This summer, closer to the end of July I went to Los Angeles, California together with the University of Edinburgh Hyperloop Team or HYPED. We are a team of students who designed and built two hyperloop prototypes. Two years in a row we managed to get into the finals of the second and the third Hyperloop Competitions organised by SpaceX. This year (2017/2018) our extremely complicated design passed almost all tests and we managed to get the 6th place at the competition. My responsibility was the design of the emergency brakes of the pod and media, so that people would know about our story and success on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
As part of our trip we also had a tour to SpaceX, a tour to The Boring Company, JPL tour and a visit to British Consulate in LA.
I was obviously worried about finding my team members and not getting lost in Los Angeles. It is a massive city, but it was my second time there so I felt more confident. My worries were unnecessary because we always spent time together and had a lot of fun. I got to know my team mates and really enjoyed living with them for a week.
I worried a lot about the competition and because it was my last year in the society I really hoped everything goes well and we get to launch our pod in the 1-mile tube next to SpaceX. Unfortunately, there was a failure in our control system which did not let us get there, but an impressive progress was made, and we achieved the 6th place! Even Elon Musk visited our tent on the day of competition!
I learnt that if you work hard great progress can be achieved very fast. Previous academic year (2016/2017) our chassis was completely empty in the beginning of July bearing in mind that the competition took place at the end of August. This academic year we started from scratch and because our team was larger and stronger we did much better and managed to finish the entire pod by the competition time even though some of our components were extremely complicated (like Halbach wheels, levitation skis or carbon fibre chassis).
With the help of participating in such project I became more confident in proposing crazy ideas and being creative. There were so many emergency brake designs which looked completely unmanufacturable or unsafe in the beginning but ended up working perfectly well.