Our Team


YUAA members work in teams to build and fly rockets, planes, quadcopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles. From first idea to finished aircraft, YUAA projects are entirely student-run. Since 2010, YUAA has helped foster Yale’s engineering community by welcoming students of any experience level or background and hosting events to promote aerospace engineering on campus.

Our Mission

The Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association promotes and advances aerospace engineering through collaboration, innovation, and outreach. YUAA cultivates leaders who meet challenges with discipline and creativity.

Our Projects

YUAA has five exciting projects this year.

  • Rocket: Construct a 2-stage rocket with payload that will reach 30,000 ft and participate in IREC. Project leader: Austin Cheung
  • Liquid EngineResearch and develop a liquid rocket engine. Project leader: Ryan Smithers
  • CubeSat: Construct a CubeSat and cosmic ray detector payload as part of a multi-year project that will culminate this year in launching YUAA’s first satellite in low earth orbit. Project leaders: Yu Jun Shen and Hanah Leventhal
  • Micro-G NeXT: Complete an engineering design challenge targeting microgravity environments and participate in NASA’s Micro-G NeXT competition. Project leader: Mary Ben Apatoff
  • Tensegrity Rover: Construct a unique rover design based on a tensegrity structure. Project leader: Melanie Landesburg

Last year, YUAA worked on the rocket, CubeSat, and Micro-G projects and constructed an ornithopter (robotic bird) capable of self-correcting flight.

Our History

YUAA began in 2010 by launching high-altitude balloon projects designed to photograph the Earth and perform atmospheric experiments. YUAA’s second balloon, Horizon, took this website’s banner image.

In 2013, Yale Aerospace expanded into high-power rocketry, winning first place in the Astro-Egg Lander event of the Battle of the Rockets competition in Culpeper, Virginia. At the same time, YUAA created the Command Center, an electronic control and communication module programmable for use in any aircraft.

A major breakthrough came in the summer of 2014 when YUAA’s rocket team competed for the first time at the highly prestigious Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC) in Utah, and won 2nd place in the payload category. The rocket, Chronos, carried a payload to measure the effects of gravitational fields on time dilation according to special relativity.

In the 2014-2015 academic year, Yale Aerospace underwent some major expansions as we enrolled more new members than ever, and began our first forays into astronomy projects with the Radio Telescope, as well as multi-stage rocketry. The following year we inaugurated our first ever multi-year project, the Cubesat, with the goal of eventually launching it into low earth orbit. In the summer of 2016, YUAA repeated the success from two years ago by winning 2nd place yet again in the payload category at the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition, with our rocket Ziggy Stardust.

YUAA members have traveled to rocket competitions, flown autonomous aircraft, imaged distant galaxies, launched balloons, taken videos with quadcopters, navigated blimps through an obstacle course, tested hybrid rocket motors, and more.

Our Values

YUAA welcomes everyone, regardless of prior experience, skill level, or academic background. Team members learn, link, and apply the many techniques and disciplines that constitute aerospace science and engineering. YUAA grows by building long-term relationships with Yale students and faculty as well as with local and national off-campus organizations.

To learn more about doing fun and challenging engineering in a friendly and exciting environment, contact us at yaleaerospace@gmail.com.