AIAA Student Membership

AIAA welcomes student participants to the Region VI Student Conference. Students must join AIAA to be eligible to compete in the conference. For more information about Student Membership visit us online. Student membership is only $25 USD.

Questions about AIAA? Please contact the AIAA Student Programs Coordinator, Rachel Dowdy, at

Presentation Count

Undergraduate:  3

Master's:  2

Team:  9

Last Updated: March 27, 2018

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Important Dates

Registration Opens: 

January 1, 2018

Abstract Deadline: EXTENSION

March 8, 2018 11:59pm
Technical Report Deadline: 

March 17, 2018

Regular Registration Closes: 

March 30, 2018


April 6-8, 2018


Document Library
AIAA Author Kit

Your paper should be prepared according to AIAA Manuscript Preparation Kit. Please note that the paper can be no longer than 11 pages single column because this is a student competition. Undergraduate and Graduate Competition papers may have up to two student authors.

Information for authors and a template can be found on the AIAA website, Author Resources.

Judging Menu
AIAA Region VI Student Conference

Keynote Speaker: Tucker "Cinco" Hamilton


Lt Col Tucker "Cinco" Hamilton is a Experimental Fighter Test Pilot for the United States Air Force. He is also the Director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force and Commander of the 461st Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California. He directs an integrated team of over 1,000 active duty, government civilians, and contractors in the planning, execution and reporting of F-35 Developmental Testing. Cinco started his Air Force career as an operational F-15C pilot.  He supported multiple Red Flag Exercises and real world Operation Noble Eagle missions where he protected the President of the United States; at times escorting Air Force One. He then served as an Air Liaison Officer in Germany where he was the director of operations for a key command and control squadron. While serving in Germany he was hand-selected to be the initial cadre for the first  MC-12 squadron in Afghanistan; heralding in the Air Force's first tactical Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance aircraft. He served as the Chief Instructor for 200+ aircrew and accumulated over 400 combat hours directly supporting ground forces. After his time in the MC-12 he attended the USAF Test Pilot School (TPS) where he flew 30 different aircraft, wrote 38 technical reports, and took part in the first Automatic Air Collision Avoidance System testing.


After TPS graduation he became an F-15C and F-15E Instructor Experimental Test Pilot and the Technical Director for the Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force at Eglin AFB, FL. He was the lead test pilot on 11 test programs; supporting the newest software, systems, and weapons for the 450+ F-15 fleet. He then served at the Pentagon as the Developmental Test & Evaluation (DT&E) Lead for the Joint Strike Fighter, F-35; overseeing the entire DT&E effort for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marines. He managed an 18 test-aircraft fleet of specially equipped F-35s across multiple operating locations with a $3B budget. After his F-35 work in D.C. he transitioned to Edwards AFB, CA as  the Director of F-35 Operations. After a year in that role he took Command of the F-35 Integrated Test Force where it current serves. Lt Col Hamilton is a senior pilot with combat experience and more than 1,700 flying hours in the F-35A/B/C, F-15C/D/E, F-18, F-16, A-10, T-38A/C, T-34, T-6, and 20 additional aircraft.

Lt Col Hamilton has a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Colorado (’02), an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Tennessee (’09), and an M.S. in Flight Test Engineering from the USAF Test Pilot School (’12).

Cinco has been heavily involved with AIAA; most recently as the inaugural chair of the AIAA STEM K-12 Committee, a position he handed over after 2 years in October 2017. Coupled with his AIAA STEM outreach work he started a non-profit STEM outreach organization, STEM-ED, where he connects teachers to STEM volunteers. Cinco currently lives in California with his wife and four young children.

Notable Achievments

Society of Experimental Test Pilots Annual Herman Salmon Award, 2017

USAF STEM Contributor of the Year, 2016

Ten Outstanding Young American Award, 2015

USAF ISR Officer of the Year, 2010

University of Colorado Thomas Jefferson Award, 2002


 Speaker: Rostislav Spektor


Rostislav Spektor is the Electric Propulsion and Plasma Science section manager in the Propulsion Sciences Department at the Aerospace Corporation. He is also the current chair of the AIAA Electric Propulsion Technical Committee (EPTC) and the technical chair of the International Electric Propulsion

Conference, which was held in Atlanta, Georgia in 2017. Dr. Spektor holds a PhD in Aerospace Engineering, with emphasis on electric propulsion and plasma science, from Princeton University. He also has a BS degree in Nuclear Engineering as well as in Materials Sciences from UC Berkeley. Dr. Spektor joined The Aerospace Corporation in 2004 as a Member of Technical Staff and participated in the design, construction, launches, and orbital support of multiple Air Force satellites. In his role as a laboratory section manager he is responsible for coordinating the efforts of a dozen PhD scientists and supporting stuff. He also helped to develop and implement multiple commercial contracts, design and improve innovative diagnostics technics and is an author of multiple journal and conference papers.

AbstractElectric Propulsion and the Future of Space Exploration

Electric Propulsion (EP) technology was known to be an effective mode of spacecraft transportation since the dawn of the space age. First satellite tests of EP devices were conducted as early as 1964 and by the 21st century hundreds of EP thruster were responsible for performing station-keeping duties on multiple satellites and enabling NASA to visit far-off asteroids. Because, in part, of the latest advances in the solar array technology, the role of EP devices has expanded to orbit insertion as well as very low orbit station maintenance – a role that chemical propulsion would not be able to fulfill. Recently Boeing has flown all-EP satellites, which rely entirely on electric propulsion (i.e no chemical thrusters) and many other companies are rapidly developing their all-EP satellites, as well. In this talk we will trace the development of EP technology from its early implementation to the current state-of-the-art, and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of flying electric propulsion on satellites. We will also peer into the future and discuss how EP may change the way we explore space. 

Speaker: Stephen Frick


Stephen Frick is the Director of Strategic Planning and Operations at the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company Advanced Technology Center (ATC). In this role he is responsible for ensuring the efficient execution of research and engineering programs, and developing new opportunities for the technological innovation needed to provide Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company with future discriminating capabilities.


Mr. Frick joins Lockheed Martin after a nineteen-year career as a NASA Astronaut. He has flown two space missions on the Shuttle Atlantis, as pilot on mission STS-110 in 2002 and mission commander on STS-122, for a total of over 565 hours in space. Other key positions in support of human spaceflight included Astronaut Office Exploration Branch Chief, Orion Program Flight Crew Testing Lead, and the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School Smith/McCool NASA Chair Professor.


A 1986 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, he served as a naval aviator, strike fighter pilot, and test pilot retiring as a Captain in 2010. He has logged more than 4,300 flight hours in 38 different aircraft, including 26 combat missions and over 370 carrier landings. His awards include the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V, and Defense Meritorious Service Medal. Mr. Frick has a BS in Aerospace Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy, and an MS in Aeronautical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. He is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.