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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics


    Foundation Logo   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    CONTACT: John Blacksten


    AIAA Foundation Announces Winners of its 2015-2016
    Undergraduate Team Space Transportation Design Competition

    September 14, 2016 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of its 2015–2016 Undergraduate Team Space Transportation Design Competition.

    The 2015–2016 contest asked competing teams to design a system capable of safely and quickly transporting rock and soil samples from Mars back to Earth.

    The winners are:

    • First Prize: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, for their design “Project Hitchhiker.” Team members: Loren Clark, Patrick Clark, Anthony Gaudino, Dylan Greene, Jacob Katuin, Diane Kjelby, Grant Roth and Sean Ryan. Kevin Shinpaugh, faculty advisor.

    • Second Prize: California State Polytechnic University – Pomona, California,for their design "Pyxis Aerospace. Team members: Carlos Ayon, John Cunningham, William Gallagher, Edward Gomez, Alexander Kechejian, Austin Miller and Sean Thompson. Donald L. Edberg, faculty advisor.

    • Third Prize: Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, for their design "Project Argonaut." Team members:Team members: Archit Arora, Courtney Best, Liam Durbin, Robert Groome, Duncan Harris, Henry Heim, Thomas Keane, Annie Ping and Alexandra Wyatt. Kathleen Howell, faculty advisor.

    For more information about the AIAA Foundation Undergraduate Team Space Transportation Design Competition, please contact Rachel Dowdy at or 703.264.7577.

    About the AIAA Foundation
    The AIAA Foundation seeks to “make it exciting, make it empowering, and make it fun.” That simple, compelling philosophy drives the Foundation’s commitment to math, science, and technology education. The AIAA Foundation offers a wealth of resources to support educators from K–12 through university: scholarships, classroom grants, design competitions, and student conferences, improving scientific literacy and advancing the arts and sciences of aerospace. For more information on the AIAA Foundation and its programs for students, teachers, and professionals, please visit



    About AIAA
    AIAA is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession. With more than 30,000 individual members from 88 countries, and 95 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit



    American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    1801 Alexander Bell Drive, Suite 500, Reston, VA 20191-4344
    Phone: 703.264.7558 Fax: 703.264.7551