On Saturday, April 24th, 2010, five finalist teams from southern California universities gathered at UC Irvine to give presentations invited by the Society of Automotive Engineering's (SAE) Mac Short Competition. The five finalist teams were the UCI Satellite Team, UCI Rocket Team, CSUN's Solar-Powered UAV team, and Cal Poly Pomona's Human Asteroid Exploration (HAES) team, and Mesospheric Exploration Research Vehicle (MERV) team. Each team had twenty minutes to give an oral Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentation summarizing the team's design work using no more than 20 slides, and then was questioned by a panel of judges.
Cal Poly Pomona had two teams entered, both teams consisting of Aerospace Engineering seniors. The first team's challenge was to design a Human Asteroid Exploration & Sample return system (HAES). Team HAES consisted of team lead Matt Sipek and team members Narek Der Sahakian, Huan Le, Shobhit Mehrotra, Anthony Parabicoli, Michael Parker, and Sergey Yushin. Their task was provided as part of a national student competition hosted by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Team MERV's challenge was to "design an aerospace vehicle suitable for sampling the composition and physical parameters of Earth¹s mesosphere." The task was provided and supported by scientists and engineers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. Team Mesospheric Exploration Research Vehicle (MERV) consisted of team lead Kenneth Orleans and team members James Brown, Nathan Byrd, Alain Chau, Janessa Godwin-Austin, Brandon Olson, Andie Phan, Jesus Rovira, and Mark Walters.
Both of the Cal Poly Pomona teams were advised by Prof. Don Edberg, and both did the design work as part of their Aerospace Vehicle Design class.
After the five teams presented to the judges and answered questions, the winners were announced: Cal Poly's MERV team came in first, and Team HAES came in second! The winning team brought a $1000 check back to the Aerospace Department; the second-place team received a $750 check. The money will be used to support Cal Poly Pomona's design projects next year.
The Mac Short Competition honors that entrepreneurial spirit of Southern California aviation pioneer Mac Short. It's a student competition intended to support engineering design education in Southern California Universities. In 2010, more than $2500 in price money was awarded to the schools represented by the competing teams.