All posts by yaleaerospace

Red Glare: Rocket Team’s First Launch of the Year!

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.


Ziggy being prepped for launch


Final assembly before launch. Ziggy is ready to go!


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.


Coasting down to earth after a successful launch!


Team members packing up the parachutes after recovering the rocket.


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.

Looking onward to IREC and Utah in the summer!

YUAA Speaker Series Talk with Andy Hoskins

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!

YUAA Receives Quanergy and Alcoa Funding!

YUAA is proud to announce 2 major additional funding awards!

We received a combined total of over $10,000 from Quanergy Systems and Alcoa Inc. – money that shall prove invaluable in the continuation of our 4 projects.

YUAA would like to extend our gratitude to both Quanergy and Alcoa for their continued help and support over the years.

Quanergy Logo

Entrepreneurship in Aerospace: YUAA Speaker Series

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.

SpaceVision Conference 2015

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!

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).