American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) at CSU

What is


The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession, with over 30,000 members worldwide. AIAA commits itself to shaping the future of aerospace, providing resources and experiences to assist in personal and professional development. Involvement with AIAA provides growth opportunities, education, and access to a global network of fellow engineers and others in the industry.


AIAA at CSU is an organization that is dedicated to introducing students to aerospace industry connections, as well as providing opportunities for students to gain experience in the fields of aeronautics and astronautics. Our organization is a registered student branch of AIAA dedicated to providing real world, hands-on experience to our student members through a collection of lectures, seminars, and competitions centered on the aerospace industry. AIAA welcomes students from all degrees at CSU – anyone with a passion for aerospace or aeronautics is encouraged to join! Being involved in AIAA is a great networking tool and a whole lot of fun!

Within the organization, you can choose between two paths of interest: aeronautics and astronautics.

Aeronautics is the study of the science of flight, and the method of designing an airplane or other flying machine.


AIAA Design, Build, Fly (DBF) Competition

The AIAA Design, Build, Fly (DBF) annual competition is a partnership between the AIAA Foundation, Cessna Aircraft Company, and Raytheon Missile Systems. This competition provides students an opportunity to design and build a radio-controlled aircraft to perform specific missions, and is available for teams across the world to compete in. Students who participate gain valuable team building skills while getting real world experience in aircraft design.

If you are interested in joining, please email Peter Sperl.

Astronautics is the science of the construction and operation of vehicles for travel in space beyond the earth’s atmosphere.


National Association of Rocketry (NAR) Competition

Join Ram Rocketry, CSU’s NAR club, in this model rocket competition. Born in 1959, the competition has evolved into a proven method for challenging students to improve craftsmanship and flying skills, and to pursue a “personal best” in performance with each flight. NAR is the only rocket organization in the US that has a structured program of rocketry competition, that recognizes national champions each year, and that sponsors a US team in world championships competition.


The CSU Rocket Team formed in 2014 as a senior design team. Since then, the group has grown from four to fourteen students, and innovations to the Aries rocket have record-breaking wins in intercollegiate competitions. If you are interested in joining, please contact Johhny Buck.

Follow CSU Ram Rocketry on Instagram!


CSU Chapter

Meeting Dates: Every Monday

Time:     4:30 – 5:30 PM

Place:    Engineering B101


AIAA’s Rocky Mountain Section serves the professional aerospace community, and strongly encourages collegiate chapters to attend their programs and network with those already in the field.

Follow this link for more information on upcoming events, resources, and opportunities to connect.


Aerospace Technology Innovation Talks

October Event:  October 21, 2022 |   4 – 5:30 pm |  Engineering 100

Presenter: Steve Lindsey

Topic: Sierra Space Overview

Steve Lindsey is the Chief Technology Officer for Sierra Space in addition to leading the company’s advanced programs. Steve is a former U.S. Air Force (USAF) pilot, five time NASA shuttle astronaut and commander with more than 30 years of flight test experience.

Steve earned a B.S. in Engineering Sciences from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1982, was commissioned as a second lieutenant upon graduation and sent to Undergraduate Pilot Training. In 1987, he was selected to attend graduate school at the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where he completed an M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering. Steve completed the USAF Test Pilot School course at Edwards Air Force Base in 1989 and was assigned to Eglin Air Force Base in 1990 as an experimental test pilot. While a member of the 3247th Test Squadron, Steve served as the deputy director of the Advanced Tactical Air Reconnaissance System Joint Test Force and as the squadron’s F-16 flight commander. Additionally, he served as an Integrated Product team leader in the USAF SEEK EAGLE Office where he was responsible for weapons certification for the F-16, F-111, A-10 and F-117 aircraft. Steve retired from the Air Force in September 2006 after logging more than 7,000 hours of flying time in more than 50 different types of aircraft.

Steve was assigned to NASA as an astronaut candidate in 1995, becoming an astronaut the following year and qualifying for flight assignment as a pilot. During his 15+ year tenure at NASA, Steve completed five space flights and logged more than 1,510 hours in space. He served as pilot on STS-87 in 1997 and STS-95 in 1998, and was the mission commander on STS-104 in 2001, STS-121 in 2006 and STS-133 in 2011. He last served as chief of the astronaut corps, overseeing spacecraft development, crew selection and training and flight test/crew operations in support of the space shuttle, International Space Station (ISS) and Constellation Programs.

Upon joining Sierra Space, Steve led Dream Chaser flight operations. In August 2013, he was selected as Dream Chaser senior director and co-program manager tasked with managing the Dream Chaser systems development. Steve led the Dream Chaser program through the design certification phase, including atmospheric flight tests of the Engineering Test Article at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California; and launch, orbit operations, entry and landing of the Dream Chaser cargo and crew systems for low-Earth orbit missions to the ISS.

In 2015, Steve was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame at Kennedy Space Center. He has also received several industry and government recognition awards throughout his career including: Distinguished Graduate USAF Undergraduate Pilot Training and Distinguished Graduate and recipient of the Liethen-Tittle Award as the outstanding test pilot of the USAF Test Pilot School Class 89A.



1374 Campus Delivery
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1374


AIAA Student Memberships have unique benefits. Explore everything a membership has to offer here. To join the CSU chapter, start by filling out this form, and we will follow up. Annual fees are $15.

High school students interested in joining AIAA before coming to CSU can sign up for free! Join here


AIAA Faculty Advisor – Karen Thorsett-Hill

If you’re not sure who to contact or have general questions, you can send an email to the general AIAA account: aiaa.colostate@gmail.com


Our sponsors are an important part of our organization, and their gifts help support our events. If you are a company interested in sponsoring AIAA at CSU, please email aiaa.coloradostate@gmail.com.