Category Archives: Events

PR Team Wins IREC Photo Contest

While the Rocket Competition team was at Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC) preparing there rocket, Chronos, for a launch which would win them second in the payload competition, the members of the PR team were busy documenting just about everything. After the end of IREC, the photos we submitted in the IREC photo competition. The results are in and Yale the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association won first place! When Dustin Koehler of Little Blue Productions, the judge of the photo contest, was asked which photo had won, he responded saying “honestly there wasn’t one image that I could pick out from what you guys had, there were too many GREAT ones.”

This first place finish is very exciting for YUAA and its PR team. Some of the favorite photos are featured in a video Dustin made by compiling his own footage and that of all the teams and they can all also be found on our gallery page. Check the video out here and look out for the gold Chronos, blue YUAA shirts, and YUAA members braving the desert in arches national park!

YUAA Kickstarts the Year at Extracurricular Bazaar

The Extracurricular Bazaar is one of the most exciting days of the year for new Yalies as it showcases all of the clubs on campus.  Overwhelming, indeed, the Bazaar is a new student’s first glimpse into what activities they might find themselves a part of throughout the duration of their time at Yale. With over one hundred different organizations, the YUAA was proud to connect with 150+ prospective members who demonstrated interest in aerospace engineering. Current YUAA members were excited to recruit new members and talk about this year’s upcoming projects.

The YUAA informational meeting will take place on Wednesday, September 3rd, 7:30 P.M. – 8:30 P.M. in the Mann Student Engineering Center, located on the 1st floor of Dunham Lab.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Team Presents Chronos to Judges at IREC

Members of the Rocket Competition Team arrived in Green River, Utah on Tuesday and were greeted by large mesas jutting out of endless expanses of flat sand. The scene was certainly different than what the team was used to seeing in New Haven. After getting settled in their hotel, the team regrouped after months of being scattered across the country and made the final preparations for their presentation of Chronos, their competition rocket, at the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Rocket Competition (IREC) poster session the next day.

Team Photo

The team’s presentation centered around their payload, a system for environmental control during a test experiment involving sensitive sensors and electronics. The team controls shock and vibration using specially selected padding and springs and prevents overheating by encasing sensitive instruments in gallium. Using a temperature probe and two accelerometer and gyroscope sensors, data will be taken about the conditions of the payload to tell the team about the effectiveness of the system


To test their system the team has designed an experiment to test for the effects of general relativity. Using two atomic clocks, one on the ground and one in the rocket, the team can compare the expected time difference with the one measured. The closer the two times differences are, the more effective the system has been.


The judges were impressed with the ambitious set of experiments and the Chronos as well. The team is looking forward to the chance to launch tomorrow!


YUAA Hosts Brent Sherwood

This past Wednesday April 30, Brent Sherwood spoke to the YUAA and other interested students and faculty about his career in the aerospace industry and his vision for where the industry should devote its resources. Sherwood’s interest in “offworld urbanism and the trans-human settlement of space” came through as he talked about possibilities of space tourism, moon colonies, and harvesting energy from radiation in space.


Sherwood is a Yale alumnus with a B.A. and M.Arch in Architecture. He currently works at NASA JPL as a solar system missions manager and is also an officer of Additionally, he worked at Boeing for 17 years leading space mission concept development, program development, business development, manufacturing engineering, and concept engineering.


Before the talk, Sherwood met with YUAA members in a smaller group setting and answered questions. He answered difficult questions about the justification and future of space exploration with a refreshing perspective. After hearing the questions, Sherwood noted the uniqueness of engineers at Yale in their ability to think beyond the science of building a rocket or device and to the societal implications and long term affects of the projects pursued.


Alpha Flies with Flying Colors

The UAV, Alpha, flew successfully again this past Saturday, April 19th. This time, however, the plains wings were attached via a scissor wing mechanism. This mechanism was composed of a laser cut structure and ball bearings which allowed the plane’s wing to rotate on an axis and fold up parallel to the body. The group drove to the Swamp Flyers Flying Club Field and flew the plane for several hours without any issues.


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.


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.


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!


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.

Aeronautica_Lighter than Air_EDIT

YUAA Sponsors Talk by SpaceX Engineer John Muratore ’79


The CEID was buzzing this past Wednesday to hear Yale alumnus,  John Muratore ’79, talk about his experience in the aerospace industry. Muratore opened by talking about his experience with Signals and System, and electrical engineering class still offered at Yale. He struggled through the class, but by its end it decided engineering wasn’t so bad and went on to major in electrical engineering. He encouraged students to stick with the subject if they enjoy it and worry less about grades.

After joining the Air Force out of college, Muratore worked for NASA where he held a number of titles including Program Manager of the X-38 project. This program worked to design a better crew return vehicle. Muratore encouraged the team to use rapid prototyping, working to make the vehicle and the design process cheaper and more efficient. He took a similar stance when, working as Mission Control Center Division Chief at JSC, he led a transformation of the control center to accommodate the International Space Station.

After teaching at University of Tennessee Space Institute for a period of time, Muratore began working for SpaceX in 2011. He recently served as Launch Chief Engineer for the sixth flight of the Falcon 9 in December of 2013 launching the SES-8 satellite and for the seventh flight of the Falcon 9 in January 2014 launching the Thaicom-6 satellite.

Read more about the talk here.

YUAA Presents Projects at Resonance Event

Last Saturday, YUAA gave a demonstration to over 50 kids at the day-long Resonance program, hosted by Yale. Resonance is a full-day science event hosted by Synapse, a Yale undergraduate organization, for high school sophomores and juniors in the Pathways program.


Members of various YUAA teams, including Jan Kolmas, Rebecca Beilinson, Lucia Korpas, Antonio Martinez, and Caitlin Mori, presented our mission and projects as part of the “Hi-Tech Activity & Career Fair”. Students were fascinated to learn about aerospace – a topic usually neglected in science classrooms. The presentations, held at the TEAL Center on 17 Hillhouse, introduced students to exciting new branches of science and engineering.