Caelus Rocketry (formerly known as Project Caelus) is an aerospace nonprofit consisting entirely of high school students. Our goal is to design, build, test, and launch the first high schooler-built bipropellant liquid-fueled rocket to the edge of space while creating opportunities that introduce our community to the ever-growing aerospace industry and 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.



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


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


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


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.

Harika Akundi

Hi everyone, I'm Harika! I'm a rising senior at TJHSST. I've loved Aerospace since I was a little kid, and Project Caelus drew me in because of the chance to reach beyond our grasp and into the stars. The family we've built here, working together motivated by the same passion, is the best in the world, and I wouldn't have it any other way. My favorite Caelus memory is the weekend of HackTJ, when most of our members were at the event, so the remaining ones of us made grilled cheese sandwiches in my garage and took a short walk.

Kiran Donnelly

Hello! I'm Kiran, a rising senior at TJHSST. Caelus is amazing because we do things that no one else has done. My favorite memory is when we cold flowed!

Alan Zhu

Hi, I'm Alan, a rising junior at TJHSST. As Propulsion Lead, I am responsible for the engine and plumbing systems that power our rocket. Project Caelus has been a great learning experience for me throughout high school and I look forward to achieving new heights with the team!

Aarushi Bommidi

Hi everyone, I'm Aarushi and a rising junior at TJHSST! I am the Vice President of Operations for Project Caelus. I've had a strong passion for aerospace and astronomy since a young age, and being a part of Project Caelus has helped me grow on that interest. Exploring both sides of Outreach and the engineering behind the rockets has, and continues to teach me so much during my time on this team. My favorite moments at Caelus are definitely from Space Day with GMU, with late night runs to Chipotle and launching rockets with students. My other interests include dance, lacrosse, art, and taekwondo. I'm looking forward to the great heights we will achieve on this team!

Jessica Chen

I'm Jessica, a rising senior at TJHSST! I am the Vice President of Technical for Project Caelus. Every part of Caelus is exciting, but if I had to choose one interest it would be engine design, which is at the heart of what we do. My favorite Caelus memory is learning how to use a drill press for the first time while manufacturing our injector!

Santiago Criado

Hello, My name is Santiago Criado and I am the Chief Technology Officer for Project Caelus as well as a rising senior. Since joining the team in 2020, I’ve worked in several areas of the team including being a part of the propulsion subteam and later leading the Structures subteam. I’ve loved working on the design of Callisto, iterations of the engine, the development of the test stand, and the design/testing of the recovery system. Outside of Caelus, I love playing basketball, cooking, and Latin Ballroom Dance.

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!

Aditya Khandelwal

Hi everyone, I'm Aditya, a rising sophomore at TJHSST! I have always been fascinated with rockets and the way they work. This led me to be a part of the propulsion team of Caelus which has taught me lots about rockets; one of the best decisions of my life!

Jahnavi Guduru

Hi! I'm Jahnavi and I'm a rising junior at TJHSST! I joined Project Caelus at the beginning of sophomore year on the operations team. My time at Project Caelus has included me filming vlogs and planning events. My favorite memory has to be the 2023 Astronomy Fair at the National Mall; more specifically attempting to find a place to eat and landing at chickfila. I look forward to see what comes next!

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.

Jaemin Lee

I'm Jaemin, a rising sophomore at TJHSST. As of now, my interest in Caelus stems from not just because rockets are obviously really cool, but because of the environment created. Being a truly collaborative workspace makes Caelus unique, and makes attending each meeting/working on the project just super fun, as well as making Caelus be a great place to learn something new every day. My favorite Caelus Memory is probably just the first meeting I attended; I remember walking in into a wide basement room, with music playing in one corner with people sprawled all over the ground working together, and immediately feeling at home.

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.

Yusra Wahidi

I'm Yusra, a rising junior at TJHSST! I love being a part of a rocket-based organization and at the same time being a part of the operations team where I learn so much about the business side of a nonprofit. My favorite Caelus memory was during my first ever meeting at Adi’s house, where we had less than 3 hours to build a rocket and present.

Carter Ellis

Hey! I'm Carter, a rising senior at TJHSST. I am very interested in engineering and rocket propulsion, and learning about rocket engines through Caelus is awesome. My favorite Caelus memory is when all of the structures members, plus Harika, went to the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate remaking the test stand.

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!

Jenny Chen

Hi everyone! I'm Jenny, a rising senior at TJHSST. I love rocketry and I’m considering pursuing aerospace engineering in the future, so I love Caelus because I can pursue my interests while being part of a fun community. My favorite memory is our team-bonding lake walks in below freezing weather!

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.

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.

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.

Michael Fatemi

Hey, I'm Michael! I'm a junior at TJHSST, and I've been a member of the programming team for a few months now. Caelus is one of my favorite high school communities, and also one of the most exciting projects I've worked on. Recently, I've been working on the electronics for our launch box, developing the main control loop, and learning about the engineering that goes into the rocket. Outside of Project Caelus, I run and code.

Oliver Wang

Hello! I'm Oliver, a rising sophomore at TJHSST. Electronics and Engineering has always been my passion since elementary school; I take pleasure in spending hours at a time designing and building my imagination into reality, I have built a various unique designs such as a miniature Pulse Jet and a high voltage Plasma Arc capable of Audio Modulation. On the side, I am currently building a high voltage system capable of pumping out hundreds of kilovolts, I look forward to advancing the Avionics system for Caelus, one component at a time! My favorite Caelus memory is the first meeting I ever went to where I was immersed in the collaboration of ideas and was able to innovate ideas together with the Caelus family, and guide my subteam to combine our knowledge.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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 member of the propulsion team. I've worked on building the test stand, designing components in CAD, and simulation software over the past few months I've been on the team. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Daksha Rajagopal

I'm Daksha, a rising sophomore at TJHSST! I'm currently a member of the Avionics Team at Caelus. I'm interested in learning more about electronics systems and I'm very passionate about computer science.

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.

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.

Eric Feng

I'm Eric. I started off competing in TARC in middle school and after seeing SpaceX's falcon heavy launch and propulsively recover two boosters in 2018, I knew that aerospace is something that I wanted to pursue. Since then, I've been inspired by aerospace organizations big and small, from SpaceX, to RocketLab working towards the final frontier. I joined Caelus in 2020 and its been a privilege to work alongside these rocketeers as a part of not only Project Caelus, but also Team Space!

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.

Hardeep Mann

Hi! My name is Hardeep Mann and I am a freshman at TJHSST. This is my first year at Project Caelus and I am currently on the Propulsion Team. I joined Project Caelus because I think it will allow me to learn many new things about a wide variety of useful subjects, develop important problem-solving and teamwork skills, and make new friends. Other than Project Caelus, I am a member of the TJHSST football team and Environmental Impact Club. In my free time I enjoy running, biking, and enjoying nature.

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!

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.

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.

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.

Suraj Vaddi

Hi! My name is Suraj Vaddi, and I am on the programming team at Project Caelus. I work on programming our flight and ground softwares, our website, and I also work on our electronics. Project Caleus is so important to me because of the driven team members we have, the great things we are learning, and the memories we are making along the way. Outside of Caelus, I love to sing, read, and be outdoors.

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.

Board of Directors

Jan Berger

I am a senior executive with a 30+ year record of achievement in international finance and strategic operations, and serve as the finance board member for Project Caelus. I have 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 Project Caelus' Board, I am a Board Advisor at Revieve, an AI/AR beauty application based in Helsinki. Going back to my high school days, I was President of my high school’s Science/Rocketry Club!

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.

Shrikant Ghatpande

I bring my 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 into my role as the programming board member.  I have led digital transformation at Fortune 500 organizations, generating revenue, saving costs, improving quality and optimizing customer experience. In addition to my role at Project Caelus, I also serve on a board for a technology start up. I am honored and excited to be a student of space rocketry with the Project Caelus team!

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