July 2021 Virtual Meeting


by Keith Yoerg (RRS Secretary)


The latest meeting of the Reaction Research Society took place Friday, July 9th and had 15 attendees who came and went – all members. We kicked off the meeting chatting about various items, including the news that Relativity Space (a 3D-Printed rocket engine company led by 2 USC Rocket Propulsion graduates who have tested rockets at the MTA) has just signed a contract for a building in Long Beach.

Screenshot of discussion during the monthly meeting

RICHARD BUTTERFIELD REMEMBERANCES

The RRS received sad news of the passing of an extremely devoted and well liked member – Richard Butterfield. Richard became a member of the RRS in the 1950s, and was heavily involved in recruiting new members for the organization while he lived in Long Beach working for a local aerospace company. Eventually, he moved out to the Mojave Desert at some land to the northwest of the MTA. Following a fire at his property which destroyed his workshop & part of his house he moved back into town.

Richard Ransom Butterfield, 1933-2021

Several members who knew Richard shared their remembrances and stories of Richard, recalling that he was always very welcoming to those new to the hobby. All spoke very highly of him. We intend to compile a more formal collection of stories (and photos) to pay proper tribute to this great man.

MTA PERMANENT BATHROOM UPDATE

Progress is continuing on the permanent RRS Bathroom structure. A 20-foot shipping container has been purchased and work is being done to cut out areas for doors and ventilation windows. That work is expected to be completed within the next week or 2, at which time the container will be delivered to a hangar of RRS member Wilbur Owens for the next stages of construction including adding plumbing, fixtures, and the doors and windows. See below for a schematic of the current plans for the bathroom.

A side-view and floor plan of the container bathroom

The bathroom conversation opened a discussion on other MTA site improvements that members would like to see – including solar power solutions, firefighting (possibly via a Kowasaki mule or similar ATV), and sun-protection behind the Dosa building. While the bathroom is the top site improvement priority, these other improvements are an important part of providing a world-class location for amateur rocket enthusiasts to conduct their activities.

AMAZON SMILE DONATION

The RRS received $23 in donations as a result of members and others using smile.amazon.com when ordering online – and selecting the Reaction Research Society as the charity to benefit. Thank you to all who have helped with this contribution, it should help us celebrate when we can finally have our monthly meetings in-person once again (pizza party anyone?).

Register your account with Amazon Smile to donate to the Reaction Research Society

IN-PERSON MEETINGS IN GARDENA

While the City of Gardena does not have concrete plans on when they may re-open the Ken Nakaoka Community Center – they have informed us that it will be the last thing that is going to open. It sounds like Gardena is taking a very cautious approach, and intends to see how opening the parks goes first and then move from there. While we don’t know for sure – the hope is that we may be able to host an in-person meeting in September. Members will be informed via the monthly meeting invite once meetings will be allowed in person again.

Out of town members (temporary or permanent) don’t need to worry – we will continue to provide a zoom component for our meetings to allow those members to join. We have several members who have been very dedicated to meetings but would have trouble making it in-person & we want to keep everyone engaged! Not to mention it makes guest presentations from colleges and other groups from around the country much easier.

CLASSES & COMMUNITY OUTREACH

Frank has been working diligently to set up classes to get back to our community outreach of getting the local youth exposed to & excited about rocketry. The goal is to teach out of the Strive learning facility in Watts, which has been providing a space for local at-risk youth to expand their horizons for over 30 years. We pan to teach the classes on Wednesdays in September – and then taking the kids for a launch day at the MTA in early October.

Frank showing information about the Strive Learning Center to the RRS membership

Any members interested in assisting the teaching of these classes can reach out to Frank at: vicepresident@rrs.org.

NEXT MONTHLY MEETING

The next RRS monthly meeting will be held virtually on Friday, August 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:

secretary@rrs.org

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

April 2021 Virtual Meeting

by Keith Yoerg (RRS Secretary)


The latest meeting of the Reaction Research Society took place this past Friday, April 9th and had 15 attendees – including another guest presenter. We kicked off the meeting by watching footage of Bill Inman’s Solar Cat launch from March, and a video of a liquid engine static fire from the Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Space Program, who presented to the RRS about their project last month.

Screenshot of discussion during the monthly meeting

GUEST PRESENTATION – WILSON F/X LAUNCH CONTROLLERS

Brad Wilson from Wilson F/X launch controllers was our guest presenter for this month, continuing our recent discussions on wireless launch controllers. Brad started the company roughly 20 years ago with Dan Fox, after building launch controllers for their local high power rocketry club in the midwest. They began with a wired single pad controller, and have since expanded to build 64-pad systems as well as adding wireless firing capabilities. Their wired and wireless modules are in use by many local rocketry clubs including ROC and FAR, as well as others around the country. The largest motor known to have been flown on a Wilson F/X system was a size Q at a rocket launch in Black Rock.

Richard Dierking modeling the wireless launch module from Wilson F/X

RRS members had a lot of good questions for Brad, who was gracious enough to explain several different features and specifications of his system. Both the wired and wireless Wilson F/X systems use 32-bit encryption to send the firing signal from the control box (where the operator flips the switch) to the pad box (which supplies the current to light the ignition charge). This means the control box is required and the pad box cannot be used by itself to fire the motor. Brad sent along some product specification sheets for RRS members to review. Any member that would like a copy can request one by emailing the RRS secretary at: secretary@rrs.org

EVENTS AT THE MTA

After a brief discussion about the March launch event, the group began planning for the MTA event the day after the meeting. Several members with projects that have become staples at our recent events planned to join for the launch – including Bill Inman’s Solar Cat, Wolfram Blume’s Gas Guzzler, and “Yoerg Challenge” low-power model rockets from Dimitri Timohovich and Keith Yoerg. In addition, Larry Hoffing expects to have experimental motors ready for testing.

A low-power rocket launch near the MTA entrance

2 additional fights are expected – a rocket from the USC Rocket Propulsion Lab flying on an experimental 6″ diameter motor and BPS.space, flying on a commercial N sized motor. A write-up on these activities will be available within the next few days.

LAUNCH COORDINATION BETWEEN RRS & FAR

Rick Maschek joined for the meeting and began a discussion about coordination of launching activities between the RRS and our neighbors at FAR. With activity picking up at both organizations, it’s becoming more common for us to have event scheduled at both sites for the same weekend. Because of the proximity of our launch sites, rockets have been known to launch from one and land near the other.

Both groups are committed to safety when performing rocket activities, and improving communication about launches between on-site personnel in each organization has been identified as a priority. One option suggested is to alternate weekends between the organizations so that events do not overlap. Since weather and other schedule considerations can sometimes make that difficult to implement, it was agreed that radio communication should be established on days when both organizations are operating so that everyone will be aware of impending launches.

YOUTH OUTREACH CLASS

Frank Miuccio updated the membership on the status of the youth outreach programs that the RRS hosts, which seem likely to happen but are more complicated due to COVID-19 precautions. A classroom space large enough for adequate physical distancing has been found, but travel to the MTA site will likely not be possible until more restrictions are lifted.

Because the demonstration of rocket flights is one of the more engaging aspects of the class, Frank has begun developing a class plan that would allow for more hands-on activities without pyrotechnics. Soda straw rockets propelled by air and film canisters propelled by a baking soda & vinegar mixture are 2 ideas being pursued to give the students an exciting achievement until an MTA visit can be safely arranged.

NEXT MONTHLY MEETING

The next RRS monthly meeting will be held virtually on Friday, May 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