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Design teams and projects

An AOE design team flying an aircraft
The Kentland Experimental Aerial Systems (KEAS) Laboratory enables research collaborations involving small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

3DPAC (3D Printed Aircraft) 

The 3D-Printed Aircraft competition is held annually by University of Texas, Arlington, and challenges students to design within 3D printing process and material constraints; develop lightweight, manufacturable airframe configurations and leverage direct digital manufacturing technologies

AIAA Design, Build, Fly 

Design, Build, Fly at Virginia Tech is an all-student design team led by undergraduate aerospace engineering seniors and assisted by underclassmen of all disciplines and skill sets. The entire team designs, fabricates, and tests a remote controlled aircraft to compete in the annual AIAA DBF competition.


CanSat is a student lead design team with the explicit purpose  of competing in the American Astronautical Society Cansat Competition, an international design to flight competition sponsored by industry leaders like NASA and Lockheed Martin. 

Human Powered Submarine 

Human Powered Submarine (HPS) is an undergraduate team that competes in the biennial International Submarine Races. In order to do so, the team must design, build, and race a fully-flooded human-powered submarine, which is judged on criteria such as speed and innovation.


The inspireFly team's mission is to design and develop a novel CubeSat that presents a unique style of access to space for the general public, while demonstrating new technologies for future satellite and space vehicle applications.

inVenTs Rocketry 

inVenTs Rocketry builds rockets on a slightly smaller scale, utilizing solid-fueled I and J motors instead of more complex hybrid or liquid-fueled engines. These rockets are significant - standing around 6 feet tall, and achieving altitudes in excess of 3,000 feet. This effort culminates in NASA's Space Grant Midwest High-Power Rocket Competition. 

Mars Madness 

NASA’s Human Exploration Rover Challenge aligns with the Artemis mission to return to and explore the Moon by 2024. The competition emphasizes designing, constructing and testing technologies, including tools, mobility devices and traversing in unique environments. 

Moon to Mars Ice Prospecting Challenge 

The Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge,competition is held at NASA Langley Research Center where finalists compete to extract the most water from an analog environment simulating a slice of a combined lunar and Martian surface, while simultaneously using system telemetry to distinguish between overburden layers and create a digital core of the various layers. 

NASA Student Launch

The NASA Student Launch is a research-based, competitive, experiential exploration activity. It strives to provide relevant, cost-effective research and development of rocket propulsion systems.

Orbital Launch VT 

The mission of OLVT is to become the first amateur organization to successfully build and fly an orbital launch vehicle and place a 1 kg payload into Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

Promoting Electric Propulsion at Virginia Tech ›

Promoting Electric Propulsion at Virginia Tech (PEPVT) supports and encourages students to design and build small water craft with electric propulsion to compete in various manned and unmanned electric boat competitions. 


The RockSat-X program is an initiative by the Colorado Space Grant Consortium in conjunction with NASA's Sounding Rocket Program Office (SRPO) to provide low-cost access to space for university student design teams. Teams are allotted a modular payload space on a sounding rocket which is launched every August from NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Semi-Autonomous Mars Mining Robot (Astrobotics)  

The Virginia Tech Astrobotics multidisciplinary team is designing and building a rover to compete in the NASA Robotic Mining Competition.

Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) at Virginia Tech 

Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, or SEDS, is an independent student-based organization which promotes the exploration and development of space by educating people, supporting a network of interested students, developing leadership skills, and inspiring people through their involvement in space-related projects.

Virginia Tech Rocketry 

Rocketry at Virginia Tech is a club and associated design team, and an affiliate of the Virginia Tech College of Engineering and the New River Valley Rocketry club. Our aim is to create an environment for students to learn and work together building, launching, and experimenting with high power rockets.

Virginia Tech SailBot 

Designing and building a 2-meter long seaworthy craft can be complicated enough as is, and when constructing a fully autonomous boat, the technical aspect intensifies greatly. SailBot team members must incorporate (and build upon) their proficiencies in aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, ship dynamics, electronics, programming, structural design, material properties, machining, and project management. 

Wind Turbine Team at Virginia Tech

The Wind Turbine Team is a multi-disciplinary student club that designs, tests, sites, and markets wind turbines. The team participates in the Collegiate Wind Competition  hosted each year by the Department of Energy and NREL.