Today, in the Silliman Annex, YUAA hosted a casual Q&A session with Mr. Richard Sorkin. This was a great opportunity to ask him questions and listen to his lessons from his experiences at Yale, Silicon Valley, politics, and life. Mr. Sorkin talked about what founders such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Peter Thiel, and Elon Musk are really like, and what makes them successful (including a discussion of the Boy Scout – Sociopath spectrum!). Mr. Sorkin spoke about what it’s like to work with a Member of Congress and be involved in POTUS Transition.
Mr. Sorkin is a Silicon Valley based serial entrepreneur, executive, advisor, board member and investor, with total exits exceeding $1 billion and a track record of scaling revenue from $0-20M and $100-$800M. For over 20 years, he has led breakthrough companies commercializing transformative technologies, most recently in Big Data predictive analytics with a focus on energy, the environment, financial services, and politics. Mr. Sorkin’s prior experience includes NASA, Goldman Sachs, Bain, and Kaggle. He has served as a Board Member at private and public companies as well as JFCS, AIPAC PNW, and the Yale Development Board. Extensive political experience includes work on the big data strategy for the 2016 Presidential campaign, Chair of the Technology Advisory Board of Congressman Devin Nunes, and extensive advocacy work in Congress.
Today, Mr. David Maass gave a talk on the Aerospace industry as a part of the YUAA Speaker Series. Mr. Maass provided us with an overview of the Aerospace industry and some of
his experiences. He also talked about what is special about the industry and how it differs from others, primarily to provide insight to those members who may be considering a career in the industry. In addition, Mr. Maass described a few interesting projects he was involved with as an undergraduate, such as a human powered aircraft, inspiring some ideas for future projects for YUAA!
David Maass is President of Flightware, a consulting firm that provides expertise to aerospace and defense firms and the US government. Mr. Maass is an Aeronautical Engineer with BS and MS degrees from MIT. He started his career working for Sikorsky Aircraft in 1977 shortly after they won the contract to produce the Black Hawk helicopter. Four years later he started his own firm, Advanced Composite Products, in Connecticut to design and manufacture parts made from composite materials for a wide variety of applications from the B2 Stealth bomber to guitars. His company merged with another firm and in 1994 he went out on his own again as an independent consultant with Flightware. His clients are mainly in the aerospace industry but he also worked on wind energy and transportation projects. David has also been a Private pilot for 43 years and is a member of Yale Aviation (though now inactive).
In our second speaker series event of the 2016-2017 academic year, we invited Alden Richards, Yale class of 1977, to talk to our members and those of the Yale community about his experiences in the space industry. In a whirlwind 2-hour talk, he took the audience on a journey from the early origins of rockets to his visions of the future of commercial spaceflight.
He spoke about his extremely varied life experiences, and how despite majoring in Medieval English Literature and Contemporary Chinese Legal Practices at Yale, he ended up as a consultant for many space companies, specialising in the high-risk, high-reward field of satellite insurance. A couple of decades ago, WIRED magazine even dubbed him “Space Cowboy” for his charismatic emergence onto the scene. Mr. Richards also teaches a very popular college seminar at Yale titled “Space Industry in US History”, which continues to be very in demand.
YUAA was extremely honoured to host Alden Richards for our ongoing speaker series, and we hope to continue our association with him in the years to come.
YUAA’s first speaker event took place today, October 6th, from 5pm – 6pm in the CEID Lecture Hall.
We hosted Kari Love, who gave a talk on soft robotics for space exploration. The emerging field of soft robotics represents a significant opportunity for novel solutions in the demanding environments of space. Ms. Love’s talk featured a brief overview of the domain of soft robotics, its suitability to space exploration applications, and a survey of NASA funded projects involving soft and/or hybrid robotics. There was also an interesting discussion of the interpretation of next-generation space suits as wearable soft robots, and the exciting potential mechanical counter-pressure presents.
Ms. Kari Love is an administrator and a soft roboticist with a specialty in wearable technology for Super-Releaser, a Brooklyn-based soft robotics R&D consultancy. She worked with Final Frontier Design, a commercial space suit company, from 2013-2016 as Lead Patternmaker and Fabricator. In that role Ms. Love worked as a technical expert on 3 NASA SBIR contracts, a Space Act Agreement, and a contract on Mechanical Counter-Pressure gloves. She also served as a Test Director for hardware validation in parabolic flight conducted with NRC-Canda. Prior to her career in commercial space tech, Ms. Love developed costumes for Broadway for more than a decade, including her Spider-Man:Turn Off The Dark costume which was inducted into the Smithsonian collection. She was also a bridesmaid on the first documented weightless wedding in parabolic flight.
This past week, the Yale Payload Rocket Team traveled to Green River, Utah to compete in the annual Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition. For the competition, the team built a rocket called Ziggy Stardust, which was actually launched once before, successfully, at Red Glare in Maryland. Ziggy was designed to carry a special biological payload: the team designed and constructed an air-sampling system that would sample and trap any microbes in the air at 10,000ft in a robust liquid impinger.
Ziggy launched successfully and the air-sampling system activated as intended. Afterwards, the team worked hard in processing the bacteria collected using a handmade, portable laminar flow-hood, a DIY PCR set-up, and patience.
The competition ended in success, as the team placed 2nd in the payload category out of 60+ teams from around the world.
The competition ran from Wednesday, June 15 to Saturday June 18th.
This past Saturday, 9th April, members of our rocket team travelled down to Maryland to participate in the Red Glare launch hosted by the Maryland Delaware Rocket Association (MDRA). Along with over a hundred other groups, our team wished to launch the rocket they have been working on all year, affectionately named “Ziggy Stardust”, in order to test the launch, recovery, and payload systems before the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition to be held this summer in Utah.
Although bad weather conditions prevented them from launching on Saturday, the team was able to successfully launch Ziggy on Sunday.
The final launch went off extremely smoothly – the rocket went up straight as an arrow and achieved a maximum altitude of 8,500 feet at apogee, exactly as predicted by simulations. This also marks the highest apogee achieved by any of the single stage rockets YUAA has ever built! Parachute deployment also went off without a hitch, and the team was able to recover the rocket without any damage to it during the landing.
In one of YUAA’s most successful launches to date, the rocket team reaped the rewards of all the hard work they have been putting in all year. Now they will move on to analysing the air samples collected by the payload to test for the presence of microorganisms in the atmosphere and to make sure their PCR and DNA sequencing systems are in place for the summer.
In what was one of our most successful speaker series talks to date, YUAA invited Andy Hoskins (Yale ’84) from Aerojet Rocketdyne to talk to members of the Yale community about his work in electric propulsion and his thoughts on the future of the space industry. The lecture was held on Friday, February 12 in the lecture space at the Center for Engineering Innovation and Design (CEID). We had a very good turnout with many members and non-members present to listen to Mr. Hoskins talk about electric propulsion, Japanese space probe adventures, Mars missions, as well as his life after Yale.
In what turned out to be an extremely fascinating, inspiring, and engaging lecture, Mr. Hoskins talked about the different kinds of electric propulsion technologies that Aerojet Rocketdyne develops, including Hall Thrusters and Ion Engines. He spoke about their usefulness and helping reduce the mass of spacecraft, leading to more economical, cost-effective launches. The audience remained engaged throughout the 2-hour talk and there was even a sparkling Q&A session afterward.
Highlights from the lecture included the story of the Japanese Hayabusa space probe that lost its way in space and managed to limp back to Earth on the power of its ion engines (despite failures in the navigation and chemical propulsion systems), his thoughts on the future of Mars exploration, and a particularly inspiring statement comparing the work of aerospace engineers to medieval cathedral builders – lasting and awe-inspring work for the generations.
YUAA would like to thank Mr. Hoskins and Aerojet Rocketdyne for this wonderful opportunity.
Stay tuned for more news about our speaker events!
On 5th December, The Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association invited Dr. Robert Breault (Yale ’62), the founder and president of the Breault Research Organization, to Yale to speak about leadership and entrepreneurship in aerospace. This was the second YUAA Speaker Series event of the semester. Dr. Breault is one of the world’s leading experts in the area of stray light analysis and suppression and the chairman of the Arizona Optics Industry Association.
YUAA hoped to bring Dr. Breault to speak to both our members and to the broader Yale community. We believe that his life experiences and insights can help students thinking about careers in aerospace or in STEM more generally better understand their options. In particular, Dr. Breault recounted his experiences in starting his own company.
The event, held in the Lecture Space in the CEID, saw a pretty good turnout, with both members and non-members in attendance.
At the event, Dr. Breault recounted many of his life experiences, from his scientific experiments in middle school to his time in the military and to his experiences with founding the Breault Research Organisation. He also regaled the attendees with many of his interesting experiences from his time as a Yale undergraduate.
The event was a good success, and was an inspiration for the students who attended. After the talk, they also got the opportunity to interact with Dr. Breault over dinner, held in Silliman College.
This November YUAA traveled to Boston University, to attend the annual national SpaceVision conference for the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS). YUAA representatives included Co-Presidents Devin Cody and Gerardo Carranza, Director of Project Management Lucia Korpas, Advanced UAV Project Leader Andrew Arkebauer, Optical Telescope Team members Raul Monraz Echeverria and Gray Newfield, and Rocket Team and PR Team members Olivia Scharfman and Huy Truong.
SEDS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering students, helping them achieve their goals by connecting students with the aerospace industry and each other. Each year, their annual national conference, dubbed SpaceVision, brings students together from across the nation to meet each other and listen to relevant speakers from around the world.
At the conference, YUAA representatives were thrilled to meet and converse with peers and industry giants alike. This year, their impressive guests included Chris Lewicki, the President and Chief Engineer at Planetary Resources, William Pomerantz, the Vice President for Special Projects at Virgin Galactic, Bob Richards, the CEO of Moon Express, Inc. and distinguished professors from Harvard, MIT, and CalTech. Each gave inspiring talks on the future of space exploration, development, and technology.
YUAA hopes to continue its relationship with SEDS in the future!