September 2020 Newsletter

Dear Fellow Badgers,


This summer has certainly been one of the most turbulent summers in recent history. With the COVID-19 outbreak, many projects, including ones that AIAA was involved with, were put on hold. With online classes and new rules, AIAA will carry on and tackle new projects as well as finish old ones during this next semester.

One of the new changes this year is that AIAA will be holding all of its meetings virtually via Discord. If you have not already done so, please join our Discord server by clicking this link! Discord can be run on a web browser, but is usually fastest with the desktop client. Since classes are online, please feel free to use the Discord channel as a way to find study groups and ask questions. Most members on Discord are Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics students and would be happy to answer homework questions. AIAA also has a google drive that shares all of its documents. If you are not a member of this shared google drive, please contact Sam Jaeger or Will DeVerter so they can add you.

This year the national AIAA body is offering a $15 annual student membership! This membership will give you access to the AIAA engage forum, virtual lectures, publications, and scholarships. If you would like to participate in the AIAA Student Design Competition, a membership will be required (more information about the Student Design Competition in a little bit). More information can be found via this link.

This summer a few members started an aerospace themed book club to pass the time during quarantine and learn a little bit about aerospace. The titles read were: An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfeild, Ignition! by John D. Clark, Yeager by Chuck Yeager, The Case for Mars by Robert Zubrin, and Introduction to Flight by John Anderson. A full description of each book can be found on the UW-Madison AIAA website.

The Midwest Rocket Launch (MRL) rocket is nearly complete! A good deal of sanding, painting, and electronics assembly still needs to be completed. The first test launch date is scheduled for September 19th and 20th at Bong Recreational Facility. Our final launch date is October 10th at Bong. These launch dates are being conducted with Tripoli Wisconsin. Tripoli launches are an excellent way to learn about high powered rocketry and meet other people from across the state. 

As for meetings, AIAA is going to be holding numerous training seminars as well as lecture events throughout the semester. All of the meetings will be held on the AIAA Discord Channel. New this year, AIAA will be holding an Underclassmen/Freshman night on Tuesday, September 15th at 7:00PM. This meeting will be geared toward Underclassmen and Freshmen who are new to AIAA and/or Engineering and will be an opportunity for them to ask questions about the department and organization. Our first official kickoff meeting will occur on Thursday, September 17th at 7:00PM. At this meeting AIAA will highlight some of its current and prospective projects being completed as well as the overall organization structure. This semester, AIAA is planning on holding 4 virtual seminars. The first one will be on Thursday,  September 24th at 7:00PM and will be an introduction to high powered rocketry. Topics that will be discussed are, how to get a high powered rocket certification, general model rocket design and analysis, as well as Openrocket simulation software. The second seminar will be on October 15th at 7:00PM and will be an introduction to aviation. During the aviation seminar we will discuss how to get your pilots license, general aircraft systems, aerodynamics, and pilot resources. The third seminar will be on the 29th of October at 7:00PM and will be an introduction to propulsion. The propulsion seminar will focus on rocket propulsion and will discuss in depth liquid and solid rocket engines. The fourth and final seminar will be on the 12th of November at 7:00PM and will be an introduction to astronautics. Topics for the astronautics seminar will include a brief history of space exploration, fundamentals of orbital mechanics, spacecraft systems, and future planned missions. Besides general meetings and seminars, AIAA is planning to complete a virtual Friday After Class meeting with an Engineering Mechanics professor in the 3rd or 4th week of October. Typically, Friday After Class takes place at Union South on a Friday at 5:00PM, and is an informal gathering of AIAA students with an aerospace oriented Engineering Physics Faculty member. More information to come with the Friday After Class event. The last major event that AIAA is planning on holding is a virtual distinguished lecture, which will occur in late November to early December. More information to come on that also.

AIAA is looking to compete in the student design competition this year. The two options this year are Undergraduate Aircraft Design: Light Attack Aircraft and Undergraduate Space System Design: Mars Ice Core Sample Return. These competitions will be an excellent opportunity to develop practical engineering design and analysis skills while also working on a very interesting project. These competitions can be completed entirely virtually as nothing has to be built. If you have interest in being on the competition team, please complete this google form. Again, if you would like to be a part of this competition team you will have to be a member of the national AIAA organization.

The AIAA board is looking forward to all of the fun and interesting projects we can complete this year!


Please feel free to contact anyone on the board if you need anything or have any questions.


On Wisconsin!


Sam Jaeger

Engineering Mechanics and Astronautics

UW-Madison AIAA President

(608) 556-7514


Will DeVerter

Engineering Mechanics and Astronautics

UW-Madison AIAA Vice President