"Spacebound ll" was the first rocket fully manufactured by the team.
For IREC 2017, The Rocket Launchers took on the challenge of making everything by themselves. The airframe, vertical landing system & payload were manufactured. The only things that weren't manufactured include the motor and some electrical components.
The Life Finder
The Rocket Launchers created "The Life Finder", payload of Spacebound II. Looking to aid in finding life outside of earth, it captures 3 distinct air samples throughout the rocket's descent stage. Captured at different altitudes, the containers contained "agar", a substance that feeds bacteria. If bacteria is present in the air sample, the bacteria feeds off of that agar and continuously grows. Post capture, the bacteria can be collected by an experimenter and identification of the gathered organisms can be carried out.
Spaceport America Cup 2017
At competition, the team went through an extensive amount of unplanned situations. The Rocket Launchers were scheduled to launch on the last day at 2:00 pm, but with 3 ejection tests and a necessary rewiring of the electronics bay, all odds were against us. With a dust storm heading our way, all launches after 1:50 pm got suspended, leaving the team no opportunity to launch Spacebound II.
Despite not being able to launch, as a team and organization we understand the importance of learning and gaining experience. IREC 2017 gave us a new perspective on teamwork and knowledge that will be applied for IREC 2018.