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June: Graduated From Stanford University

I graduated with my BS in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University! I'll be back next school year to complete my MS in Mechanical Engineering. Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout my educational journey, especially my parents, friends, and teachers over the years.

March: Successful Hotfire of Ortega Engine

After months of prep and years of remote development, the Ortega V2.0 liquid propellant rocket engine was successfully static fired. See this video for a quick summary of the hotfire. We are on track to integrate this engine into a rocket for its first launch in June!


September 20: First Day Back on Stanford's Campus!

School is back in session and back on campus! I'll be finishing up my BS in Aeronautics and Astronautics this year and hopefully making some awesome projects each quarter.

June-August: Propulsion Internship at SpaceX

I had the pleasure of being on a team at SpaceX working on the Raptor engine thrust chamber assembly. I worked with Nx and ANSYS (again) and had a variety of independent projects. They ranged from designing, analyzing, and putting in production a new component on the engine, to creating tooling for technicians, to running tests and interpreting data to inform design and assembly. I loved the pace that we worked at, the high expectations, and the accessibility of resources.

February-March: CNC Machining Rocket Components

The Stanford liquid propulsion team has been hard at work while school has been remote. We've redesigned our pressure vessel from a threaded to a welded design. I was able to take this opportunity to make these components in the makerspace (at Humanmade) instead of outsourcing them. I learned how to use Fusion 360's CAM functionality, a Tormach CNC mill, and the art of CNC.


November 16: First Face from Laser Projector

To dip my toes into working with Arduino-controlled systems and play around with other electronics (op-amps, converters, galvonomaters) I aimed to develop a system that could project the outline of a person's facial features onto a wall in real time. While a crude outline, the first test followed my face as I moved it. Future work may involve making games with the projector, changing it to a clock projector, or extending the outlines to the whole body.

September 4: Wrapped up internship at ABL Space Systems

Just like that, the summer internship is done. Very thankful to my manager, Oleg Teplyuk, for his guidance and support this summer. While I can't say any specifics, I had a great time working in the Nx CAD software and using ANSYS finite element analysis to design a flight-ready part for the company.

June 29: Started internship at ABL Space Systems

Excited to start a new job as a Hardware Development Intern on the propulsion team at ABL! Thankful to the entire team at ABL for taking me on and providing me with this opportunity to accelerate the small launch vehicle industry.

June: Finished my Junior year at Stanford University (online)

A year of dramatic change, with one quarter in-person, one in Italy, and a third over Zoom. I am steadily making progress towards my degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics, having used the online quarter to get ahead of many classes in a time with fewer on-campus distractions from coursework.

January-March: Studied abroad in Florence, Italy

I lived with a host family (hi Chiara!) in Florence for the 2020 winter quarter. It was a rewarding experience filled with espresso, art, and Renaissance history. I took classes on Da Vinci, Silicon Valley's new Resnaissance, and the politics of the European Union. The program was cancelled eight weeks in due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was definitely an interesting experience having to evacuate a country on such short notice.


August 30: Wrapped up JPL internship

I had a fantastic summer at JPL working on some exciting Mars-related projects. Huge shoutout to my mentor, Andrew Owens, for guiding my group of interns through the summer. Here is a picture of the group all together.

August 22: Attended 2019 AIAA Propulsion and Energy Conference

Traveling with the members of the Stanford Propulsion and Space Exploration lab, I had a great time learning more about the current state of propulsion research around the world. The week was full of networking, learning, and opening my eyes to the breadth of developments in the field of propulsion.

August 16: Paper Published in Proceedings of 2019 AIAA Propulsion and Energy Conference

Based on work done in the Stanford Propulsion and Space Exploration lab with Flora Mechentel, our paper titled Optically Resolved Fuel Regression of a Clear PMMA Hybrid Rocket Motor was published (Read it here). Flora, first author of the paper, will be presenting the work at the conference next week.

June 24: Started Internship at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

I just moved to Pasadena, CA for the summer to gain more experience in propulsion and mechanical design. I will be spending the summer working on sub-scale testing of some preliminary designs supporting the Mars Ascent Vehicle.

February 26: First Hotfire of Portable Demonstration Hybrid Rocket Motor

After a few more months of hard work, I finally completed the electronics, plumbing, and structural work on the demonstration motor. We loaded it up with a new tank of propane and filled up the oxygen cylinder for the first hot fire! You can watch a video of it here.


August 24: Finished Official Research Internship in SPaSE Lab

I wrapped up my research investigating the properties of a medium-scale hybrid propellant rocket motor (aided by PhD student Flora Mechentel) and presented my findings at an end-of-summer conference. I will be continuing the research into the school year to finish up the demonstration motor.

June 18: Started Work at Stanford Propulsion and Space Exploration (SPaSE) Lab

I completed my first year at Stanford University and started working in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics for Professor Brian Cantwell. I will be researching the properties of PMMA (plexiglass) fueled hybrid rocket motors and will also be building a demonstration hybrid propellant rocket motor to be used in Professor Cantwell's new undergraduate propulsion class in the spring.

February 3: Received High Powered Rocketry L1 Certification

As a part of the Stanford Student Space Initiative, I completed my onboarding with the flight of my rocket named the BFR (Blake's F*cking Rocket) and received my L1 certification from the National Association of Rocketry. The rocket was 2 inches in diameter and 1.2 meters tall with an AeroTech H242T solid motor, flying to around 800 feet and landing softly.


November 10: Paper Published in Astrophysical Journal

My paper was published after being submitted in August. You can see it here.

August 2: Submitted Paper to the Astrophysical Journal

The research that I started the summer of 2016 at Cal State Northridge finally culminated in a paper that I was first author on. Called "On Shocks Driven by High-Mass Planets in Radiatively Inefficient Disks. III. Observational Signatures in Thermal Emission and Scattered Light", and co-authored by Prof. Wladimir Lyra, Dr. Mario Flock, Dr. Neal Turner, and Dr. Mordecai Mac Low.

May 24-27: Destination Imagination Global Finals

My DI team competed in the Global Finals competition, and placed 15th out of approximately 80 teams competing

May 1: Committed to Stanford University

I was fortunately accepted to Stanford University, where I will be attending starting the fall of 2017 as part of the class of 2021. I will be studying something in the realm of computer science, physics, astronomy, or some combination of it all.

Apr 8: Destination Imagination State Tournament

My Destination Imagination (DI) team, after winning first place in our regional tournament, won first again at the state level in the improvisational challenge "3-Peat". We will be travelling to Knoxville, Tennessee from May 24-28 as part of the Global Finals competition.

Mar 14: Science Talent Search Awards Dinner

Although I did not place in the top 10, I had an incredible experience at the Science Talent Search Finalist Week in Washington DC, and walked away with $25,000!

Mar 4: Westchester Science and Engineering Fair

I was a winner of the Office of Naval Research Award for my astrophysics research. Plus, I wore a pretty snazzy space suit that I got to wear up on stage.

Feb 4: 2nd Place at Westchester-Rockland Junior Science and Humanities Symposium

I won 2nd place in my category of Physics and Astronomy at the WesRoc JSHS science fair, for my astrophysics research.

Jan 25: National Finalist of the Regeneron Science Talent Search Competition

I became a national finalist in the Science Talent Search, based on my astrophysics research project. From March 8-15, I will be competing in Washington DC in the finals.


Dec 5: National Finalist of the Siemens Competition

I competed in the national finals of the Siemens Science Competition on December 2-6 with my astrophysics research, winning a $10,000 scholarship prize. Take a look at my presentation slides (or watch it) and poster.

Sep 22: Talk and Poster at ExSoCal 2016 Conference

I presented my research titled "High Mass Planet Spiral Shocks as a Source of Infrared Emission in Protoplanetary Disks" at the 2016 ExSoCal conference. I presented a talk and a poster.