On 8 June 2017 at the Air and Space Museum of Paris Le Bourget, the students of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering gathered in the Space Piranhas team have won the prestigious Airbus Safran Launchers Prize, awarded by the European Astronautic Club, with support from Airbus, European Space Agency, Dassault Aviation, GIFAS, Airbus Safran Launchers and Thales. The team of our faculty consists of Sebastian Milu-Vaidesegan, Mihnea Gall, Monica Manole, Sorin Păun and Adina Ungureanu. The team was coordinated by Lect. Dr. Eng. Grigore Cican, with assistance of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Eng. Mat. Alina Bogoi of the ”Elie Carafoli” Aerospace Sciences Department.

Sebastian Milu-Vaidesegan, 4th Year student of UPB-FAE, Propulsion Systems, Merit I Scholarship winner in the UY 2016/2017.

Three members of the Space Piranhas team: Monica Manole, Sebastian Milu-Vaidesegan and Adina Ungureanu at the Air and Space Museum of Paris – Le Bourget. All three are 4th Year UPB-FAE students, Propulsion Systems, winners of Merit I Scholarship in the UY 2016/2017.

Mihnea Gall is 3rd Year UPB-FAE student, winner of Performance Scholarship in the UY 2016/2017.


Sorin Păun is 4th Year UPB-FAE student, Propulsion Systems, winner of Merit I Scholarship in the UY 2016/2017.


The University Politehnica of Bucharest, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering Space Piranhas team being awarded the prestigious prize.


The group photo of the Aerospace Student Challenge 2017 competition (Photo credit: @Bernelin).

On the occasion, this is what the team leader, Sebastian Milu-Vaidesegan, had to say:

”We are honoured that a team of enthusiast and passionate students of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, University Politehnica of Bucharest (coordinated by Professors Grigore Cican and Alina Bogoi), participated on 8 June 2017 to the 11th Edition of STUDENT AEROSPACE CHALLENGE.

The international student competition was organized by ESA ACADEMY (European Space Agency), together with the European Astronautics Club, the Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace in Le Bourget, near Paris.

The Romanian students team participated for the first time in this famous international competition (involving established aerospace schools in Europe), making a strong impression on the members of the jury, and even on the other participants. We succeeded that by our commitment and by the complexity of the project, which took more than half a year, progressing through all the selection process stages, to be shortlisted and finally invited to defend our work. There was an ovation when we have been declared winners of the Great Prize.

Congratulations to our teachers, who have taught us well along the years, who were involved in the project preparation, and who encouraged us and guided us to present ourselves at the highest level, with pride, our University Politehnica of Bucharest in an international top competition.”

The Dean made the following statement:

”The University Politehnica of Bucharest, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering students, Sebastian Milu-Vaidesegan, Mihnea Gall, Monica Manole, Sorin Păun and Adina Ungureanu won the Airbus Safran Launchers Prize (for propulsion), awarded on 8 June 2017at the Museum of Air and Space of Paris, Le Bourget. In the Student Aerospace Challenge, established European university centers participated with their aerospace students, from countries like Spain, Portugal, France, United Kingdom, Italy and the Netherlands. This prize is a reward for our students’ passion and creativity, but also for the performance and the tradition of the Romanian school of aerospace engineering.

We did get similar prizes in the previous years, and we could get even more in the future, if our students would overcome their shyness to participate in such top competitions.

In the whole history of aviation and space conquest, Romanians have performed, starting with Traian Vuia at Montesson, in 1906, with Henri Coandă in Paris, in 1910, and with Aurel Vlaicu at Aspern, Austria, in 1912. Exaclty 105 years ago, in a top international competition, Aurel Vlaicu won 5 prizes for the performance of the aircraft designed and build by himself, Vlaicu II. We dedicate this award of our students to the memory of the pioneers of the Romanian aviation and astronautics.

A poster which presents the winning paper may be downloaded <here>.




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