From top-left to bottom-right: Aditya Vasantharao, Srikar Gouru, Aarya Patel, Rishi Lahoti, Ankit Khandelwal, Jason Chen, Daniel DeConti, Ron Nachum, Ethan Ai, Dabini Muldoon, Akash Bhave, Gabriel Witkop, Dermot Molony, Jack Blair, Lisa Raj, Anna Catalano, Sophia Troshynski, Anya Mischel, Mitali Gandhe, Richa Misra. Absent from picture: Nurdin Hossain, Anika Thatavarthy, Adit Pareek, Aryan Chinnala, Jacob Consalvi, Jessica Chen, Santiago Criado, Tanmay Neema, Hardeep Mann, Caleb Arlandu, Liam West, Niko Economos, Anish Paspuleti, Eric Feng, Harika Akundi, Mihika Dusad, Suraj Vaddi, Cyril Sharma, Michael Fatemi, and Anya Raval.

Mission

The mission at Project Caelus is to design, build, test, and launch a bipropellant liquid-fueled rocket to the edge of space while also creating opportunities that introduce young kids to the ever-growing aerospace industry and teaching the community about the importance of STEM education in an increasingly technological world. Through our project, we hope to show young people that it’s possible to do something that has never been done before and that there is no age threshold to exploring science and pushing technological boundaries.

Subsystems

Programming

Codes ground software and flight software, which is necessary for monitoring the sensor values during tests.

Propulsion

Does rocket calculations, uses CAD to design rocket parts, and utilizes MATLAB for flight simulations.

Outreach

Contacts sponsors, organizes events, and reaches out to other non-profits for partnerships with events.

Members

Jason Chen

Hi! My name is Jason and I’m the founder of Project Caelus. I was inspired by the story of Homer Hickam and the rocket boys, who, from their small coal mining town in West Virginia, managed to build high-flying rocket from scratch. It showed me that anything is possible, and that my dreams of reaching space were within grasp. It’s been three years (and counting) since Project Caelus was started, and everyday my dream to reach space only grows closer, and my desire stronger. But what keeps me going day in and day out are the amazing people that I’ve met along the way: the members of Project Caelus. They’re the funniest, nicest, and most passionate group of people that I’m lucky enough to call my friends.

Akash Bhave

Rockets are neat and Jason's a cool guy, which is why I helped start Project Caelus. During my glorious time as the software lead, I was the subsystem's train conductor, making stops at every possible language I could pull the brakes at. Srikar's handling the flight software a lot better at the moment. Nowadays, I distract the team by urging them to use obscure technologies. Bikes are also neat, which is why I like to bike.

Lisa Raj

My name is Lisa Raj Singh and I've been thrilled to serve as Outreach Lead for Project Caelus, a team of some of the most passionate people I know! I won't lie at times it's been confusing, figuring out how to legitimatize our contribution to the real world despite existing prenotions that come with our young age and lack of experience. However, through our efforts I've expanded my interest in improving communication skills with everything from delivering pitches to companies to teaching a young child about the role of aerospace in improving climate change. As someone who advocates for reform in the school system based on scientific research, Project Caelus has opened my eyes to a new interdisciplinary role - that of aerospace. If you are reading this, whoever you are, please feel free to reach out to us and we'd love to support each other however possible - after all, we're all on a continuous learning journey.

Ankit Khandelwal

Hi, I’m Ankit and I am the Avionics Lead for Project Caelus. I have worked with both the Propulsion and Programming teams to design the flight computer and sensor suite onboard our rocket engine. I also help out as a Propulsion engineer, developing the linear slide assembly for thrust measurements and helping assemble the ethanol tower. I love working as a member of Project Caelus because I get to be a part of this wonderful family. I have learned so much from being around such a talented group of engineers and it’s the sense of community that makes this team so awesome. Outside of Caelus, I love to fly my drone, go hiking, and play basketball.

Srikar Gouru

Hi, my name is Srikar Gouru and I'm a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. I’m currently the software lead and work on coding the flight software to read data from the various sensors and actuate the various valves. My passion for aerospace started as I was astonished by planes and rockets in the sky, and now I love to participate in clubs like Project Caelus where I can pursue that passion. In my free time, I like to mess around with robotics and play ultimate frisbee.

Ron Nachum

Hi, my name is Ron and I lead the propulsion team. I work on all engineering aspects of the project including calculations, design, building, and hardware testing. Our team’s work is important to me because of the immense challenge and opportunity for learning that comes with working towards something never done before. In my spare time, when I’m not working on Caelus or other passion projects, I enjoy playing soccer and acoustic guitar.

Jessica Chen

Hi, my name is Jessica! I'm a freshman at TJHSST and part of the propulsion team. This is my first year with Caelus, and I'm so excited to reach new heights with the team! In my free time, you can find me grabbing some bubble tea with friends, singing, or playing volleyball.

Jack Blair

Hi! My name is Jack, and I am a Propulsion Engineer on the team. This year, I have worked on the injector and nozzle assemblies of the engine. I love being a part of Project Caelus because of the enthusiasm and motivation everyone brings to the mission. Other than Project Caelus, I am a rower, an Eagle Scout, and have even built my own autonomous drone and ground rover.

Gabriel Witkop

Hi, I’m Gabriel, a rising junior for the 2020/21 school year at Jefferson. Lately, I’ve been spending most of my time at Caelus working on creating and testing the plumbing system, including pressurization and sealing. I’ve loved my time at Caelus because of the very important spirit of collaboration, as well as the feeling of working towards a goal! Other than Caelus, I run, do crew, and dabble in Blender and Android Studio!

Dermot Molony

My name is Dermot Molony and I’m a Propulsion Engineer for Project Caelus. Lately, I’ve been working on testing our plumbing system and helping prepare a checklist for the running of the cold flow test. I enjoy the hands-on experience provided through Project Caelus, along with the fantastic people on it. Outside of Caelus, I enjoy running, biking and rowing.

Anika Thatavarthy

Hello, I'm Anika, a senior at TJHSST, and a member of the Outreach team here at Project Caelus. Usually, I can be found coordinating with our incredible board members, or helping organize outreach events such as Caelus Computing. I love being part of Caelus because of the dedicated people that make up the community, and the ambitious goals they pursue. Outside of Caelus, I love learning about AI and biology, biking on scenic trails, and binge watching TV shows!

Michael Fatemi

Hi, I'm Michael, and I'm a junior at TJHSST. I'm a member of the programming team, and I'm excited to be a part of this project! Outside of Project Caelus, I run for TJ track and make websites.

Tanmay Neema

Hi, I'm Tanmay Neema. I am a freshman on the propulsion team. I am so excited to learn about the design process and how to use different tools such as ANSYS. I enjoy studying Physics, and my goal is to participate in the IPHO. Outside of school, I enjoy cooking and photography.

Ethan Ai

Hey, I'm Ethan and I work as the CAD/Testing lead and as a propulsion engineer for Caelus. I'm currently involved in building a lot of the hardware that goes into our various upcoming tests. I love working on Caelus because of the pure ambitiousness of this project as well as the people involved that are willing to bring it to life. Outside of Caelus, I also compete in model rocketry and research drone vision algorithms at GWU. When I'm not working on rockets, I enjoy winning games of CS:GO, looking at sneakers that are way out of my budget, and breaking ankles on basketball courts and soccer fields.

Niko Economos

Hey, I'm Niko. I'm a first-year senior on the propulsion team and I'm super stoked to learn about and design rockets! I hope to pursue aerospace engineering after college, and love building and flying model planes. In my free time, I play football,love baking, and enjoy fishing at the river with my friends.

Jacob Consalvi

Hi, I'm Jacob and I'm a senior now - finally. Its been a privilege to start this ambitious organization with such a talented group of people and watch it grow and progress for the last two years. As the systems lead, I've worked with all the subsystems to help with their design and integration. I'm a 3D printing enthusiast who loves to CAD, so I've designed, simulated, and printed various parts for the team. In my free time, I'm into robotics, 3D printing, flying drones, and road cycling.

Sophia Troshynski

My name is Sophia and I’m a propulsion engineer on the team. In addition to typical engineering building work, I am a primary designer of our Aphlex 1B injector and run our Instagram. I love being part of this team because there’s something new to learn every day! In my free time, I enjoy studying astronomy and doing yoga.

Alvan Arulandu

Hi! My name is Alvan and I am a sophomore at TJHSST. I'm currently a Propulsion Engineer at Project Caelus. Outside of the team, I pursue game development, machine learning, mathematics, and running.

Mitali Gandhe

I’m Mitali, a senior at TJHSST and a member of Caelus’ programming team, I help code the hardware on the rocket, the control processes, and the software to display data on the ground. In my free time, I can be found reading or biking around my neighborhood.

Aditya Vasantharao

Hi! My name is Aditya, I am a rising sophomore at TJHSST, and I am on the programming team. I work on the flight software and launch box, writing Python and C++ code for the high-level flight logic and control system that goes on the Raspberry Pi as well as the low-level hardware code that actuates valves and reads from sensors via Arduinos. Outside of Caelus, I like robotics, tennis, and soccer.

Aarya Patel

Hi, I'm Aarya, a rising senior at TJHSST, and on the programming team for project caelus. Recently, I've worked on the website, ground software, and building the launch box. Outside of Caelus, I love to play soccer and basketball and pursue projects/challenges in other CS topics like machine learning.

Aryan Chinnala

Hi, my name is Aryan Chinnala and I'm a rising senior at TJHSST as well as a member of the programming team. I work on the flight software, which involves reading and filtering data from sensors as well as the logic for actuating valves based on this data. In my free time, I enjoy tinkering with electronics and watching movies.

Liam West

Hi! I'm a junior, and a new member of propulsion team. I'm excited to learn how the system functions and hope to start contributing soon. I joined Caelus because I want to be an aerospace engineer, and working with liquid rockets is a huge opportunity. Outside of Caelus, I'm a part of TJ's UAV and Cubesat clubs, and I enjoy playing music and hanging out with friends around a campfire.

Rishi Lahoti

My name is Rishi Lahoti and I'm part of Project Caelus' Outreach and Finance team. I'm usually helping out the team by applying for grants, keeping track of our budget, and reaching out to potential donors. I've met some of the most passionate and committed people here which is what initially drew me to Caelus. In my free time, I'm usually on Reddit or playing CS:GO with my friends.

Dabini Muldoon

I’m Dabini and I’m the Structures and Ground Operations Lead on the propulsion team. Recently, I have been working on the construction of the test stand as well as the components that are going on it such as the control panels, which are going to be used in the upcoming cold flow (which you should go check out). Thanks to Cealus, I have gained both a passion for aerospace and a great team that has learned so much together since we started. I love getting my hands dirty with the physical components of any system, and as such, outside of Caelus I’m a part of Auto Eng. club, as well as the football, soccer, and winter track teams at TJ.

Anna Catalano

Hi, my name is Anna Catalano, and I am on the programming team. I work on coding sensors as well as the website and ground software. In my free time, I like to play the guitar and spend time with my friends. I have met some of the most hardworking and fun people on this team and I love working with these people every week.

Anya Mischel

Hi! My name’s Anya and I’m on the propulsion team, where I get to CAD, do calculations, and research parts. I like learning physics and math, drawing, painting, and playing extremely competitive games of risk with my friends (not taken lightly). I like caelus because I can explore what it’s like to be a real rocket scientist and get a true appreciation for all the hard work it takes to build a rocket and explore space. Being surrounded by like-minded, passionate people is extremely inspiring to me and I’m really grateful for the opportunities this club and the people have provided for me.

Anya Raval

Hey! My name is Anya Raval and I'm a freshman as part of the outreach team! This is my first year as part of Project Caelus and I'm excited to be a part of all the exciting and fun experiences. In my free time, I like to bake, play the piano and cello, and binge watch netflix with my family. I can't wait to see what we accomplish!

Daniel DeConti

Hello, my name is Daniel, and I work on a variety of propulsion tasks including component research, plumbing, and system design work. I have also helped assess mathematical aerospace models to design critical components that we make from scratch. I absolutely love working in Project Caelus since I have expanded my understanding of aerospace engineering and my skills with design programs and component assembly. Building a real rocket has made me appreciate the thousands of individual parts and processes that go into making a launch vehicle, and working with the other members of Caelus is an incredibly rewarding and amazing experience. My other pursuits include artificial intelligence, physics, rowing, and astronomy.

Siddhant Sood

Hey! My name is Siddhant Sood, a Freshmen at TJHSST, and I am part of the Outreach Team for Project Caelus. I am working on raising money for Caelus as well as working on the Website. My other pursuits include Lacrosse, Basketball, Cloud Computing, biking, travelling, and watching movies.

Richa Misra

Hi! My name is Richa Misra, and I am currently a rising sophomore! As part of Project Caelus, I am so happy to be working on the Outreach Team, where we are able to coordinate events and get in contact with amazing aerospace teams and companies. Starting high school, I wanted to be a part of a team where I could apply both my love for Astronomy but also business and outreach, and Project Caelus was a perfect fit for me. While not serving my duties on our Outreach team, I enjoy playing tennis and painting when I can!

Board of Directors

Drew Bewick

My name is Drew Bewick and I oversee outreach for Project Caelus – a team who enjoys rolling-up their sleeves to get things done. I bring decades of experience working with innovators to launch successful ventures by discovering opportunities and using entrepreneurial principles to develop solutions to big challenges. I like working with people who are creative, capable, and who aren’t afraid to question conventional thinking.  Project Caelus has all that plus team members passionate about realizing the full potential of their ideas.


Jan Berger

Mr. Jan P. Berger is a senior executive with a 30+ year record of achievement in international finance and strategic operations. Jan has served as an award-winning Treasurer/Officer for four public companies (NYSE and NASDAQ), including two in the Fortune 500. In addition to serving on the Board of Project Caelus, Jan is a Board Advisor at Revieve, an AI/AR beauty application based in Helsinki

Mr. Berger is currently the Director, Global Risk Management for Jacuzzi Brands LLC. Previously, he was a corporate finance consultant, ran a boutique entertainment -focused insurance brokerage, was Vice President, Risk Management for Live Nation Entertainment, Vice President & Treasurer for Smart & Final Inc. (a $3 billion dollar retail grocer), Treasurer at Autodesk, Inc, Manager of Financial Strategies at Bechtel Inc. and Treasurer at Homestake Mining Company. Prior to his finance career, Jan worked in technical and project management roles in the engineering consulting and petroleum industries.

Jan has a B.A. from Hamilton College, a M.S. in Civil & Environmental Engineering from Cornell University with a concentration in Remote Sensing and a M.B.A from The Wharton School in Finance and Strategic Planning. While at Hamilton, he completed a 4-week remote sensing research project at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, and following his senior year was selected as a Viking/Mars Mission Intern at NASA’s Center for Astrogeology in Flagstaff, AZ. Jan was a Teaching Assistant at Cornell for Aerial Photointerpretation courses and a Research Assistant that included NASA-funded projects. Going back to his high school days, Jan was President of his high school’s Science/Rocketry Club.
Jan resides with his wife and two golden doodles in southern California.

Shrikant Ghatpande

Shrikant brings his passion for space and aviation with over three decades of leadership experience in products innovation strategy in business, technology, engineering, research, manufacturing, aerospace, finance, hospitality and retail industries.  He led digital transformation at Fortune 500 organizations, generating revenue, saving costs, improving quality and optimizing customer experience.  In addition to the programming director role focused on flight software and avionics, Shrikant also serves on a board for a technology start up.   He is honored and excited to be a student of space rocketry with the great Caelus project team!


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