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Senior Capstone Projects

The senior capstone project is one of the most intensive, memorable, and eye-opening experiences in the undergraduate program.

Update: Watch our 2021 Capstone Film Fest on YouTube!

May 28, 2021 at 4pm or watch the stream later on YouTube.

BSAAE students complete a rigorous design and build project focusing specifically on the skills and knowledge unique to the field of aerospace engineering. All projects provide students with focused industry mentoring, interdisciplinary teamwork, written and oral communication skills, engagement with regulatory requirements, fiscal and procurement management, social and ethical considerations, and market awareness.

Capstone Options

For A&A students, three options are available for capstone design: 

  • Large team in aeronautics, sponsored by the A&A Department, that creates a new scale-model fixed wing aircraft each year based on a current design topic of direct relevance to industry or military needs.
  • Large team in astronautics, sponsored by the A&A Department, that focuses on development and testing of a launch system and payload such as a cubesat.
  • Small team projects allowing students to directly engage with industry on current and emergent engineering challenges, which may be industry-sponsored through the College of Engineering, faculty-sponsored, or self-organized (see your adviser if you would like to submit an application to create a Capstone Project).

The large team projects must accommodate both domestic and international students, so the selected topics must not involve any constraints related to export controlled material. Requirements for US citizenship and/or NDA constraints are possible for the small team projects.

When selecting a Capstone Project, students should weigh their research and subject interests, relevant skills to contribute, career goals and more.

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.

2020-2021 Projects

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

2019-2020 Projects

Visit the College of Engineering website for summaries of the 2019-2020 industry capstone projects.

Airbus: Urban mobility battery swap

Applewhite Aero: Baton, a precision delivery system

Boeing: Regional aircraft family

TLG Aerospace: Robust laminar flow over a high endurance airfoil

Vulcan: Wildlife conservation drone

UW A&A Aircraft Design: The NASA / Lockheed Martin X59 quiet supersonic flight demonstrator.

Society for Advanced Rocket Propulsion: Liquid bipropellant rocket.

CubeSat: Flight hardware that will fly in space.

RAVEN: Rocket analog vehicle for experiments in guidance, navigation, and control.

Completed Projects


Visit the College of Engineering website for summaries of the 2018-2019 industry capstone projects.

In addition, faculty and student-led projects included aircraft design, CubeSats, origami structures, and space systems design.


Visit the College of Engineering website for summaries of the 2017-2018 industry capstone projects.