This summer, in July, I went to Los Angeles California as a part of the University of Edinburgh team, HypEd, to compete in the 2019 SpaceX Hyperloop competition. This is an annual competition hosted in LA by SpaceX, for which teams of students from all over the globe are tasked with creating a prototype hyperloop pod with the goal of racing in the test track that SpaceX have built. (For more information about HypEd and the competition see the HypEd website: https://hyp-ed.com/ )
I joined the team in California as the representative of the software team responsible for the software controlling our motors. As a first-year student and having only been a part of hyped for one year I felt intimidated by the task that faced us. We had worked on the system all year and I was sure that everything would work as intended, but none of it had been fully tested. I dreaded being responsible for a system that didn’t work because, after so much time and money had been invested in the project, I did not want to let the rest of our team down. This was strong motivation and I worked as hard as I could to be an asset to the team. As it turned out my fears proved groundless and thankfully, we were able to control our motors well.
Unfortunately, we were unable to make it into the final top 4 teams that got to race in the vacuum tunnel, despite this we are confident that with some refinements to our designs we will be able to make it into the top 3 next year.
My time in California was not all work, and we got to see and do some fantastic things. We were given a rare opportunity to go on a tour of the SpaceX facility in LA and were privileged to see their mission control room and rockets in varying stages of production. In between all the science we made several trips to Manhattan Beach where we played volleyball and swam in the Pacific Ocean. Finally, towards the end of the trip we were also able to tour NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab during which we saw the Mars 2020 rover that is currently in development, due to be sent to Mars late next year.I would like to thank the University of Edinburgh Go Abroad fund for making this trip a reality as it would not have been possible without the assistance I received. This was a fun and challenging experience as well as an immensely valuable learning experience for me and I have come away with a renewed interest and passion to be involved in the rapidly advancing world of science and technology.