About the MASA Team

Our mission is to design and fabricate sounding rockets, focusing on projects involving new hybrid propulsion technologies and composite structures. Every year, we enter into the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC) in order to launch these rockets and compete against teams worldwide. MASA's rocket projects range from simple introduction rockets which familiarize engineering students with practical design challenges, to high-tech rockets which travel to up to 30,000 feet in altitude.

MASA is also committed to giving back to the community by starting a new initiative involving local high school students in the design of each year's payload. At the bi-annual university Aerospace Day, MASA members also give tours to young prospective students and demonstrate small rocket launches. We believe that youth interest in STEM fields is vital to the growth of the community, and we strive to take the lead in this endeavor.

At the University of Michigan, MASA boasts members from a wide range of science and engineering majors, and we welcome new members from any department at the university. There are certainly a variety of ways to get involved, ranging from the development of sophisticated propulsion systems, to state-of-the-art composite structural analysis, to high-tech flight electronics systems design.

Meet the Leads


President: Jacob Ketcham
Jacob Ketcham is currently a senior majoring in Aerospace Engineering. As President, he is the team's external face to the University, and he keeps all of the other leads in check. He is also a member of the propulsion subteam, where he has worked on various projects to help develop MASA's hybrid rocket engine. You can contact Jacob at jketch@umich.edu.


Vice President: Somya Srivastava
Somya Srivastava is currently a senior majoring in Aerospace Engineering. As Vice President, she is in charge of planning for competition and organizing outreach events. In addition, she is leading the integration of new members. She is also a member of the propulsion team, where she has previously worked on the development of a composite overwrapped pressure vessel (COPV). You can contact Somya at somsriva@umich.edu.

Social Chair: Kat Shipers
Kat (Katherine) Shipers originally enrolled in the nursing program at Michigan, but is now transferring to the College of Engineering to major in Aerospace Engineering. Kat believes being social is a key to success and she will be organizing social events for MASA to help grow and maintain the cohesiveness and camaraderie within the team. She is also a member of the airframe and propulsion subteams, having previously worked in the chemical lab to make fuel grains and igniter grains. You can contact Kat at kshipers@umich.edu.

Business Manager: Tyler Baker
Tyler Baker is a junior majoring in Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Physics. As Business Manager, he works with suppliers and donors to ensure that MASA has the resources to continue building rockets. He also maintains MASA's external image and is in charge of social media. In addition to being an administrative lead, he plans to remain fully involved in the ATLO and propulsion subteams. You can contact Tyler at tylerba@umich.edu.



Treasurer: Alex Philpott
Alex Philpott is currently a junior in Aerospace Engineering. As Treasurer, he manages the team's budgets, tracks spending, and issues reimbursements to any team member who uses personal funds to buy materials for MASA. Alex is also a member of the avionics and propulsion subteams; he has previously worked on the fill and ignition systems. You can contact Alex at alexphi@umich.edu.


Safety Officer: Nikhil Shankar
Nikhil Shankar is a sophomore double majoring in Mathematics and Physics. As Safety Officer, it is his job to make sure everyone on the team works safely and that no one gets hurt. To do this, he participates in the technical subteams, doing most of his work in the propulsion subteam. You can contact Nikhil at nshankar@umich.edu.




Chief Engineer: Nick Sterenberg
Nick Sterenberg is a junior majoring in Electrical Engineering. As chief engineer, he is responsible for the overall construction and design of both competition rockets. In addition to this, Nick is active on the avionics team, helping design and test flight hardware and software. You can contact Nick at nsternie@umich.edu.


Propulsion Lead: Cameron Buccellato
Cameron Buccellato is a sophomore majoring in Aerospace Engineering and is responsible for overseeing the team's rocket engine development efforts. Last year, he led the mass reduction subteam within propulsion to reduce the mass of the hybrid engine. This year, he is starting MASA's effort to develop a bipropellant liquid rocket engine, while also continuing the development of the hybrid engine. You can contact Cameron at cbucc@umich.edu.


Airframe Lead: Randall Ticknor
Randall Ticknor is currently a junior majoring in Aerospace Engineering and minoring in Computer Science. As Airframe Lead, he oversees the design of the rocket's airframe structure, engine integration structure, and analysis of the aerodynamics ensuring the flight is stable and reaches the required altitude. He also leads the development of the recovery system so that the rocket returns safely and can be reused. You can contact Randall at rticknor@umich.edu.



Avionics Lead: Devin Salbert
Devin Salbert is the Avionics (Aerospace Electronics) Lead in MASA, and he is a sophomore majoring in Electrical Engineering with a minor in German. As avionics lead, he oversees the flight critical electrical systems, as well as experimental avionics projects to fly on the rockets. He also manages integrating ground support systems with propulsion for engine testing. Anyone with an interest in electronics should contact him at salbertd@umich.edu.



Production Manager: Rishi Jashnani
Rishi Jashnani is currently a junior majoring in Aerospace Engineering. As Production Manager, he is responsible for machining various components for MASA's rockets, training new members on machines, researching new manufacturing techniques, and setting/maintaining build deadlines. In addition to serving as Production Manager, he is a member of the ATLO, propulsion, and airframe subteams. You can contact Rishi at rishiji@umich.edu.



Assembly, Test, & Launch Operations: Stephen Lisius
Stephen Lisius is a junior majoring in Aerospace Engineering as well as minoring in Mathematics and Music. As the Assembly, Test, & Launch Operations (ATLO) lead, he runs and coordinates launches and tests, creates their procedures, prepares work sessions, and oversees the test site. As necessary for the ATLO lead, he will remain active in and maintain a close relationship with the propulsion subteam. You can contact Stephen at stlisius@umich.edu.

Payload Lead: Madhav Goli
Madhav Goli is currently a junior majoring in Electrical Engineering. As Payload Lead, he is in charge of designing and building the payloads for all of MASA's rockets. Each payload will serve as an experiment to be conducted during the rocket's flight, while also providing the required payload mass to qualify the rocket for competition. Madhav is also on the propulsion and avionics subteams. You can contact him at yomn@umich.edu.