College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Summer of undergrad research underway in Aerospace Engineering with LAUNCH-UAS

LAUNCH-UAS students with AstroCy in Howe Hall lobby
LAUNCH-UAS students with AstroCy in Howe Hall lobby
This year’s LAUNCH-UAS students uphold the tradition of having their picture taken with AstroCy in the Howe Hall lobby

The Department of Aerospace Engineering’s LAUNCH-UAS undergraduate research program has initiated its takeoff for 2022.

Eight students from around the nation are making Iowa State University and the Department of Aerospace Engineering (AerE) their summer home for the ten-week program.

Benjamin Ahn
Benjamin Ahn
Thomas Ward
Thomas Ward

Organized by AerE associate professors Benjamin Ahn and Thomas Ward, the Launching Aerospace’s Underrepresented Students into the Next Chapter-Unpiloted Aerial Systems (LAUNCH-UAS) program promotes greater participation of underrepresented minority students in aerospace engineering research.

It provides students with cutting-edge research experience in UAS; exposes students to aerospace research projects and engineers; and develops students’ research and professional skills and opportunities to prepare them for graduate programs and beyond.

For 2022 five projects were made available for the program, all dealing with various aspects of functions of UAS, including transportation infrastructure inspections (faculty mentor Halil Ceylan, Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering); aerodynamic shape optimization for wings (faculty mentor Ping He, AerE); development of the virtual test-bed for UAS using hardware-in-the-loop simulation (faculty mentor Dae-Young Lee, AerE); design and test of a high altitude hold system for latex balloons (faculty mentor Matthew Nelson, AerE); and understanding the correlation between a 1D combustion model and experiment (faculty mentor Thomas Ward, AerE).

Students conduct independent research projects with assistance from faculty mentors and participate in events, workshops and seminars; present a poster summarizing their research at a university-wide symposium and more.

The 2022 participants include:

  • Nicholas Carinci, Le Moyne College
  • Matthew Caulfield, James Madison University
  • Nicolas DiStefano, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Helen Hu, Johns Hopkins University
  • Priscilla Pak, Boston University
  • Fernando Ramos, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
  • Bruno Rangel, Iowa State University
  • Anmol Sharma, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

See photos of all the participants and learn more about the LAUNCH-UAS program.