Seven UAH students in Space Hardware Club place at AIAA regional

Alex Velicki, Jared Fuchs, William Hankins, Matthew Haskell and Benjamin Thompson

Awards banquet speaker Alex Velicki, a Boeing structural design engineer, with first place winners in the team design competition category, from left, sophomore Jared Fuchs, sophomore William Hankins, junior Matthew Haskell and sophomore Benjamin Thompson.

Alan Lowery

Research presentations involving seven students at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) placed at the recent AIAA Region II Student Conference in Starkville, Miss., and all UAH students who placed are members of the Space Hardware Club.

Placing first in the team competition category was "Concept Study of a Reusable Suborbital Launch Vehicle" by Matthew Haskell, Jared Fuchs, Benjamin Thompson and William Hankins.

Alex Velicki and McKynzie Perry

Awards banquet speaker Alex Velicki with freshmen and sophomore open topic competition second place winner McKynzie Perry, a sophomore.

Alan Lowery

Taking second place in open topic competition for freshmen and sophomores was "Design Considerations When Upgrading the Impulse of a High-Power Rocket" by McKynzie Perry.

Third place in undergraduate technical competition went to "PILOTS: Embedded Software Testing for High-Power Rocketry Payloads" by Sarah Dangelo and Daniel Corey.

"We are ecstatic about this sweep by SHC of UAH papers presented at AIAA! Every year we have more members participate in this conference, and every year we could not be prouder of what they are able to accomplish," said Eliza Dellert, the newly elected SHC president. "The purpose of the Space Hardware Club is to create a professional environment for these brilliant students to prosper in, and they continue to exceed our expectations in what they are able to do with these already complex projects."

Alex Velicki, Sarah Dangelo and Daniel Corey

Awards banquet speaker Alex Velicki with undergraduate technical competition third place winners, from left, sophomore Sarah Dangelo) and junior Daniel Corey.

Alan Lowery

A total of 25 UAH students attended the regional conference, where a total of eight papers were presented from UAH in various competitive categories. From the SHC, 11 members delivered five paper presentations. Dr. Francis Wessling, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, is the SHC advisor. AIAA student chapter advisor Dr. Brian Landrum, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, accompanied the UAH AIAA student competitors to the conference.

"All the UAH presentations were professional and were great advertisements for our quality students and academic program," Dr. Landrum said.

Dr. Shankar Mahalingam, dean of the College of Engineering, and Dr. Keith Hollingsworth, chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, congratulated the SHC on its achievement.

"This is an impressive outcome of Space Hardware Club participation," said Dr. Mahalingam.

"I am always proud of the performance of our students at the AIAA Student Regional, and this year is no exception," Dr. Hollingsworth said. "Congratulations to your members who presented."

The awards are an example of meaningful research that can arise from undergraduates participating in academic clubs like the Space Hardware Club, said Dave Cook, student research coordinator for Academic Affairs and the Honors College.

"Here, students have the opportunity to take what they are learning in the classroom and ‘run with it’ to design, build and test hands-on prototypes, the exact type of functions they'll do in their careers," Cook said. "This kind of practical experience is priceless."