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Senior Capstone Projects

Undergraduate students participate in a rigorous design-and-build project focusing on the skills and knowledge unique to the field of aerospace engineering.

All projects provide students with focused mentoring, an opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary teamwork, practice communication skills and gain a deeper knowledge of regulatory requirements; fiscal and procurement management; social and ethical considerations and market awareness.

We offer a variety of project opportunities within the industry, student organizations and in-house research. Students also have the option to propose their own projects. Some of our past completed projects range from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), CubeSats, rocket launches, drones, and supersonic flight. Applications have covered search and rescue, wildlife conservation, essential deliveries, environmental preservation, and more.

Capstone options

When selecting a capstone project, students should weigh their research and subject interests, relevant skills to contribute and career goals.



As part of the industry capstone program, students participate in company-sponsored projects that tackle real-world, multidisciplinary engineering problems while receiving support and mentorship from their sponsors.

Registered Student Organizations (RSO)

Students in select A&A-affiliated RSOs may choose to advance their annual projects through their senior capstone. Recent RSO capstones have included SARP, SEDS and A&A CubeSat.

In-house Research

Faculty-led research capstone projects advance the theoretical understanding of aerospace topics and can involve focused, specialized research or more expansive concepts. When sponsored by industry or government organizations, these projects generally entail wider aircraft design or space systems.

Large team projects must accommodate both domestic and international students, so the selected topics must not involve any constraints related to export-controlled material. Some projects may require US citizenship and/or NDA constraints.

2020-2021 Projects

The AeroVironment capstone team field testing the deployment mechanism of an RC quadcopter.

AeroVironment UAV

This team will demonstrate the feasibility of deploying one or more quadcopter aircraft from the payload bay of an RC plane. The quadcopter will then recover from tumble and execute a mission to fly to a GPS located target where it will relay video footage back to a ground station.

Garrett Jordan, Monica Kim, Max McGowan, Icevar Naguleswaran, Devon Smith, Chris Won.
Advisers: Matt Keenon and Kristi Morgansen

Watch video
The Applewhite Aerobaton prototype for remote response designed by the UW Applewhite Capstone team for Applewhite Aero.

Applewhite Baton

This team will lock down a configuration for the Applewhite Aero Baton Prototype. Applewhite wants to streamline compatibility of their parts. Additionally, they are creating and implementing an interface for autonomous deployment of the Baton (from an air vehicle).

Joseph Bellevue, Jillian Hottelli, Janet Liu, Brian Mach, Haley Stewart, Ethan Uehara 
Adviser: Kristi Morgansen

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A disaster response UAV aircraft designed alongside Boeing by the UW Boeing Capstone Team.

Boeing Disaster Response UAV

This team will design an emergency response, high endurance UAV, carrying a payload that can provide cellular coverage to an operating area in addition to cameras. Some of their requirements include a minimum of 12 hours endurance and a takeoff and land within 1000 feet.

Isaiah Cuadras, Drake King, Jacqueline Marquette, Howard Peng, Sam Reissman, Eric Rubhaka, Quintin Serrano, Victor Via, Jinhee Xu, Mitsuki Yonder
Advisers: Gary Cohen, Eli Levin, and Matthew Orr

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A Supersonic Cruise Reference airliner concept simulated by the UW Supersonic Capstone team in conjunction with NASA SCALOS efforts.

NASA Supersonic Airplane Design (SCALOS)

This team will contribute to a 3-year NASA university-led Commercial Supersonics Technology project by studying and selecting supersonic commercial configurations that demonstrate acceptable low-speed performance and low-sonic boom characteristics. Their goal is to conduct design, analysis, and development of performance and S&C predictions via simulation software to further define the Supersonic Cruise Reference airliner concept for use by the NASA grant SCALOS effort.

Austin Chandra, Brendan Geffe, Nathan Han, Danny Beeson, Colton Hill, Anant Kapur, Shelby Lee, Zhangsheng Lian, Pascal Nagata, Anwar Moustafa, Ignacio Re, Michael Stemen, Vinsensius 
Advisers: Eli Livne and Chet Nelson

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CAD model of a 6U satellite computational mechanism designed by the CUBESAT team.

6U Cubesat: Maratus Mission

This team will launch and operation a 6U satellite holding an optical payload designed to measure ambient gases between galaxies. Their goal is to collect data to improve the current computational model of the circumgalactic medium.

Nicholas Chu, Athil George, Thomas Key, Luke Kuklenski, Carie Lai, Jae Lee, Josh MacLurg, Nicholas Sianghio, Nicholas Toyama, Eric Wills
Advisers: Charlie Kelly and Taylor Reynolds

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SARP Propulsion design for 70 lbf thrust vectored aerospike engine.

SARP Propulsion: Aerospike Nozzle

This team will develop a subscale rocket engine utilizing an aerospike nozzle geometry with implementation of thrust vector control using fluid injection.

Kristina Dong, Josh Forsythe, Michelle Graebner, Adrian Lo, Jared Smythe, Zach Tom, Oliver Ruo, Chris van den Heuvel, Catherine Wilborn
Advisers: Jim Hermanson and Ms. Nyssa Thompson

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SARP Designs for a Traditional and Composite Aluminum Coupler.

SARP Structures: Composite Recovery Coupler

This team will create a lighter, stronger Recovery Coupler for the current SARP rocket, Pacific Impulse, out of composite material.

Greg Boyce, Zach Gommi, Cat Hannahs, Gabby McDaniel, Toby Moreno 
Advisers: Ed Habtour and Kiefer Dundas (Janicki Industries)

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Launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, United States.

SEDS: RRC Multistage Rocket

This team will design, construct, and fly a 1 kg scientific payload to an altitude of 10K ft on a rocket with the use of only Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) motors.

Alex Barbera, Bao Truong, Caroline Paxton, Kyle Fisher, Noah Piper, Steven Tu, Taylor Mills, Wenkang Wang
Adviser: Kristi Morgansen

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Of the 64 satellites on board the SSO-A ride-share mission, 49 of them are cubesats. This illustration shows how these cubesats will be deployed in low-Earth orbit.

SOC-i Cubesat: GNC Hardware

This team will create a GNC sensor and actuator system. This is done through a GNC operating loop, which runs continuously during flight to control the satellite’s altitude.

Branton Bradford, Ryan Lorette, William Pope, Alex Zhen 
Advisers: Charlie Kelly and Taylor Reynolds

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Past projects

  • Airbus | Battery Swapping System for Electric Aircraft
  • Applewhite Aero | Baton, A Precision Delivery System
  • Boeing | 50 & 76 Seat Regional Aircraft Family
  • TLG Aerospace | Design for Robust Laminar Flow on High Lift Airfoils
  • Vulcan| Improved Conservation UAV

See projects details

  • Boeing | Dedicated Air Freighter Design
  • Boeing | Thermoplastic Composite Control Surface Integrated Wing Design/Build
  • GKN Aerospace | Next Generation Midsize Airliner Lipskin Design Trade Study
  • Latécoère | Aircraft Door Flight Lock
  • magniX | The All-Electric Air Tractor

See projects details

  • AeroTEC | Trailing Pressure Measurement System
  • AT&T | LTE Antenna for Tethered Drones
  • Blue Origin | New Glenn Booster Robotic Approach
  • Boeing | Hybrid-Electric STOL Air Taxi Design
  • GKN Aerospace | Effect of Embedded Dissimilar Materials on the Fatigue Life of Honeycomb Panels
  • GKN Aerospace | Flow Characteristics of Manufacturing Defects on Lip Skins and the Effect on Specific Fuel Consumption
  • Sagetech | Angle of Attack Sensor for Small UAS
  • Vulcan Technologies | Poacher Discovery and Tracking from an Aerial Vehicle

See projects details

Industry-sponsored capstone program

The UW College of Engineering (COE) Industry Sponsored Capstone Program is a college-wide effort that is designed to provide effective project-based and team-based education of undergraduate students to meet the needs of engineering, science and industry.

To learn about sponsoring an Aeronautics & Astronautics Capstone project, visit the COE Industry Capstone Program.