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News from the University of Maryland's Department of Aerospace Engineering  |  May 2021

May 2021

Digging into Competition
UMD team among “Digging Dozen” finalists
for Not-a-Boring Competition

An interdisciplinary team of University of Maryland (UMD) students has landed a hard-earned spot as one of the “Digging Dozen” finalists in the first-ever Not-a-Boring Competition, hosted by Elon Musk’s The Boring Company.

The team, UMD Loop, originally created in 2015 to compete in Musk’s SpaceX Hyperloop competitions, is switching gears to tackle a whole new challenge: building UMD’s first ever tunnel-boring machine (TBM), which will be capable of quickly boring a thirty-meter hole underground.

UMD Researchers to Design Greener Aircraft Engine

With funding from ARPA-E and support from Raytheon and other industry partners, a team led by professors Christopher Cadou (AE) and Eric Wachsman (MSE) is developing a hybrid gas turbine/fuel cell system that can be used to power the large aircraft (like the Boeing 737) that are responsible for more than 85% of aviation emissions globally.

Dr. Norman Wereley Steps Down as Chair

Minta Martin Professor of Aerospace Engineering Norman M. Wereley has announced his decision to step down the post he has held since 2012. He will continue his role as an endowed professor and as director of the Composites Research Laboratory (CORE).
Flying a helicopter on Mars: NASA’s Ingenuity
Associate Professor Anubhav Datta discusses Mars Helicopter with Nature


Winning Team Soars With Drones at 2021 Pitch Dingman Competition

Aerospace Engineering student Camilo Melnyk '21 was part of the winning team of this year’s UMD Pitch Dingman Competition. The team won $30,000 for their startup, Blimp Logistics, which aims to develop a drone delivery system to alleviate issues of last-mile delivery services in suburban and rural areas for businesses shipping packages under 30 pounds anywhere in the country.

Completing a Doctorate—Aboard an Aircraft Carrier

Commander Donald “Bucket” Costello does not recommend working on an engineering doctorate via night school while on active duty, but h research could aid the drone certification process.

UMD Takes Second in VFS Design-Build-Vertical-Flight Competition

A team of UMD students took second place in the Vertical Flight Society’s inaugural Design-Build-Vertical Flight (DBVF) Student Competition. UMD was one of eight teams selected to compete after the Preliminary Design Report earlier this spring.

Six UMD Students Win VFS Vertical Flight Foundation Scholarships

Brandyn Phillips Wins 2020/2021 Aerospace Corporation Fellowship


Michael Kaczmarek (B.S. '92)
Recently Named a Ponemon Fellow

Kaczmarek is vice president of product management for Neustar’s Security Solutions business.

Natalie Tham (B.S. '16) Appointed to the U.S. Department of Energy

Her role is Special Assistant, Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.
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