Yale blasts off to victory


Launching an egg 1,571 feet in the air and returning it safely to the ground earned the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association top honors in the "Battle of the Rockets" on April 6 in Culpeper, Va. Yale's Astro-Egg Lander team fielded the YSS Eli Whitney rocket to win first place – Yale's was the first team in the competition's history to safely recover an egg.

The Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association brought 23 members to the "Battle of the Rockets" and competed in both the Astro-Egg Lander and Target Altitude competitions. The Astro-Egg Lander contest required students to design and build a rocket that could reach 1,200 feet and deploy a lander containing "one large grade A hen egg." The goal was to return the egg to the ground undamaged without the use of parachutes or parafoils and at a descent rate of less than 30 feet per second.

In addition to the YSS Eli Whitney, the Yale team launched two hybrid rockets – the YSS Nathan Hale and the YSS Flying Bulldog. Although the YSS Nathan Hale suffered a launch mishap, the YSS Flying Bulldog reached a height of over 2,400 feet in the Target Altitude contest.

The "Battle of the Rockets" competition, sponsored by AIAA and Praxis Inc., brought together 13 college and high school teams this year. The Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association was founded in 2011 and is sponsored by the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science.