The UCLA American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) rocket team, called the UCLA Bruin Rocketeers, participated in the 2016 First Nations Launch Rocket Competition in Kansasville, WI from April 21-24, 2016, and were awarded 2nd Place in this national competition.

The UCLA Bruin Rocketeer Team

Seated(L-R): Oscar Salazar, James Elisaldez, Dr. Audrey Pool O’Neal-Adviser, Sydney Austin, Dehice Chavez, Josue Castillo Standing (L-R): Edgar Lopez, Samuel Carrell, Rodolfo Barranco-Team Leader, Gabriel Biren (All members not pictured).

The 2016 Team Members include Sydney Austin, 1st Year Aerospace Engineering; Rodolfo Barranco, 4th Year Mechanical Engineering and Team Leader; Gabriel Biren, 2nd Year Computer Science; Samuel Carrell, 1st Year Aerospace Engineering; Josue Castillo, 1st Year Aerospace Engineering; Dehice Chavez, 1st Year Bioengineering; Dakota Duffy, 2nd Year Electrical Engineering and AISES Outreach Coordinator; James Elisaldez, 1st Year Undeclared Engineering; Jorge Hurtado, 1st Year Electrical Engineering; Carlos Leal, 1st Year Electrical Engineering; Edgar Lopez, 1st Year Undeclared Engineering; Mattew Sanchez, 1st Year Undeclared Engineering; Oscar Salazar, 1st Year Civil Engineering; and campus adviser Dr. Audrey Pool O’Neal, CEED’s Associate Director of Undergraduate Programs.

This year, the challenge was to engineer a rocket to accommodate and deliver a large payload high into the sky. At its peak between 3000 and 4000 feet, the rocket had to deploy its payload and utilize some sort of machinery to assembly itself into a “satellite/space station”. Judges rewarded teams with long payloads, well articulated designs, and accurate rockets. Combining their talents and effort, the team created their design for this year shown below. The rocket is a little over 2 meters (84.5 inches) long and weighs around 9 kg (20 lbs) including the payload.


This year’s rocket with the payload area shaded in green.

With a powerful blast into the sky, the rocket successfully completed its mission to the delight of the entire UCLA team. In recognition of their engineering excellence and outstanding teamwork, the judges awarded the UCLA Bruin Rocketeers 2nd place in this national competition.  Congratulations team!

AISES is devoted to promoting science and engineering for American Indians through outreach events or competitions.  In addition to designing, building and competing in the First Nations Launch competitions, the team also hosts a rocket workshop at three major outreach events, throughout the academic year. During the fall quarter they partner with the UCLA Chapter of the Society of Latino Engineers and Scientists (SOLES) and host a rocket workshop at their annual Engineers in Training (EIT) Day. During winter quarter, they work with the entire UCLA Chapter of AISES and participate in their Youth Motivation Day (YMD).  To end the year, they partner with the UCLA Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) in spring quarter to host a workshop at their Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Day. Each event brings local Los Angeles area grade school students to UCLA in order to encourage them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. At each workshop, team members speak to roughly 100‐150 students and explain to them the basic concepts of rocketry, followed by practical demonstrations of those principles, in hopes of fostering an interest in rocketry.