MAE Students Win 1st Place at the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition in Green River, Utah

The MAE team for ESRA (Experimental Sounding Rocket Association) won a 1st place overall award this year at the 4th IREC (Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition) in Green River, Utah. The competition involved a team of four students who designed, built and flew an experimental sounding rocket designed to carry 10 lbs. of payload to 10,000 feet AGL. The rocket was built entirely from scratch in one of the member’s garage using cardboard mailing tubes, birch plywood and aluminum. We also built our own electronics package with a custom coded deployment sequence that worked flawlessly in controlling drogue, and main parachute deployment using a combination of three accelerometers, and a barometric pressure sensor. Although we were not the only team to design and build our own flight computer, we were the only team with enough guts to use it as our primary flight computer! we used the commercial computer only as a backup! Scoring for this competition was based on how close our apogee was to 10,000 feet, an oral, and written presentation and general knowledge of the rocket systems specific to our rocket.

We flew a payload designed to visualize flow over the nosecone. we had a clear acrylic body section that had four tufts of yarn glued on. A camera mounted in the nosecone viewed the yarn with four mirrors mounted at a 45 degree angle. the results were great! we had very little flow separation below the nose and were able to get a roll rate from the rocket by using the sun as a reference point.

The Results of our efforts: Our calculated burnout velocity of mach 0.77 was confirmed from the data Our unpowered drag estimate for the rocket was far too small, causing our calculated apogee to be much higher than the actual apogee.

The Parachute deployment sequence was flawless, using a new novel deployment device, that to our knowledge has not been tried before in the field of sounding rockets. (the ideas were borrowed heavily from skydiving parachute systems) The team members: Tim Baker – Design and fabrication Takahiro Morikawa – Aerodynamics and fabrication David Murakami – Trajectory analysis, flight software, electronics and fabrication Adam Vore – Design, fabrication and recovery system Advisors: Charely Hoult Dave McCue

You can watch a video of our flight here on youtube.

Undergraduate Research Showcased

BSAE Major, David A. Stout, represented the MAE Department and his mentor, Dr. Hsun-Hu Chen, at a Research Symposium held at Howard University in Washington, D.C., September 28-30, 2008. The undergraduate research program entitled “Presentations on the Hilltop” selected 10 presentations from across the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. David’s presentation, titled “COTS Systems for CubeSats,” showcased his research to the Faculty, Directors, and Deans of Howard University and surrounding institutions.

CSULB student fulfills dream as NASA intern Student receives a summer internship that jump-starts her career

Anusha Prabhakar

Cal State Long Beach aerospace engineering student Anusha Prabhakar recently won the second annual American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) summer internship program. Prabhakar, a senior at CSULB, is already working at her internship and will spend eight to 10 weeks at the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field in Edwards, Calif, assisting in several NASA experiments. “Working for NASA has always been my dream and ultimate goal in advancing my aerospace career,” Prabhakar said in an e-mail. “And now that I have this wonderful once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I hope to learn as much as I can, and this internship in turn will enable me to better understand what I would like to pursue later on in my career.” AIAA is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to supporting students pursuing a global aerospace career. They partnered with NASA to develop the new generation of aeronautical engineers.

Neal Barlow, AIAA’s vice president-elect and chair of its student activities committee, said in a press release, “NASA’s internship program will provide her with an engineering experience that only it can provide. We are pleased to be partnered with NASA and their continued efforts in developing the next generation of aerospace engineers.”

Prabhakar is the chair of AIAA at CSULB and served as the chair for the 2009 Region VI Student Conference, which was held in Long Beach. “These positions involved considerable organizing and leading a group of students to host the annual regional aerospace conference at our university,” Prabhakar said. “CALVEIN encouraged working in a team environment, and learning as much as possible not only by observing fellow students and professors work, but also helped in gaining actual hands-on experience.” The event was very successful and Eric Besnard, a professor in the mechanical and aerospace engineering department at CSULB, said in a press release, “Anusha is the type of student who will make a great manager in industry. That was apparent in her role in the AIAA student chapter and especially as the main person behind the success of the AIAA Region VI Student Conference hosted at CSULB this year.”

Prabhakar previously had an internship with The Boeing Company, where she worked on detailed drafting assignments on the center wing section of the 747B and was also a part of the C-17 Stress Analysis Group. Prabhakar is also a part of CSULB’s California Launch Vehicle Education Initiative. She went through the procedure of developing, testing and launching low-cost, liquid-propelled rockets. Prabhakar plans on graduating with a degree in aerospace engineering in spring 2010.

Besnard Receives 2009 Faculty Adviser Award from AIAA

Eric Besnard

Eric Besnard, a professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at CSULB, has been named the recipient of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) 2009 Faculty Adviser Award.

The award is presented to the AIAA faculty adviser of a chartered student branch who, in the opinion of student branch members and the AIAA Student Activities Committee, has made outstanding contributions to his/her students in local, regional and national activities. Besnard was also selected to receive the honor due to his passion for aerospace and his ongoing efforts in encouraging students in the field through hands-on projects.

“The rewarding part about being chapter adviser for the AIAA is working with the students to help them transform ideas into an engineering system they can test,” said Besnard. “The quality engineering department at Cal State Long Beach also helps make this possible. It is very well recognized in Southern California, with graduates in demand for local aerospace companies and are very capable of competing nationally.”

Besnard, who has taught upper-division aerospace design and space systems engineering at CSULB since 1995, was presented the honor during the 47th annual AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting Award Banquet in Orlando. Teaching undergraduate and graduate students, Besnard’s schedule also includes senior design classes, spacecraft systems engineering, and rocket and spacecraft propulsion.

Much of the “hands-on” work Besnard has been recognized for by the AIAA is for the California Launch Vehicle Education Initiative (CALVEIN), the rocket program on campus that includes several projects involving AIAA. As head of CALVEIN, he helps students design, build and launch large rockets, each with its own unique characteristics.

“I am proud to be recognized by this premier aerospace professional organization (AIAA) for the job we do at CSULB in preparing the next generation of aerospace engineers by having them involved in hands-on projects, an approach that requires departmental commitment and resources,” said Besnard. “The IMU (inertial measurement unit) we now use on some of our test flights was purchased as part of a student project that was funded by the Los Angeles professional section of AIAA. Another project deals with the development of a wind-sensing package to be used for rocket launch operations.”

The students involved in the wind-sensing project took second place last year when they presented the work at the AIAA 2008 Region VI Student Conference at Arizona State University. Students Faisal M. Buharie and Samir Mohamed won the award in the undergraduate category for their new wind sensor, which may be used during launches to measure the prevalent wind at altitude. Oscar Mejia, another undergraduate student in aerospace engineering, presented his project titled “Trajectory Simulation for CSULB Sounding Rockets.”

Aerospace Engineering Student David Murakami to attend NASA Academy

David Murakami

David Murakami, CSULB President Scholar with majors in aerospace engineering and physics and minors in mathematics and computer science will be participating in the NASA Academy at Ames for Space Exploration in the summer. “The NASA Academy program is committed to providing a strong technical foundation through which leadership potential can develop among an academically strong and diverse student population.” The program provides students with cutting-edge research opportunities within NASA while also providing opportunities for leadership development, teamwork, and relationship building. His research will be conducted within the Lunar Science Institute.

Details about the academy can be found at NASA Academy at Ames

AE Student David Stout Selected for the NASA Undergraduate Student Research Program

From the beginning of January to the end of April 2008 Aerospace Engineering major David A. Stout embarked on a journey of a lifetime. He was accepted to the NASA Undergraduate Student Research Program (USRP) at Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia-the only NASA owned and operated launch facility. First, he was able to run thermal-Vac testing on many future NASA parts. While there he also was able to fabricate and machine Bombay doors and luggage carriers for NASA’s P-3 aircraft that flies to the arctic on a frequent basis. Next he was able to formulate the logistics for the CREAM 4 balloon launch that will occur at the end of 2008. Afterwards he cultured and helped with the thermal blankets that are going on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Satellite that is scheduled for launch in the beginning of next year. “It was awesome that they [NASA] flew me on their private aircraft to Goddard Space Facility to help and see that endeavor put into practice.”

His greatest achievement and most time consuming task was to design and help fabricate a Cubesat-class Satellite that will launch in September 2008 on a Montour rocket with the Air Force’s TacSat III Mission. He worked with the Senior Engineer ever day coming up with ideas, making CDR and IDR presentations to the general group, and testing all parts to see that the whole satellite will function properly. “It was totally hard, but very rewarding.” “I was there for the whole process—beginning to end, and they treated me like the project manager.” In September NASA and Hawk Institute for Space Sciences will fly David to Wallops to see his satellite launch off. “I am so stoked and cannot wait.”

AE Student Oscar Mejia Wins First Place at Student Research Competition

Aerospace Engineering undergraduate student Oscar Mejia won first place at the 20th Annual Student Research Competition held on Friday, March 8, at CSULB in the Physical & Mathematical Sciences/Engineering category where he competed against other undergraduate and graduate students from the College of Engineering and from the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. He presented his work on the

“Trajectory Simulation for the P-8A Launch Vehicle”,

work supervised by CALVEIN mentor Charlie Hoult and faculty advisor Eric Besnard.

For more information about the competition, including a complete list of winners, go to CSULB Annual Student Research Competition

Dr. Parviz Yavari Wins 2007 ASNT Faculty Grant Award

Parviz Yavari

Parviz Yavari, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at CSULB, was recognized for his achievements in advancing education by the American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) at the society’s Fall Conference and Quality Testing show on Nov. 14.

ASNT President Martin Trimm, joined by Chairperson Sharon Vukelich, presented the Faculty Fellowship award for achievements related to Yavari’s work with Calif. State Univ. at Long Beach. An $8,000 stipend is a part of the ASNT’s award package.

“We are proud to recognize this distinguished group of achievers whose dedication and contributions to the nondestructive testing industry exemplify the mission of our society,” Vukelich said.

“Each one of the honorees we present tonight has made significant contributions to the advancement of nondestructive testing and our society. They truly distinguish themselves by these accomplishments.”

The educational award, bestowed at the ASNT annual awards banquet, is extended to two people in the United States for their contributions advancing nondestructive testing techniques, an area of science that examines components and systems in a manner that does not impair their further usefulness. Current areas for applying new and advanced non-destructive testing and evaluation technology include monitoring of manufacturing and fabrication processes, aging aircraft, power-plant life extension and deteriorating civil engineering structures. Along with Yavari, Piervincenzo Rizzo, of the Univ. of Pittsburgh was also named as a Faculty Grant recipient. The American Society for Non-destructive Testing, Inc. (ASNT) is a nonprofit corporation and the world’s largest technical society for non-destructive testing (NDT) professionals. The organization promotes a forum for exchange of non-destructive testing technical information, educational materials and programs, standards and services for qualification and certification and facilitates research and technology applications. It was founded in 1941 and involves 9,000 technical professionals from affiliated companies throughout the world. Its mission is to create a safer world by promoting the profession and technologies of non-destructive testing.

The American Society of Nondestructive Engineers

Winners 2007 Awards and Honors
Faculty Grant Award Requirements

American Society for Materials (ASM) Education Foundation’s Summer Teacher’s Camp

The American Society for Materials (ASM) Education Foundation sponsored a Summer Teacher’s Camp, which was held July 9-13, 2007, in the MAE Department’s labs. During this one-week workshop, teacher participants learned the basics of Materials Science Technology as taught at the high school level. They worked hands-on with metals, ceramics, polymers and composites, thus developing a greater appreciation for the importance of these materials to modern life. This heavily project-based course excites students to learn science concepts as they complete projects of personal worth to them. Whether teachers use the information and concepts as a basis for teaching their own MST course or merely infuse the concepts into an existing science course to increase relevancy, they finish the camp prepared to make some important instructional changes as a result of their participation.

The program is based on past experiences in the areas of curriculum development, teacher training and student programs in Materials Science developed at the University of Washington and Edmonds Community College and supported by the National Science Foundations Advanced Technology Education program. These programs have demonstrated that Materials Science is an excellent tool to bring together academic and vocational instructors in a common goal of exciting students about science, technology and engineering.

Materials Science excites students’ interest because the student has everyday, hands-on experience with materials. Thus, materials topics are great motivators in any engineering, technology or science course. Materials are also a very important and an integral part of the manufacturing process.


Daniel P. Dennies, FASM
Boeing Company
Trustee, ASM Materials Education Foundation
California State University, Long Beach
Hamid Hefazi, Professor and Chair
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Michael Fritz
Projects Coordinator & Technical Advisor
Leanne Hayes
MAE Department Administrator
ASM Materials Education Foundation
Charles R. Hayes, CFRE
Executive Director
Pergentina L. Deatherage
Administrator, Foundation Programs
Virginia E. Shirk
Foundation Assistant

Master Teachers &Trainee

Andrew Nydam
Olympia High School, Washington
Debbie Goodwin
Chillicothe High School, Missouri
David McGibney (Trainee)
Eastlake High School, Washington

2007 Commencement Awards

Graduate Dean’s List

James Boughton, Mechanical Engineering
Joseph Kelly, Aerospace Engineering

Outstanding Baccalaureate Graduates

Fazle Akbar, Aerospace Engineering
Wisam Marjiya, Mechanical Engineering
Scott A. McCormack, Engineering Technology (Manufacturing)

Outstanding Master’s Thesis

Frederick M. Courouble, Aerospace Engineering
“Application of Constructive Neural Networks to America’s Cup Racing Yacht Performance Optimization”
Thesis Advisor: Eric Besnard
Rahul V. Shinde, Mechanical Engineering
“An Automated Multi-Disciplinary Design Optimization Method”
Thesis Advisor: Hamid Hefazi

PhD, Engineering and Industrial Applied Mathematics

Adeline Schmitz, Aerospace Engineering
Dissertation: “Constructive Neural Networks for Function Approximation and their Application to CFD Shape Optimization”
Advisors: Dr. Hamid Hefazi, Dr. Ellis Cumberbatch, Dr. Robert Williamson, and Dr. Eric Besnard