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Student teams soar to success

Ohio State engineering students excelled in a wide range of hands-on competitions this summer, earning awards in major international and national rocketry, aviation, energy and underwater robotics events.


Buckeyes soar to first place at international rocket competition

Buckeye Space Launch Initiative team members and rockets—left to right: 30K-ft, 100K-ft and 10K-ft—with mechanical engineering staff who supported the projects.For the second straight year, the Buckeye Space Launch Initiative team brought a Spaceport America Cup first place trophy back to campus.

Held in June at the Spaceport America headquarters in New Mexico, the largest annual intercollegiate rocket engineering event hosted over 120 teams from around the world. The five-day event challenged teams of college students to design, build and launch solid-, liquid- or hybrid-fuel rockets to a targeted altitude.

The Buckeyes’ rocket targeted for an altitude of 10,000 feet took first place in the Student Researched and Designed category, reaching 10,080 feet over the desert. The rocket, dubbed I-O, was propelled by a solid motor and carried a payload of nine pounds. The team’s 40 undergraduate student team members also competed in the 30,000-foot category and launched a two-stage exhibition rocket aimed at reaching 100,000 feet.

“We hope the team can keep building on its successes, with improved designs and manufacturing, in order to ensure we stay competitive internationally,” said Nic Flesher, the team’s program manager.


Lady Buckeyes Yasmine Abu Arab, Josie Cotugno and Aly Bond.

Lady Buckeyes place second in Air Race Classic

For the second year in a row, a team of three Ohio State pilots competed in the Air Race Classic, the only women's cross-country flight competition. Yasmine Abu Arab (’18, aviation), air transportation major Josie Cotugno, and engineering and mathematics double major Aly Bond finished seventh overall and second among college teams—soaring above their goal of placing in the top 10.

The unique competition—which tests piloting skills and aviation decision-making—spanned four days and 2,656 miles, beginning in Sweetwater, Texas and ending in Fryeburg, Maine. More of a rally than an actual race, 60 teams battled against their own predictions of time, weather, gas mileage and performance.


Power electronics team members (l to r, from O) Matt Foster, Boxue Hu, John Brothers and Jeff Hensal.

Power electronics students excel at international energy challenge

Power electronics team members Matt Foster, Boxue Hu, John Brothers and Jeff Hensal earned the Outstanding Presentation Award at the 2018 IEEE International Future Energy Challenge in Beijing, China, for their work in next-generation residential energy storage systems. Advised by Jin Wang, professor of electrical and computer engineering, the Buckeyes’ second generation one kW 400 V to 40 V bi-directional DC/DC converter achieved 91.5 percent efficiency at the peak power. One of ten finalists, the Buckeyes were the only U.S. team to qualify for the final competition held at Tsinghua University in July.


The Underwater Robotics team earned a Best Presenter Award at RoboSub 2018.Underwater Robotics Team goes deep in San Diego

Competing against 47 teams from 10 countries, the Underwater Robotics team earned the Best Presenter Award at the International RoboSub Competition in San Diego, California. RoboSub challenges engineering students to perform complex missions in an underwater environment. This was only the third year Buckeyes have participated in an autonomous vehicle competition with their student-designed and –manufactured robot, called Riptide. Prior to 2016 their underwater vehicle was remotely operated.