exploded. USC uses a carbon fiber casing, which produces much less dangerous fragments in the event something goes wrong. Fiberglass was mentioned as another alternative safer than metal.
REMINDER TO PAY DUES
We received another reminder to pay dues for 2022 from the Treasurer:
- $40/year for full members was due on January 1st
- $20/year for student members
- Pay via PO Box or “Donate” button to the right
PRESENTATION ON THE COMPTON COMET PROJECT
Joel Cool-Panama and Manuel Marquez presented on the progress of the “Compton Comet.” This RRS project utilizes a 1,500 lbf LOX/ethanol engine. The rocket is under construction at Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum at the Compton/Woodley Airport.
Both presenters (Joe & Manuel) are RRS members and students at CSU Dominguez Hills. The hopes are to complete a static fire of the liquid rocket engine at the MTA sometime this year.
UPDATES ON MTA SITE MAINTANENCE & UPGRADES
The discussion then moved to the progress on site upgrades and maintenance: namely the new bathroom and the repair of the Dosa Building window that was broken during Bill Inman’s destructive propane bottle test. On the bathroom front, there was little progress to report. Dimitri is taking the lead on bathroom construction but had been working on pyrotechnics for the Los Angeles Super Bowl, which understandably left little time for the bathroom construction. Progress is expected to pick back up in the upcoming weeks.
Osvaldo outlined the plans he had to repair the glass in the Dosa building. Because this is not the first time a window had to be replaced, Osvaldo designed an aluminum frame which locks into place and allows removal and replacement of the pane from inside the Dosa building. He intends to install a plexiglass panel in the place as a test. It would likely be more resistant to shattering, but may get cloudy or present other unforeseen issues. The only way to find out is to test it!
DISCUSSION OF BILL INMAN’S DESTRUCTIVE TEST
As mentioned earlier in this post, Bill Inman conducted an elevated temperature burst test of a 5-gallon (20-pound) propane container partially filled with water. A detailed report on that test from Bill can be found here.
DISCUSSION OF UCLA LIQUID TEST FIRING
Earlier in February, UCLA planned 3 liquid rocket engine tests in a single day – an ambitious goal. A summary of the day from the Pyro Op in charge, Dave Nordling, can be found here.
UPDATE ON THE NEW FEE STRUCTURE FOR MTA USE
The executive council approved a new fee structure for use of the MTA, which are specific to non-RRS members. RRS members are still allowed to use the site with the usual requirements in place. The new fee structure is as follows:
- $1,000 / day for schools
- $1,500 / day for private companies
A minimum 14-day advance notice is required, and reservations are subject to availability of Pyro Ops qualified to oversee the testing taking place.
UPCOMING MTA EVENTS
The MTA has a busy several months coming up. Frank updated the membership on the student classes, a new set of which will begin on the 23rd of February for the LAPD Strive class. Classes are scheduled once a week through March with the launch on April 2nd. Another set of classes with the YMCA will begin in early April, with a similar schedule and a launch date set for May 1st.
The University of Michigan has requested the MTA be reserved for a testing campaign on a LOX-RP1 liquid rocket engine from May 6th – 13th. USC has also expressed interest in conducting further testing in the near future.
Wolfram Blume updated the membership on his project the “Gas Guzzler.” He is finalizing the re-build of the parts damaged in the last flight and hopes to have the repairs complete in late-February, with a new launch shortly thereafter.
NEXT MONTHLY MEETING
Chris Lancaster has been corresponding with a museum in Germany who has one of George Garboden’s rocket motors installed in a racecar. They are preparing a presentation for the March meeting about this machine of interest!
The next RRS monthly meeting will be held virtually on Friday, March 11th 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.