DA: Discover Aerospace


Giant rockets thundering into space, and rocket motors smaller than a postage stamp. Clouds of tiny unmanned airplanes gathering climate data. Rovers with wheels that change shape depending on the planetary surface. Airliners that make no more noise than a big truck. Form-fitting spacesuits that look like a diver’s wetsuit. The future of space and aviation technology is exciting, challenging, and fun – and now’s your chance to get a feel of what it’s like to be a part of it!

MIT’s AeroAstro Department invites you to join us for Discover Aerospace, an introduction to aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. First, you’ll learn basic rocket design from a long-time NASA astronaut. Then you’ll work with amazing DA mentors to design, build, and test your own rocket. You’ll visit our space and aviation research labs and a local startup; discover unique opportunities for undergraduate research; catch a movie at the Boston Museum of Science or sail the Charles River; learn about the Course 16 major and receive advice from current students and faculty. 

Schedule (subject to change)

  • Day 1: Join us at 9 AM (Room 33-116) for a special welcome to the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department; learn the basics of aircraft design; design, build, and fly a paper airplane; visit our Man Vehicle Lab to see how space travel affects the human body; and enjoy dinner and a movie with AeroAstro undergraduate students. 
  • Day 2: Learn the fundamentals of rocket design; get briefed on the Rocket Design Challenge; design and build a rocket in the Gelb Student Lab; tour the Aerospace Controls Lab and see autonomous aircraft in action; and have lunch while watching acrobatic model aircraft perform.
  • Day 3: Complete your rocket and test it; visit a local startup (TBA); then relax at dinner at a local restaurant or sail the Charles River and dine at the MIT sailing pavilion.
  • Day 4: Launch your rocket in a competition on MIT’s Briggs Field; then join AeroAstro students and faculty for a BBQ lunch and the Design Challenge Awards. 

DA Specifics

  • Dates: Thursday, August 23 – Sunday, August 26
  • Place: In and around Boston and the MIT campus. First year students will be housed in their assigned dormitories.
  • Available Spaces: 30
  • Cost: No charge.