American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics at San Jose State University

Welcome to San Jose State University's American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) student branch's website. Here you will find valuable information regarding the club and its related activities such as events and project funding.

With more than 35,000 members, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is the world's largest professional society, principal voice, and information resource devoted to the progress of engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. The purpose of our student branch is to support the success of San Jose State University's aerospace engineering students. AIAA will provide its members with access to events, workshops, club room resources, research projects, socials, and other related activities that will connect students with professionals and help prepare them for a career in the aerospace industry.

Past Projects



Project Name: Project Hydra
Contact Info:
Members: Alireza Forouzandeh Tabrizi (Captain), Abhra Dasputa, Aric Garcia, Douglas Hawthorne
Description: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is looking to build a submersible aircraft. Building this submersible craft will change the world of aviation and will open a new chapter in the history world aviation. We believe that building such a craft is well withing our intellectual, creative, and technical capabilities. So far, our work in the process of designing and building this craft has been successful. We hope that AIAA shares our enthusiasm and vision and will help us succeed in this endeavor.

Project Name :  Design, Build, Fly Competition: Team "Flight Risk"
Contact Info:
Members:  Franklin Richardson (Captain), Parth Partel, Thomas Shu, Kevin Sok, Philip Tran, James Zhen
Description: Our project senior project is to build an aircraft that will meet the challenges of this year's DBF competition. The competition is composed of four distinct missions. There is a ground taxi mission, which is new to this year's DBF competition. It is intended to simulate rough ground conditions. Mission 1 is an empty weight ferrying flight mission and is fundamentally a speeds test of each teams' aircraft. Mission 2 does not however depend on speed; it depends on the maximum weight our aircraft are able to successfully fly with. Mission 3 is more specific in the sense that it is made to simulate emergency transportation where wooden blocks resemble patient and medical personnel. Scoring is weighted differently for each mission so our team will study the system to find which areas of the competition should receive the most attention in order to learn how our craft should be optimized to maximize our score. 

Project Name: Design, Build, Fly Competition: Team "The Bernoulli Ballers"
Contact Info:
Members: Matt Miller (Captain), Matt Blanken, Stephen McIntyre, Jill Norris, Jimmy Rico
Description: Designing an R/C aircraft to compete in AIAA's Design Build Fly competition. 

Project Name: Design, Build, Fly Competition: Team "Aero-Penguins"
ontact Info:
Members: Alex Mazhari (Captain), Long Lu, Matt Smith, Brian Graham, Matthew Zupko, Wei Lee
Description: Designing an R/C aircraft to compete in AIAA's Design Build Fly competition.

Project Name: Blended VTOL Control
Contact Info:
Members: Shayan Najafi
Description: Blending gyrocopter and high speed flight control laws for integrated VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing).



Project Name: Project Hyperion
Contact Info:
Members: Jay Westerwelle (Captain), Ted Lebantino, Ben Jacobo
Description: Attempting to break altitude record of 40,000 ft with an solid rocket fuel using N class rocket motors.



Project Name: M-PACE
Contact Info:
Members: Christopher Hartney

Multi-Purpose Avionics Core Element (M-PACE): Using Advanced Manufacturing to Rapidly Develop CubeSat Subsystems and Components

The pilot project for the NASA Ames Research Center's SpaceShop is the Multi-Purpose Avionics Core Element.  The primary goal of M-PACE is to demonstrate advanced manufacturing techniques, such as additive manufacturing and Digital Materials, to minimize the cost of CubeSats and increase their modularity.  M-PACE will be designed and built at the NASA Ames SpaceShop, which is a state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing facility built for NASA researchers to formulate concepts and ideas for projects.  The initial design of M-PACE uses Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) components to distribute data through the use of snap-fit card connectors.  Using this mindset, one can greatly reduce the time it will take to test, build, and assemble CubeSats.  We envision that if M-PACE is successful, it is one of the first steps towards assembling satellites in space and deploying them from remote locations, such as the International Space Station and beyond.  To learn more about the Ames SpaceShop and the M-PACE project, please visit

Project Name:  CubeSat
Contact Info:
Members: Julius Hutchings (Captain), Allan Castillo, Stephen McIntyre, Jimmy Rico, Brian Graham
Description :  CubeSat



Project Name: Project ARENA (Autonomous Robocrafts for Exploration, Navigation, and Advancement)
Contact Info:
Members: Christian Manlutac (Captain), Philip Tran, Thomas Shu, Gustavo Moreno, Dhathri Somavarapu
Description:  Designing a metrology system for formation flight. Using quadrotors as a platform to demonstrate.

Project Name: Project Europa
Contact Info:
Members: Jose Ramil Seneris
Description:  We are looking for four determined AIAA members to participate in Project Europa - an underwaterROV project to simulate a mission in the icy depths of one of Jupiter's moon, Europa. The positions include: Design/Structures and Electronics/Programming. There are two end goals: 1) Present at next year's Inter Planetary Probe Workshop and 2) Educational Outreach. Lower division is encouraged to come.


Project Name: Project Maglev
Contact Info:
Members: Sean Snyder (Captain), James Zhen, EJ Chavarria, Matt Miller
Description:   The project is designed to build a functioning model of a maglev train. The track will be about 3 feet long and made with acrylic, neodymium magnets, and brass spacers. The train will use solenoids, or coils of wire, to generate a magnetic field. This allows the train to be propelled forward or back and float up away from the ground. The advantage of magnetic levitation is that the strength of the magnetic field can be controlled through the current going through the solenoids. Also, the only source of friction is from moving through the air. This friction is significantly less than wheels on a traditional train.

There are several working maglev trains in the world, including Japan, Shanghai, and Germany. This train will be controllable through a wireless controller to determine direction of travel. The solenoids will be controlled through the use of the Adruino Uno boards and the power source will be an RC battery. There’s enough room on the train for the cargo to be simulated with an 8oz can of soda. The final model will be tested to see what the max speed can be through comparison of acceleration and CFD projections of air drag. Most of this design is based upon a model on, but our team has innovated the design so instead of the levitation being above the track, levitation is achieved below the track. This is significantly harder because it requires another control board, but is more scalable. The full sized maglev train the levitates on top of the track, as in Japan, has a much lower maximum velocity and requires cryogenics to supercool the magnets to achieve superconductivity. Otherwise, the train wouldn’t float. Contact us at if you’re interested in helping us program the Arduino boards and/or if you just want to see the thing work in the end. Thanks!

Project Name: MPOD
Contact Info:
Members: Anthony DiQuattro (Captain), Jason Punzalan, Aric Garcia, Kevin Sok
Description: Developing a satellite deployer system.