Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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Student Projects

Students have a number of opportunities to get hands-on-experience while enrolled as a student in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, including being part of a student team or participating in an undergraduate research project with a faculty adviser on their research. The department supports a wide array of student teams. Through this experience, students gain experience with all phases of the design, build and test cylces of the project.

How can aerospace engineering skills be used while still a student?

Find a project or competition to become involved with, like the AEM’s SAE student team - the Gophers - which took seventh place in the micro class division and third place in the written design report portion of the SAE Aero Design project below. They even received course credit for developing the plane in the department's senior design class.

Are there opportunities for community outreach?

YES! The High-Altitude Ballooning Team under the MnSGC worked with the students from nine local middle schools to deliver their payloads to the stratosphere, or "near-space." the payloads contained video and still cameras, flight computers, data loggers, accelerometers, and sensors to measure basic weather data, cosmic radiation levels and solar panel output. This is just one of many opportunities.

Minnesota Space Grant Consortium





The Minnesota Space Grant Consortium (MnSGC) is a University outreach program from NASA, which provides students with scholarships/fellowships, internships with NASA, and many opportunities for involvement. Students can be a part of a Stratospheric Ballooning team or participate in activities such as quadcopter design or high power rocketry competitions.

Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Laboratories




The UAV research group at the University of Minnesota is focused on the development and implementation of world class, open-source, and low cost aeronautics research infrastructure. The goal of this facility is to support research activities within the department including control, navigation and guidance algoritms, embedded fault detection methods, and system identification tools.

The UAV Lab offers undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to participate in real-world aircraft development and flight testing, with the goal of enabling a future of safer and more fuel efficient aircraft and UAVs.

CanSat Project






The CanSat Competition is an annual event hosted by the American Astronautical Society (AAS) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Each year, teams compete by placing their designs against each other in protecting a hen's egg as it falls from 2,000 feet while streaming atmospheric and flight data to a ground station.

The AIAA Minnesota Student Chapter has participated in the last 7 years and actively seeks recruits each fall.

The Rocket Team


The University of Minnesota Rocket Team is a group of students from a wide variety of majors, who work together to construct and fly multiple high-powered rockets every year. The main goal of the team is to continually learn new things and push the envelope for what is possible for them as a team. This adheres to their mission of "Making Rockets, Building Engineers.

The Spaceport America Cup that takes place near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico is the team's main competition. In 2017, they competed in the Advanced 30,000 ft. target altitude division and they plan to continue to compete in this category in the years to come.

The team has also competed in the Space Grant Midwest High-Power Rocketry Competition, and has worked on the Gopher Project - an inter-team project to teach incoming members how to build high power rockets and the High-Altitude Shot - a project to see how how the team could make a rocket fly.

Recently, the team won the Big Ten Alka Rocket Challenge. The students competed at the Houston Space Center against Rutgers University and Northwestern University. They won $25,000 and earned a place in the Guinness World Records record book for the Highest Launch of a Rocket Powered by Effervescent Tablets, also known as an Alka-Rocket.


SAE Aero Design Competition


The SAE Aero Design Competition is an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate engineering students to be exposed to the kinds of situations that engineers face in their real-life work environment.

There are three classes of competition - Regular, Advanced, and Micro. This years team, The Flying Gophers, participated in the Micro Class, and had an objective of designing a light-weight, UAV style aircraft. The team finished the competition in ninth place out of twenty-four teams. More information here.

Other Alumni Supported Student Programs

Through the support of our Alumni, we have been able to give our students an opportunity to participate in national competitions.

Student Solar Vehicle Project

See AEM Joint-Sponsored Solar Vehicle Project

UMN Ballooning Team

Spaceflight with Ballooning Freshman Seminar

Resources for Undergraduate Student Projects

Last Modified: 2018-08-23 at 11:31:56 -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation