All posts by yaleaerospace

YUAA Receives White House Commendation!

On Monday, October 19, President Obama hosted the 2nd White House Astronomy Night in conjunction with the Office of Science Technology and Policy. Highlights of the evening included a stargazing party on the White House lawns, speeches by distinguished luminaries in the field of astronomy and space science, and the opportunity for guests to network and interact with each other in a celebration of astronomy and STEM education.


Present at the White House was none other than YUAA member Lauren Chambers (Timothy Dwight ’17), representing the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association at the prestigious event. It was a great honour for both Lauren and YUAA, and symbolic of how far Yale Aerospace has come over the last 5 years.


“It’s exciting that the White House is having the event to begin with, but to be involved with it is really great,” said Lauren. She is one of the co-leaders of YUAA’s Optical Telescope project, along with Scott Smith (Branford ’18), who had the following words to add about the scope of their project – “We want to use it as a tool to get people who wouldn’t normally think about astronomy excited about astronomy.”

The cherry on the cake was when the White House Office of the Press Secretary officially recognised the efforts and achievements of the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association on their website. Both the Optical Telescope project and YUAA’s CubeSat project, led by Betsy Li (Saybrook ’18), were recognised as important student contributions to the field of astronomy and space exploration. You can read further about the press release at:

This was truly a momentous occasion for Yale’s premier student-run aerospace organisation, one that we hope will continue to inspire members of the Yale community to explore the possibilities associated with space exploration. To read the Yale School of Engineering’s blog post about YUAA’s role in the White House Astronomy Night, please visit:


YUAA at the CT Space Grant Expo 2015

On 25th September, YUAA members visited the annual CT Space Grant Expo in East Hartford, Connecticut.

Co-President Devin Cody, Rocket team leader Brian Beitler and UAV project second Yerin Kim drove down for an afternoon of lectures, presentation and networking with some of the leading individuals in the CT aerospace circle.



YUAA had won $3000 as grant money from the CT Space Grant Consortium (a NASA initiative) in 2014-15, which it used to fund its projects. During the expo, Devin, Brian, and Yerin presented the details and successes of the various YUAA projects from last year.



YUAA is re-applying for CT Space Grant funds for its current projects, which include an Optical Telescope, a CubeSat, a high performance UAV, and a Competition Rocket.


YUAA Speaker Panel: Careers and Opportunities in Aerospace

Earlier in September, Yale Aerospace hosted a Speaker Panel titled “Careers and Opportunities in Aerospace” for the Yale community. For this event, we invited 3 distinguished Yale alums to talk to interested students about life in the aerospace industry:

Jason Rabinovitch (BS Mechanical Engineering, 2008): NASA Jet Propulsion Lab
Morgan Dwyer (BS Astronomy and Physics, 2008): Aerospace Corporation
Stephen Hall (BS Mechanical Engineering, 2008): Trinity Mobile Networks



The event, sponsored by Yale’s Traphagen Grant, was held at the Watson Center (formerly the Yale School of Management) and attracted a number of undergraduate students interested in aerospace.

To kick things off, Jason spoke about his work at JPL and some of their current projects, including an exciting new helicopter prototype to be used to assist the Mars Planetary Rover. He highlighted the importance of graduate school in his career, and also spoke about some technicalities he had to work through as an international citizen (he is Canadian) working for NASA.

The talk was furthered by Morgan who talked about her experiences working under the US government within the Aerospace Corporation. She stressed upon the key role that systems engineering plays in the work that the United States Department of Defence carries out in the aerospace sector. She also provided a different perspective, as unlike Jason, she entered the workforce straight after completing her bachelor’s degree.

As the final panelist, Stephen spoke about his experiences co-founding the startup Trinity Mobile Networks, and the triumphs and struggles associated with being a young entrepreneur. Being one of the former Co-Presidents of YUAA, he reminisced about his experiences with the organisation, and the projects he worked on during his undergraduate career at Yale.



To cap off a great afternoon, YUAA members had dinner with Jason, Morgan, and Stephen, where the conversation ranged from graduate school to classes at Yale, working in the industry to watching the movies “The Martian” and “Interstellar”.

YUAA hopes to continue collaborating with these 3 alums and to use their knowledge and expertise in hosting workshops, lectures, and connecting better with Yale alumni and the aerospace industry.


YUAA Info Session: September 9th, 2015

Interested in building rockets, rovers, telescopes, satellites and aircraft? Interested in joining one of the largest student-run engineering organizations on campus? Come to the first info session of the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association (YUAA)!

Date: Wednesday, September 9th, 2015
Time: 4:30pm to 5:30pm
Location: Mann Engineering Centre, Dunham Lab

Meet project leaders of YUAA and talk to them about the various projects that you could be a part of, including a payload-carrying rocket, a CubeSat, an optical telescope, and a UAV. YUAA members work in teams on our projects, which are entirely student-run. Since 2010, YUAA has helped foster a culture of engineering and innovation on campus through aerospace projects. We welcome students of any background, interest, and level of experience!

Rocketry at Yale Summer SPLASH

Earlier this summer, in the last week of July, members of YUAA taught a class on rocketry at the Yale SPLASH summer session. SPLASH is a student-run program conducted once every semester, in which undergraduates teach hour-long classes to middle and high school students on the topic of their choice.

Rebecca Beilinson, Bolun Liu, and Thomas Ryan taught a class on the basics of rocketry to participating students from the 7th, 8th, and 9th grades. The class began with an overview of the fundamentals of rocket design and also touched upon the efforts of NASA and YUAA in the field of rocketry. The students were then guided through the process of building their own mini-rockets using water bottles, which they then launched from the Becton Plaza  behind the Center for Engineering Innovation and Design (CEID).






YUAA Selected as Zipcar Grand Prize Finalist

Back in December, YUAA was selected for and won Zipcar’s monthly Students with Drive competition. We were recently selected out of all of this year’s winners to compete in the Grand Prize Competition. We need every vote we can get, so please follow this link to vote for Yale Aerospace. If we win, not only will we win $10,000 for our projects which promote engineering and education at Yale, but also $10,000 in scholarships for Yale students, as well as an additional $5,000 of Zipcar driving credits which help us get to competitions.

Please help us by voting and sharing the page! Every vote counts!

Newly Elected Board Members

It gives us great pleasure to introduce the project leaders, executive board members, and co-presidents of the 2015-2016 school year! Congratulations!

Devin Cody ’17 & Gerardo Carranza ’17

Director of Project Management
Lucia Korpas ’17

Director of Development
Warren Zhang ’17

Project Leaders
Andrew Arkebauer ’17 – UAV
Brian Beitler ’18 – Rocket
Betsy Li ’18 – CubeSat
Scott Smith ’18 – Optical Telescope

Public Relations Director
Pratik Gandhi ’18

Isabella Trierweiler ’18

2015 2016 boardFrom left to right: Warren Zhang, Lucia Korpas, Scott Smith, Betsy Li, Andrew Arkebauer, Brian Beitler, Devin Cody, Gerardo Carranza


Battle of the Rockets — The Finalé

Members of the Rocket Competition Team finished the year strong by conducting three successful launches at the annual Battle of the Rockets Competition. The team spent several months building and perfecting a rocket to be entered in the Target Altitude Event and a rocket-and-rover system to be entered in the Planetary Rover Event.


The target altitude rocket, named “Skylark”, was designed to reach as close to 1625 feet as possible out of three attempts. Skylark’s first launch was beautiful, but due to high winds, the team was unable to recover the rocket after its landing. Even so, Skylark had undergone test launches earlier in the year that had proved successful in reaching the target altitude, and the team felt that their hard work had paid off well.


The team was able to successfully complete two launches for the Planetary Rover Event with their rocket, named “Phoenix”, and their rover, affectionately called “Ground Lark”. Phoenix was designed to reach a minimum of 1000 feet and then deploy the rover, which required a separate parachute system to ensure its safe landing. Upon reaching the ground, the rover would release a marker, travel 10 feet, release a second marker, turn 90 degrees, and travel another 10 feet. During ground testing, all systems for both the rover’s functions and its deployment from the rocket were running well. Unfortunately, although the initial launch was good, complications in the rover’s deployment from the rocket prevented it from being able to fully perform once it reached the ground. However, both Phoenix and Ground Lark were recovered safely, and the rover’s custom altimeter setup and marker-dropping mechanism were shown to work perfectly.


Despite the harsh weather conditions, the team had a blast bringing together everything they had worked for into this weekend event. Over the course of the year, the team had brainstormed and implemented designs for the two rockets and rover that fulfilled the competition requirements in creative and advanced ways. Overall, many members described the year as being a great learning experience, an opportunity to try some hands-on engineering, and (simply put) “really, really awesome”.


The Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association (YUAA) hosted its 3rd annual Aeronautica event on 25th March, 2015 in Sudler Hall, 4:30. It was an evening of rockets, radio telescopes, rovers, and aircraft; a display of the incredible work being carried out by members of YUAA, and a showcase of the scope and power of Yale’s engineering community.

1YUAA is Yale’s largest engineering organization with upwards of 50 active members with backgrounds ranging from engineering to economics, and Aeronautica is YUAA’s most important showcase event of the year where project leaders share their accomplishments with Yale and the local community. Former Presidents Ari Brill ’15 and Jeff Gau ’16 gave a keynote address, highlighting everything the organisation has achieved so far, and what it hopes to achieve in the future. Following the address, the audience was invited to tour the auditorium to look at the various projects, which included a multi-stage rocket, a 2.4 meter radio telescope, a rocket that can deploy a planetary rover, and an unmanned aerial vehicle.


The keynote address itself was delivered beautifully by Ari and Jeff, who presented Yale Aerospace and its role in the Yale community. Ari went through 5 years of YUAA history, from the first projects like high altitude balloons to last year’s IREC (Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition), in which the YUAA team successfully launched and deployed a rocket with a payload designed to test the effects of special relativity. Jeff, on the other hand, talked about the impact that YUAA has had, both at Yale and beyond. His presentation highlighted the role of the organisation in STEM outreach events like SPLASH, the incredible alumni network that YUAA has built up over the past few years, and outreach programs at the nearby Wilbur Cross High School.


With distinguished guests in the audience, including President Peter Salovey, Dean Jonathan Holloway, and Deputy Dean of Yale Engineering Vincent Wilczynski, the team was proud to showcase the results of the hard work and dedication its members have put in over the last 2 semesters. As a graduating senior, Ari stated, “I would have loved to have been a part of this year’s projects, especially the astronomy-based project, but because I, as a senior advisor, couldn’t do that, I did the second-best thing I could — I contributed to building this organization to give it the support it needs to continue growing.” His words embody the vision that YUAA holds moving forward – that of expanding its student base and bolstering the STEM community at Yale.

[To read more, here is a link to the Yale SEAS blog about Aeronautica 2015:]

Construction of 2.4 Meter Dish Completed

The Radio Telescope Team finished construction of their 2.4 meter diameter radio telescope dish this past week. After the components arrived from the Netherlands in mid January, the team got to work riveting the metal frame and mesh together. After weeks of hard work, the team proudly showed off their dish outside of the Becton Engineering and Applied Science Center.

Radio Telescope Dish

The next step is to continue work of the electronics and the dish’s mount which will allow the dish itself to move into place and take data. The team aims to mount the dish to a trailer, making it mobile for research.