Yale Aerospace team makes egg-tossing history

Members of the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association spent Saturday April 6 tossing eggs in the air.

Twenty-three YUAA members traveled to Culpepper, Va., to compete in the annual “Battle of the Rockets” competition, participating in two rocket-based competitions against teams from the University of Cincinnati, the University of Texas at Arlington and various high schools. Competing for the first time, the Yale team won the “astro-egg lander” competition, which involves launching a rocket containing an egg, which they managed to ensure landed safely on the ground.

“Nobody had ever successfully landed in the event — we are the first ones to accomplish that,” YUAA co-president Stephen Hall ’14 said.

The astro-egg lander tournament saw teams build rockets that could launch landing apparati up to 1,500 feet in the air. Led by Ari Brill ’15, Yale’s team was the only to have their device landed on the ground without breaking the egg it contained .

YUAA competed in one other event — “target altitude,” a competition in which teams aimed to launch rockets as high as possible. The University of Texas team won this event, with a height of close to the 1,700-feet mark. Yale did not compete in the third  event, “planetary rover,” which required teams to design rovers that would launch rockets and deploy markers on the ground, Hall said.

“Next year we’d like to participate in the third event as well,” Hall said.

YUAA co-president Jan Kolmas ’14 said the organization received much of its funding from the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science. He added that the two-and-a-half-year-old organization plans to expand its activities and participate in more competitions.

Kolmas said YUAA’s other projects include assembling a “quadrotor” — a rotor with four blades — at Yale’s new Center for Engineering Innovation and Design. The group is also designing a “command center,” an integrated avionics package that aims to centralize tracking and communication of aerial devices into one compact instrument.

YUAA currently has around 40 undergraduate members between its engineering and public relations teams.

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