This past week, the Yale Payload Rocket Team traveled to Green River, Utah to compete in the annual Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition. For the competition, the team built a rocket called Ziggy Stardust, which was actually launched once before, successfully, at Red Glare in Maryland. Ziggy was designed to carry a special biological payload: the team designed and constructed an air-sampling system that would sample and trap any microbes in the air at 10,000ft in a robust liquid impinger.
Ziggy launched successfully and the air-sampling system activated as intended. Afterwards, the team worked hard in processing the bacteria collected using a handmade, portable laminar flow-hood, a DIY PCR set-up, and patience.
The competition ended in success, as the team placed 2nd in the payload category out of 60+ teams from around the world.
The competition ran from Wednesday, June 15 to Saturday June 18th.