March 2022 virtual meeting

by Keith Yoerg, Secretary, Reaction Research Society

The society held its monthly meeting for March on Friday, the 11th, at 7:30pm by teleconference.

The following items were on the agenda.

  • Chris Lancaster’s presentation on rocket bikes and drag racing history
  • Review of recent MTA events, USC RPL static fire
  • Upcoming events at the MTA
    • Delivery of new 40-foot storage container by Dimitri Timohovich
    • Site maintenance and upgrades
    • Wolframe Blume’s next flight of the Gas Guzzler
    • Bill Inman’s testing for steam rocketry
    • Low power launches
  • Upcoming university event requests and inquiries
    • USC RPL static fire and flight
    • University of Michigan, MASA in May 2022
    • UC Irvine and Cal Poly Pomona
    • UCLA
  • Student classes and launches
    • LAPD CSP – STRIVE event, 4/2/2022
    • YMCA classes, launch on 5/1/2022(?)
  • RRS post office box, renewal and other options

We spent the majority of our time on the subject of early rocketry in drag racing and rocket bikes. Chris Lancaster of Pennsylvania spent an extraordinary amount of time researching this subject and the specific rocket bike built by Henk Vink now on exhibit in Germany. A stand-alone article on this topic may be forthcoming.

Henk Vink, racing a rocket-powered motorcycle in Europe

The MTA firing report from 3/12/2022 covers the events from that day following the meeting. The anticipated events were discussed at the meeting.

The RRS will continue to keep our post office box in Los Angeles (Inglewood) 90009 for another year. The annual cost has been rising but it remains well used for correspondence.

Reaction Research Society; P.O. Box 90933; Los Angeles, CA, 90009

Our director of research, Richard Garcia, agreed to investigate LNG safety guidelines with regard to flaring of this volatile fuel in amateur rocketry applications. He will submit his findings to the council for internal peer review. The RRS will be creating a policy on this issue as some amateur liquid rocket projects intend to use natural gas (largely methane).

example of an industrial-scale flare stack

Further updates to this meeting report are forthcoming.

Next meeting will be April 8th. For those interested in attending, contact the RRS secretary.

MTA Firing Report, 2022-02-12

by Dave Nordling, President, Reaction Research Society

The University of Southern California (USC) Rocket Propulsion Laboratory (RPL) held a static fire test of their third solid motor design in the Earthshaker series. Prior designs resulted in failures and incremental corrections to the design were made for this test. Earthshakiiest was to be the largest impulse motor made by any collegiate team. Osvaldo Tarditti was the pyrotechnic operator in charge.

Earthshakiiest sits ready for static firing at the vertical test stand with sheet metal in place to protect nearby mounting surfaces.

Given the repeated recent failures of USC motor designs, the society required protective barriers installed in the event of another energetic failure. Unfortunately, this would prove to be a wise choice as failure did result right at startup. All personnel were at a safe distance or behind appropriate barriers.

Earthshakiiest motor ruptured at start and burned itself out.
Damage to USC’s test stand was total, The mounting points in the concrete were damaged such that further use is not possible..

The extreme heat from the explosion and fire destroyed the static fire stand, melted portions of the shielding and severely damaged the mounting points such that further use is not possible. USC is working with the RRS to clear and clean up the pad. Many of these tests are very dangerous and can damage our facilities. The society expects all groups to repair, restore or replace any of our assets damaged. A new method of holding future large solid motors is being discussed.

The society thanks our former president, Osvaldo Tarditti, for supporting this event as the pyrotechnic operator in charge and to Bill Inman for also supporting the event on behalf of the society. The operation was conducted safely and much was learned despite the poor outcome. USC will provide details from the testing soon and a path forward,

November 2021 Virtual Meeting

by Keith Yoerg (RRS Secretary)

The latest meeting of the Reaction Research Society took place Friday, November 11th and had 14 attendees. After a brief discussion on updates to this website (which are currently underway), we got the meeting started.

Screenshot of discussion during the monthly meeting


Official proceedings began with the nomination of Drew Cortopassi as the election chairman for this year. The following candidates were nominated to the ballot for the listed offices (write-in candidates are allowed).

President:    David Nordling (new)
Vice President:    Frank Miuccio (incumbent)
Secretary:    Keith Yoerg (incumbent)
Treasurer:    Larry Hoffing (incumbent)

Administrative and lifetime members should have received a ballot via email. If you believe you should have received a ballot but did not, please contact the RRS treasurer ( Ballots must be submitted by Thursday, December 9, 2021. Election results will be announced at the December monthly meeting on Friday the 10th.


With the election business handled, Osvaldo proceeded to extend a hardy thank-you to the RRS members who assisted in replacing the aging blockhouse roof earlier in the month: Dimitri, Bill, Jon, and Keith. A few photos and a time-lapse video of the process were shown, and an extra thank-you was extended to Dimitri for his efforts over several weekends to both finish the roof and haul the materials to and from the MTA. A more detailed write-up of the process from Dimitri is available on this blog here.


Several groups appeared ready to take advantage of the cooler desert weather during the upcoming month. Most of these events have already taken place at the time of the writing of this report, but were still in the planning stages during the meeting. Reports will be available on this site for each event if they are not already.

The planned events included: on November 20th, UCLA conducting a static firing of an ethanol-LOX liquid rocket in support of attempting to earn the FAR-Mars prize for an altitude of 30,000 ft; on November 28th, Keith Yoerg launching his 8″ diameter, 13′ tall rocket “The Hawk” on a 98mm solid rocket motor; and on December 4th, USC conducting further tests on their 8″ solid rocket motor. Wolfram Blume also expressed interest in attending to continue work on his rocket the “Gas Guzzler.”


Frank updated the membership on the youth rocketry classes. The launch date for the class in Boyle Heights was rescheduled to January 22nd because of concern the students and group may not have had the logistics prepared for the field trip.

Classes with the “Strive” group (which had been discussed in more detail during previous meetings & their write-ups) have been scheduled to run from February 2nd – March 2nd at 4pm on Wednesdays. The launch for this class will take place on March 5th, with March 12th reserved as a contingency day. The plan is to use lessons learned from the Boyle Heights class to help inform how this class will be run, which will also use Baby Berth Estes model rocket kits so that each student will be able to take a rocket home after the launch. Frank is also working with the LAPD “Community Safety Program” (CSP) to schedule a class with that group for the summer of 2022.

Osvaldo showing off the e-match igniters sized for use in model rocket motors

Talking about the classes kicked off a discussion of the support the society has prepared for the launch day during these classes. Osvaldo showed an example of the igniters which we plan to use – something far more reliable than the nichrome wire igniters included with Estes rocket kits. Larry and Dimitri shared what they had learned about the Cobra Wireless Firing System which we intend to use to launch the rockets. Dave Nordling also updated the attendees on the status of the PVC launch pad systems he has been working on.


More RRS members keep catching the bug and deciding to build model rockets! Chris Lujan showed of a model rocket kit that he built with his son and they plan to launch during the next youth launch up at the MTA.

Chris showing off the rocket he built with his son

Keith Yoerg then did an impromptu presentation on the build process that he used for his rocket “The Hawk” by showing a series of photos that he took along the way. This project has been in process since early 2021, and it is very exciting to see it nearly complete!

Photo showing the epoxy injection process for the internal fin fillets on “The Hawk”

Fred Radford then shared about his 8″ rocket – one very similar to “The Hawk” – including some very clever tools for sanding and the build process. This rocket is expected to use s C02 cartridge system for the parachute deployment. Fred is building this and other rockets out of a Maker Nexus makerspace in the Bay Area of California, where he operates his nonprofit “Space Makerspace” to teach kids how to build rockets.

Photo of several of the rockets built in Fred’s classes


The next RRS monthly meeting will be held virtually on Friday, December 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 to your email whitelist to make sure you receive the invitation.