Category Archives: Aerospace History

New Projects and Board to Kick off the Year

With the start of a new school year, YUAA has a new set of projects and a new board. This year YUAA will take on a new set of projects. Some, such as the Rocket Competition Project, are continuations of successful projects from previous years meant to cater to new members. Others, like the Advanced Project and the Multi-Stage Rocket Project, build on projects from last year, specifically the UAV and Rocket Competition projects. A fourth and final project, the Radio Astronomy Project pushes YUAA into entirely new territory as we take on the task of designing and building a radio telescope. Our first meeting will be on Wednesday September 3rd at 7:30 pm in the Mann Center.

We are pleased to announce this year’s executive board below who will make these projects possible.

Permanent Positions
Co-Presidents: Genevieve Fowler and Bolun Liu
Treasurer: Gerardo Carranza
Public Relations Director: Renita Heng

Project Leaders
Rocket Competition: Lucia Korpas
Multi-Stage Rocket: Warren Zhang
Radio Astronomy: Devin Cody
Advanced Project: Thomas Ryan

Last year’s presidents, Ari Brill and Jeff Gau will remain on board as senior advisors.

YUAA Awarded 2nd Place in Payload Competition

Last Friday, June 27th, the Rocket Competition Team launched their rocket Chronos to a whopping 7,003 ft at the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition in Green River, Utah. The flight resulted in a safe and successful recovery of the rocket and an excited team.

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The rocket carried a payload of an atomic clock, a rubidium oscillator, which when synced with clock on the ground and examined using a phase comparator could detect the effects of general and special relativity, a time difference on the order of picoseconds. The rocket also carried an environmental control system to dampen shock and vibrations and control for heat. This system was designed to allow sensitive equipment to be used inside a rocket and is applicable to more experiments than just the one the team chose to perform.

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The temperature control system was known to function for at least an hour and a half after the clock was turned on. In theory, this is more than enough time to launch and retrieve the rocket. Unfortunately due to delays at the launch including an igniter which did not quite light the motor the team did not get to launch until about three hours after the start of the experiment. This meant that the system did overheat, and some time during the rocket’s flight, the leads connecting the battery to the atomic clock were disconnected, preventing the team from comparing the phases of the clocks at the conclusion of the launch. However, the team collected good data on the conditions of their control system and from this data was able to analyze the rocket’s flight and the payload chamber’s temperature over time. This allowed them to further asses the effectiveness of their control system.

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An awards ceremony took place the following Sunday at which the team was given second place out of 36 teams in the payload competition.  In addition to the official awards, the judges gave out unofficial prizes for various small achievements. YUAA’s rocket competition team was presented with the “Light Speed Award” for “trying to prove Einstein wrong.” The prize of a solar charging LED lantern certainly widened the smiles of the team member’s faces.

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After a year of handwork and dedication, the team was ecstatic to have their efforts recognized. Not only did the team successfully launch to the highest altitude ever achieved by a YUAA rocket, they also gained valuable skills and formed lasting friendships as they faced all the challenges rocket engineering threw at them.

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Aeronautica Knocks Yale’s Socks Off

YUAA’s 2014 Aeronautica was a great success with over seventy-five people in attendance. In addition to premiering a new video, the event featured a keynote address by Stephen Hall (’14) and Jan Kolmas (’14), who have been with the organization since its beginning in 2010. The pair discussed YUAA’s growth from two people in a room with a blackboard to over forty in the CEID, building rockets, planes, and more. After reporting on the success of the Eli Whitney which competed at the Battle of the Rockets competition last April, they also presented this year’s completed and ongoing projects, the Lighter than Air Competition, the Rocket-Deployed UAV, the Rocket Competition, and the Quadcopter.

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Stephen and Jan took time to honor those who have helped YUAA over the years. This year, awards were given to Harley Pretty of the Yale SEAS office, CEID Design Mentor, Larry Wilen, CEID Assistant Director, Joe Zinter, and graduate student Joe Belter.

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After a wonderful talk, the audience gathered around tables where they saw the projects, including a fifteen foot rocket, first hand. Professors, friends, Professor Udo Schwarz, who many of the YUAA members have taken classes with, even tried his hand at flying YUAA’s blimp!

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YUAA Prepares for its Second Annual Aeronautica

YUAA members are gearing up for Aeronautica which will be this Wednesday, April 2nd at 6:30 pm. Stephen Hall (‘14) and Jan Kolmas (‘14) will give a keynote address discussing the progress of the organization over the years and this year’s projects. Project teams are hard at work preparing for launches, flights, and competitions and are eager to share what they have been doing with the larger YUAA and Yale community at the project showcase and reception.

If you joined us last year come hear about the great success of the Astro-Egg Lander and Eli Whitney at the Battle of the Rockets Competition last April. Attendees this year can also expect to see multiple rockets, flying blimps, and a plane with rotating wings.

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YUAA Remembers Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia Disasters

The end of January brings about the anniversaries of three fatal space missions: Apollo I on January 27th, 1969, Challenger on January 28th 1986, and Columbia on February 1st, 2003. The Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association would like to pay respects to the valiant crew members who gave their lives to advance man kind’s understanding of space.


Crew of Apollo I: Edward White, Command Pilot; Virgil ‘Gus” Grissom, Commander; Roger Chaffee, Pilot


Crew of Challenger: Francis R. Scobee, Mission Commander; Michael J. Smith, Pilot; Gregory B. Jarvis, Payload Specialist 1; Christa Mcauliffe, Payload Specialist 2; Judith A. Resnik, Mission Specialist 1; Ellison S. Onizuka, Mission Specialist 2; Ronald E. McNair, Mission Specialist 3


Crew of Columbia: David Brown, mission specialist; Rick Husband, commander; Laurel Clark, mission specialist; Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist; Michael Anderson, mission specialist; William McCool, pilot; Ilan Ramon, payload specialist