The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the principle society and voice of the aerospace profession. AIAA was started in the United States, and now has spread worldwide with corporate, professional, and student memberships. The University of Kentucky Mechanical Engineering Department received a charter for a student branch of the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences (IAS) in 1955. IAS was formed in 1932 "for the purposes of the advancement of the aerospace arts and sciences, the encouraging of professional consciousness and fellowship and the broadening of professional relationships among members." In 1963, the American Rocket Society (formed in 1930) merged with IAS to create AIAA. AIAA granted a charter for the UK student branch in February of that same year.
AIAA has been a club at UK since 1963, but for most of the 1980s and part of the '90s, AIAA was not active, existing in name only. But in 1996, Kathy Sienko led an effort to restart the organization at UK. Since blasting back to campus, AIAA has been very active. In past years, we have been skydiving and have designed a Europa space probe. This year, we're sending AIAA members' resume to aerospace companies, working on a micro-aerial vehicle for compeition in the spring, taking a trip to Dayton to the Air Force Museum and may just organize another skydiving trip! So, this year should be just as interesting. Keep looking up!