With the contribution from the principal’s Go Abroad fund, I went to Hawthorne California to represent the University at SpaceX’s Hyperloop pod competition. Leading up to the trip, myself and the rest of HYPED spent the year we designed and built the pod that we brought to the competition. When we arrived in California, we spent a week, working day and night to reassemble and testing it followed by a week of testing and competing as SpaceX headquarters with engineers from Tesla, SpaceX and the Boring Company. It was a very stressful two weeks as there were a lot of things that needed to be done and a lot of tests to pass but it was a very inspiring experice.
Following the competition, we visited NASA’s JPL where we were shown around the facilities. We visited the clean rooms where they built the mars rovers and toured the mission control that was in contact with all their deep space probes and that they themselves had dubbed the “center of the universe”.
I also got to visit DevLoop, a technology demonstrator that Virgin Hyperloop One has been working on. They built this facility in the middle of the Nevada desert to test the technology that they are developing. I have been interested in Hyperloop One for a long time and it was really interesting to get to speak with the people who built it about their perspective on Hyperloop and the challenges from moving from making a prototype to scaling into consumer ready tech. Overall, the trip consisted mostly of working, but it was always very interesting work and getting to discuss our designs with some of the engineers that revolutionised the rocket industry was extremely inspiring which peaked with a conversation with Elon Musk about our pod and our thoughts on the competition.