October Newsletter

To all Aerospace Engineers and Enthusiasts,


After a busy start to the year, UW-Madison AIAA has started a few enduring projects for the 2019-2020 school year. The largest of which are the 2020 International Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC) and WI Space Race. Besides these projects, AIAA has numerous social events planned.

This Friday, October 4th, we are holding our first Friday After Class with Riccardo Bonazza at 5:00PM. We will be bowling in the Sett at Union South. Professor Bonazza is on faculty with the Engineering Physics department and studies experimental fluid mechanics. He has taught ME 363 Fluids, ME 572 Gas Dynamics, EMA 521 Aerodynamics, EMA 522 Aerodynamics Lab, EMA 523 Flight Controls, and EMA 601 Rocket Propulsion. This is an excellent place to ask questions about research, classes, and the aerospace industry.

Next week Wednesday, October 9th, there will be an info session with Boeing. More information will be made available once we have an official time and location for the event.

Our second Friday After Class will be with Matt Allen and potentially Sonny Nimityongskul on October 25th at 5:00PM. The plan is to climb at the Sett in Union South. Matt Allen is our AIAA advisor and studies vibrations and controls. He has taught EMA 545 Vibrations, EMA 540 Experimental Vibrations, EMA 550/642 Orbital Mechanics, and many others. In addition to teaching Professor Allen is an expert in dynamics and vibration of structures such as aircraft and launch vehicles. Professor Nimityongkul has taught EP 271 Programming, EMA 202 Dynamics, EMA 303 Mechanics of Materials, EMA 405 Finite Element Analysis, EMA 469 Senior Design, and EMA 545 Vibrations. This will be similar in structure to our first Friday After Class with Professor Bonazza.

Another off campus networking event is going to be the 3rd annual Bucks Aerospace Jam. The tentative date for this event is Saturday, November 3rd in Milwaukee. This event will consist of a speaker from the Aerospace Industry, a networking session, dinner, and free admission to a Milwaukee Bucks game. More information and a sign up will be coming out in the near future.

One of the last campus events we have planned for the semester is an event that we are hosting with AIAA Wisconsin. Greg Meholic is a Senior Design Engineer at the Aerospace Corporation and will be speaking on Advanced Space Propulsion Concepts. This is scheduled for November 14th at 6:00PM in ME 1163. This is a great place to meet and learn from a practicing aerospace engineer.

This Spring we will be taking a trip to New Orleans to tour NASA Michoud Assembly Facility, Stennis Space Center, and Marshall Space Flight Center. This has been put into motion by Brewster Shaw, an Engineering Mechanics Alumnus from UW-Madison and Space Shuttle Astronaut. More Information will be released at a further date. If you are interested in participating in the Spring Trip please contact Sam Jaeger.

Besides our scheduled social events our competition teams have made substantial progress this past month.

IREC has been running preliminary simulations to figure out the size of the competition rocket. Furthermore, the IREC team is in the process of fabricating a test stand which we will use to collect data our student research and developed solid rocket motors. The test stand will be completed by the end of the week and we hope to perform our first test by the end of next week. The data we gather from our test will go a long way in informing our designs for the IREC rocket and future iterations of the solid rocket motor.

Space Race has made some significant design changes to their rocket. The largest thing they are working on now is a half scale rocket that will be run on a solid rocket motor. This will test some flight control algorithms as well as electrical hardware. This will be launched in the next month. Secondly, there was a decision made to switch from Hydrogen Peroxide as the oxidizer to Liquid Oxygen. This was done because of issues with regen cooling within the engine and cleaning issues throughout the fuel system.


Below is what the structures team on Space Race worked on last month:

A first iteration of the rocket’s structure is finished, being designed for RP-1 as the fuel and hydrogen peroxide as the oxidizer. At 30 feet long, 13 inches in diameter, and 500 pounds it presents a significant manufacturing challenge along with issues associated with such a slender aspect ratio. Optimizations are currently being performed to reduce the weight, increase the stiffness of the rocket, and simplify the manufacturing requirements. A major future design change follows from swapping the oxidizer to liquid oxygen. This brings cryogenic requirements to the structure while changing the overall rocket size. – Travis Sheperd, Structures Lead


Below is what the propulsion team worked on last month:

In recent months, the propulsion team has initiated a design shift from using hydrogen peroxide as the oxidizer to using liquid oxygen (LOX). The team has been hard at work resizing the engine and redesigning each component. Currently, great focus is being placed on the injection system. Having this design complete will make it possible to write a formal test plan and begin ordering hardware for our first phase of testing. Farther down the road, extensive research and development will need to take place for the nozzle. This includes a heat transfer model, which will dictate which method is used to cool the nozzle. We are excited about our progress and will be ready for the upcoming design review in November. – John McShane, Propulsion Lead


Below is what the launch ops team worked on worked on last month:

The launch ops team has been steadily working on developing an electrical launch umbilical that will provide power to the rocket’s mechatronics hardware while the rocket is sitting on the pad.  During launch, the umbilical will detach from the rocket, freeing it from the launch rail. We have also been working to determine how to get the rocket to New Mexico to Launch. We will be shipping it down there and have been compiling information regarding ESD and shock sensitive hardware, in regards to the containers they will be placed in. – Jacob Keip, Launch Ops Lead


If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to reach out to anyone on our leadership board. If you plan to be active within the club (i.e. attend events like Friday After Class or participate on a competition team) please pay your dues. As listed on the Wisconsin Involvement Network webpage, AIAA charges a $20 membership fee every semester. These fees are credited to our official non-profit bank account, and will be used to cover future expenses. ALL AIAA/WISR members are required to pay the club fee for Fall 2019. You can either give a check/cash to one of the AIAA leadership board members at the next meeting, or Venmo @Moubarak-Jeje (www.venmo.com/Moubarak-Jeje). The final deadline to pay dues is October 14th.


Ad Astra!


AIAA Leadership Team


Andrew Marek

AIAA President



Sam Jaeger

AIAA Vice President



Moubarak Jeje




Artun Kadaster

Communications Officer