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

Next Meeting Date: TBD

Time:     7pm

Place:    Engineering B101


Additional details to come!

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.


2021 AIAA SciTech Forum: Accelerating Innovation Through Diversity

The 2021 AIAA SciTech Forum will explore how the diversification of teams, industry sectors, technologies, design cycles, and perspectives can all be leveraged toward innovation.

Follow this link to view the program, speakers, and to register!

Special Session 21 January 2021 at 2pm: Plenary Session: Building on the Shuttle Legacy

“The conversation will explore the impact Challenger, Columbia, and the overall Shuttle Program had on multiple generations of space explorers – what lessons have we learned, how has our outlook on human spaceflight evolved, and why do the missions, specifically the Challenger crew, still resonate so strongly. Facilitated by veteran aerospace journalist Miles O’ Brien, the panel will provide insights and stories that will connect the dots to today’s human spaceflight outlook.”

AIAA RM Student Branch Networking Event: Talent Acquisition Panel

Join AIAA for an opportunity to get tips and tricks for getting in front of a hiring manager. Featuring a panel of recruiters from aerospace companies like BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin Space, United Launch Alliance and Geologics.

Thursday, January 21, 4:30-6:30pm MST

RSVP here: AIAA Networking Event.

Aerospace Engineering Scholarships

To encourage your aerospace pursuits, CSU’s Mechanical Engineering Department will award up to four $5,000 scholarships to students who declare an undergraduate concentration in aerospace engineering. Scholarships will apply to the next academic year.

Minimum 3.0 GPA required. Application deadline: March 1, 2021.

Apply here!


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.


Major: Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Aerospace Engineering

Graduation Year: 2021

Favorite things about AIAA: “I find satisfaction in the guest speakers that visit AIAA to inspire members and officers alike. Guest speakers always give me a boost of energy and motivation when classes get me down. I enjoy meeting the people who work in the aerospace industry and I love to network with these speakers. I also love the involvement of the IREC team members within AIAA. I find rocketry interesting and I believe AIAA is a great place to meet the people who make up the aerospace industry.”

Johnny Buck CSU Mechanical Engineering Student

Major: Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Aerospace Engineering

Graduation Year: 2022

Favorite things about AIAA: “Design Build Fly has to be my favorite. It’s an incredibly fun competition which teaches many lessons about the engineering process. I also just enjoy meeting new people at our events.”  

Peter Sperl CSU Mechanical Engineering Student

AIAA Faculty AdvisorsAnthony Marchese and Xinfeng Gao

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.