December 2021 Virtual Meeting


by Keith Yoerg (RRS Secretary)


The latest meeting of the Reaction Research Society took place by teleconference on Friday, December 10th and had twelve attendees.

Screenshot of discussion during the monthly meeting

RECAP OF KEITH YOERG’S NOVEMBER LAUNCH OF “THE HAWK”

Keith kicked off the meeting with a recap of the first launch of his rocket “The Hawk” an 8-inch diameter 14-foot tall rocket that was flown from the RRS Mojave Test Area on November 28th. The rocket utilized the 1515 rail launcher which was secured in place to one of the concrete pads using sandbags and tie-downs. The motor was a 98mm Cesaroni M1790 Skidmark which features sparks in the trail.

First launch of Keith Yoerg’s rocket “The Hawk”

Keith shared some slow-motion video of the flight captured with a GoPro camera and other data from the flight, including a 3D flight path. The rocket reached an altitude of 4,846 feet as measured by the barometer on the onboard AltusMetrum Telemega flight computer, and was successfully recovered with only minimal damage to the body tube. The rocket is in the process of being prepared for another launch on December 17th to coincide with the anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight.

Map of the flight path with barometric altitudes in red and GPS in blue. The GPS appears less reliable on this flight.

RESULTS OF THE 2022 RRS EXECUTIVE COUNCIL ELECTIONS

Election chairman Drew Cortopassi presented the results of the 2022 executive council elections. The RRS Executive Council for 2022 is as follows:

President:    David Nordling
Vice President:    Frank Miuccio
Secretary:    Keith Yoerg
Treasurer:    Larry Hoffing

The society members in attendance congratulated the incoming new president and other incumbent officers and expressed their gratitude to outgoing president Osvaldo Tarditti for his stewardship of the organization. Osvaldo noted that the future of the group looks bright, and promised to send anyone who asks him a question a photo of him fishing.

USC SOLID ROCKET GRAINS STATIC FIRING

Osvaldo and Dimitri provided a recap of the lengthy solid rocket motor testing campaign that USC conducted at the MTA from December 4-5. On Saturday the 4th, the team worked through the night until around 2 am to be able to complete their goal of firing 20 separate grains of solid fuel by 2:45 pm on Sunday the 5th. The only reported mishap was that the U-Haul the USC team rented broke down just after leaving the dirt road to the MTA, which Dimitri suspected was because they had been using the battery from it to fire the rocket motors.

While the campaign was an ambitious one, the repetitious nature allowed them to get some of the younger students involved who wouldn’t normally be able to take part in on a day when only one motor is being fired. It was remarked that having more young members with hands-on experience is very good for the future of their program and the continuity of knowledge after the upperclassmen graduate. Dimitri mentioned that additional work will be needed to fill in the area of ground blasted away by all the recent USC solid rocket static firings – which has been affectionately named the “Trojan Trench.”

On the same weekend, a team at the FAR launch site launched their “Genesis” rocket – a hypergolic liquid propellant rocket that has been in development since the early 1980’s. Several RRS members had worked on the rocket at various times during its design and fabrication process. Unfortunately, the parachute system did not work and the tanks ruptured on the landing causing a small fire that self-extinguished but was visible from the MTA.

A THANK-YOU FOR DIMITRI’S RECENT WORK AT THE MTA

Our outgoing president, Osvaldo Tarditti, took a moment to extend a special thank you to RRS member Dimitri Timohovich for all of the recent work he has done in improving the facilities we have available at the MTA. Not only did he take the lead in the recent blockhouse roof repair which included several trips up to the site for the initial build, cutting the edges, and installing the tar paper, but he also donated four propane bottles for the society to use in the heaters and BBQ up at the Dosa Building.

The old blockhouse with a new roof.

In addition, Dimitri has agreed to take on the bulk of the work in building out the interior of the containerized bathroom. Three concrete pads have been poured at the MTA to accommodate this 20-foot high cube container as well as another one adjacent to it.

Future site of the RRS containerized restroom facility.

Osvaldo has procured most of the fixtures for the interior and plans to drop them off at Dimitri’s house – where the container will be delivered so that he can work on it more easily. Dimitri gave a tentative timeline of mid-January 2022 for when the container may be ready for transport out to the MTA.

PLANNING FOR MTA EVENT ON DECEMBER 17

Keith discussed his plans for a second launch of “The Hawk” on Friday, December 17th – this time on a Cesaroni N2600 motor. In addition, Dimitri has an RRS Standard Alpha rocket constructed and ready for launch and Osvaldo agreed to prepare one for Keith to get experience with the Zinc-Sulphur rockets. Dimitri volunteered to bring food for the group – award winning caribou chili made from meat they hunted, dressed, and prepped themselves in Alaska.

CALIFORNIA’S NEWEST ROCKETS CLASS 1 PYROTECHNICS OPERATOR

RRS member Dave Nordling informed the group that he recently learned that he passed his Class 1 Rockets Pyrotechnic Operator’s License exam. Congratulations Dave!

Office of the State Fire Marshall (OSFM) governs the licensing of pyrotechnic operators in California.

With additional members continuing to work towards earning their licenses, we can make sure that the RRS is able to accommodate a wide range of rocketry testing and schedule requests.

NEXT MONTHLY MEETING

As a reminder – yearly membership dues are due January 1st. Please click on the yellow “Donate” button on the right panel of this website to pay online via PayPal, or mail a check to the society post office box in Los Angeles.

Reaction Research Society; P. O. Box 90933; Los Angeles, California, 90009-0933

The next RRS monthly meeting will be held virtually on Friday, January 14th 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:

secretary@rrs.org

Please check your spam folders and add secretary@rrs.org to your email whitelist to make sure you are receiving the meeting invitation.

MTA Launch Event, 2021-09-26


by Keith Yoerg, Reaction Research Society Secretary


The RRS Mojave Test Area (MTA) hosted a launch event and work party on Sunday, September 26th. The USC Rocket Propulsion Lab (USCRPL) had arrived a few days earlier to prepare for a static firing of their 8″ diameter solid rocket motor named “Earthshaker II” which took place on the 26th. Several RRS members also answered the “Yoerg Challenge” to launch model rockets, and Dimitri was out with his water rockets. On the work side of things the Dosa building was re-organized, a security camera was installed, and a discussion began on how best to replace the aging roof on the blockhouse.

USCRPL 8″ SOLID ROCKET STATIC TEST

USCRPL had their setup ready for a static test of their 8″ solid rocket motor in the late afternoon, which was secured below the vertical test stand. Unfortunately, shortly after coming up to full power the motor exploded. All personnel were at a safe distance in the bunker and no one was injured. RRS President and Pyrotechnic Operator in charge Osvaldo approached the site once it was safe and extinguished the resulting flames.

Still shot from a video of the USCRPL motor explosion
Pyrotechnic Operator Osvaldo bringing a fire extinguisher to the lingering fires

All requests to use the RRS MTA must be made to the RRS president and reviewed by the executive council.  For any questions about this test series or any future test series, please contact the RRS president.

president@rrs.org

YOERG CHALLENGE MODEL ROCKET LAUNCHES

Many RRS members had model rockets on hand to answer the “Yoerg Challenge” and launch at the MTA site. Dimitri and his son Max launched a “Helios” and “Dazzler” on C6-3 motors. Keith launched a “Baby Bertha” on a B6-4 and a “Big Bertha” on a B6-2. Dave Nordling launched a “Baby Bertha” on an A motor. Bill Inman & Jon Wells also launched model rocket kits, and John Krell launched a model kit on a G motor. (I will endeavor to do a better job of recording the rockets & motors that everyone uses at these launches for more specific reports in the future).

Keith Yoerg, Bill Inman (on the launch box), Waldo Stakes and Diana Castillo wait as the countdown progresses.

We did not have the new wireless Cobra firing system at the MTA site during this event, so we used the 4-pad controller that Dimitri built earlier this year. The controller split its time between this low-power launch pad and the water rockets which Dimitri had set up on the underground blockhouse.

Several of the model rockets ready to launch on the PVC launch pad built by Keith Yoerg

I will also mention that prior to these launches, we enjoyed a nice potluck BBQ of brats, (homegrown) potato salad, chips, beans, and corn. Several members contributed food which was expertly prepared by Becky. We’ve been doing this more often and seem to keep getting better at it every time!

WORK PARTY TASKS

In addition to the more exciting “fiery” aspects of the day, RRS members also completed a lot of routine maintenance at the MTA site. We completed several general organization tasks in the Dosa Building and the storage containers, and a security camera was installed on the Dosa Building. There was also a lengthy and robust conversation about methods to replace the aging blockhouse roof, which has been high on the the society’s list of desired site improvements for several years.

Keith Yoerg and Jon Wells discuss options for repairing the old blockhouse roof.
Security camera installed on the Dosa Building

March 2017 meeting

We started the March 10th monthly meeting a bit late, 7:51pm. As usual, we met in Gardena at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center.

The first item was to discuss the progress of the upcoming RRS symposium to be held Saturday, April 22nd. We have confirmed several speakers and exhibitors including UCLA, USC, Caltech, CSULB, Cal Poly Pomona, Orbital-ATK, Norton Sales, Spaceport America, Mars City Design and the Aerospace Corporation. We still have a few speakers yet to confirm, but we will have a full listing which will be great for our public audience. We encourage everyone to download and share this flyer with everyone who would like to come out to the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena.

rrs symposium flyer 3 rev 1

Osvaldo surprised us all by completing the full-scale mockup of the SuperDosa boosted dart vehicle. The SuperDosa project is the RRS’s recent project to retake the amateur rocketry altitude record and rebuild many of our old capabilities from 20 years ago when the RRS held the record. This will be on display along with RRS standard alpha and beta rockets at the exhibitor hall during the symposium on April 22nd.

SuperDosa full scale mockup(1)

SuperDosa-mockup (2)

Although we’ve been having weekly teleconferences, the meeting offered the opportunity to discuss issues and address questions by all of those in attendance. Dr. Chris Zeineh of the Aerospace Corporation and four students from UCLA’s liquid bi-prop rocket team were in attendance. Frank had printed a few flyers and some of the brochures we plan to have at the symposium.

Our public relations campaign to advertise the RRS symposium is in full gear as we’re trying to get radio and TV spots in the local media market.

Frank also made an Eventbrite posting for the RRS symposium. It’s a free event so there’s no cost to register. Registering allows the RRS to gauge how big our audience might be. We’ll try to have food available at this event. I encourage everyone to register for the symposiuim at this event at the link below.

Eventbrite – RRS symposium (free to register)

John Mariano is working with his contacts at JPL to try to see if we can have the Explorer 1 satellite mockup on display as a really neat piece of space exploration history as this was the United States’ first satellite launched over 50 years ago. We hope we can bring that piece of history to the exhibition.

The Explorer 1 satellite (van Allen, Pickering, von Braun are holding it up)

The RRS has updated our Facebook page to get the word out. The link is below. Our members who are on Facebook should join this group. Anyone else is also welcome to join our Facebook page.

RRS Facebook page

The RRS will create an Instagram account soon which may make viewing our launch event photos and videos much easier. I plan to do this sometime before the next meeting in April.

The weekly teleconferences will continue in the ensuing weeks as we are less than 6 weeks out from the event, but looking to be in good shape. We hope to confirm more speakers and exhibitors very soon.

In other non-symposium related news, the RRS history project is progressing. I made contact with the Caltech Library to acquire electronic copies of three Astro-Jet newsletters from 1945 and 1946 which is when the RRS was known as the “Glendale Rocket Society”. We hope to get these and any other Astro-Jet newsletters added to our library archives soon.

Also, Richard Garcia acquired a nice Marotta solenoid valve from Norton Sales which could come in handy for future projects. The RRS still has plans to build a liquid propellant testing rig in the future.

solenoid valve, Marrotta

Norton Sales – North Hollywood, CA

I am also steadily working on making a simple thrust stand for firing alpha and beta rockets in the near future using the load cell kindly provided by our friends at Interface Force in Arizona.

Interface Force – Load Cells and more

We have rescheduled the March 18th launch event to a week later, March 25th. The girls academic leadership academy (GALA) will be launching four alphas. Larry and I may have another alpha or a beta for this event. We have invited UCLA to attend the launch to show them the Mojave Test Area (MTA) in advance of the two events they will be having with us.

UCLA has confirmed that they would like to conduct a hot-fire test series at the MTA for their IREC rocket systems on April 29th. There will be hybrid and solid motors tests. We also hope to have a few other people conduct launches or hot-firings.

Also, on June 3rd, UCLA will have a launch event at the RRS MTA to conclude the undergraduate class featuring two RRS standard alphas and two RRS standard betas and a set of ten smaller model rockets.

Lastly, USC had a very successful launch of their Fathom II rocket at Spaceport America last week. I invited USC to come and share in their results, but they are still compiling a posting for their website (link below). Also, this Friday they were properly celebrating their success. We hope to read their results soon. Also they have posted photos on their Instagram feed.

USC RPL website

USC RPL – Instagram feed

Our next meeting will be Friday, April 14th. This will be the last one before the symposium (April 22nd). I encourage all of our presenters and exhibitors to come out for this meeting to give you the opportunity to review the space and ask any last minute questions beforehand. Frank Miuccio and I are available anytime to answer questions by phone or email, but sometimes it’s best to walk the space in person.

Let me know if I missed anything or if anything posted here needs correction.
secretary@rrs.org