Campus: CSU Long Beach -- March 12, 2004

CALVEIN Project at Cal State Long Beach Receives Award from L.A. Council of Engineers, Scientists

California Launch Vehicle Education Initiative (CALVEIN) at California State University, Long Beach has received an Engineering Project Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Council of Engineers and Scientists (LACES) for its two successful launches of an aerospike rocket engine. The award was presented recently during the 2004 LACES Engineering Awards Banquet.

LACES serves as a coordinating organization of technical societies and associations in the greater Los Angeles area. The council’s primary purpose is to operate for educational and charitable purposes by promoting the advancement of engineering and science.

Council officials cited two main reasons for presenting the award to the CALVEIN project, including “the benefits it has in terms of student mentoring, workforce development and inspiration for future generations of engineers and scientists” and the technologies developed as part of the program.

“This is one of LACES’ goals--to promote engineers and scientists, and we feel this project is very worthy of recognition, especially during Engineering Week,” commented Mike Simpson, president of LACES.
Some 50 Cal State Long Beach students have been working in cooperation with Garvey Spacecraft Corp. and other industry mentors to develop key technologies that may contribute to cheaper and more responsive spacecraft applications for commercial and military use.

The 1,000-pound thrust aerospike engine prototype developed by the CSULB team uses
liquid propellants, and its test flight made it the first such engine to have successfully powered a
rocket after more than four decades of industry research. The technology for aerospike engines would greatly benefit single state-to-orbit vehicles such as the Space Shuttle, which operates with engines from sea level to orbital velocity.

“We are delighted that such partnership between academia and industry is being recognized for both its educational benefits and the technologies it helped develop, technologies which could greatly enhance the performance of future launch vehicle and help make space more accessible,” said Eric Besnard, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and director of the CALVEIN project.

Among those on hand to accept the award were Besnard, industry partner John Garvey, president of Garvey Spacecraft Corporation and student team members Ashley Carter, senior and president of the CSULB student chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and senior Christian Rojas. Other attendees included: Jalal Torabzadeh, CSULB professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and program coordinator of mechanical engineering; Paul Skaar, a technician in the CSULB Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering who works closely with the students.

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