Vandals Voyage: UI team presents their research at the Kennedy Space Center

MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. — The Vandals Voyage team is just one day aware from seeing their hard work blast off into space.

The team of University of Idaho students was one of five groups picked to send their research to the International Space Station. Their research will test how microgravity impacts the efficacy of polymers known to resist bacteria adhesion on earth.

They passed their research over to NASA on Sunday night and will spend Monday wrapping up their work.


Dec. 20, 2021 | 10:08 a.m. 

The Vandals Voyage team presented their research at the Kennedy Space Center.

They also took a VIP tour of the site.

A special requirement of the NASA-funded research project was to incorporate citizen science before this trip to the Kennedy Space Center. The students chose to pay it forward and get kids from Russell Elementary in Moscow, Idaho involved in their project. They helped the young students understand their research, and the elementary students watched bacteria grow and reported their findings to the Vandal engineers. They did this to mold the next generation of engineers.

“It’s so exciting to see them get inspired by this project, as well,” said Matthew Bernards, a University of Idaho professor and Director of the NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium.

Bernards guided the students on this project, and he’s been nothing but impressed by their incredible work and dedication.

“We had some adversity in finalizing our payload, but our students jumped in and addressed every last challenge,” he added. “There was no panic. There was just calm and troubleshooting and immediately went to work.”

The launch happens Tuesday morning at the Kennedy Space Center. One student will be at the countdown clock, and the others plan to watch their project shoot into space from the beach.

MORE: Vandals Voyage: Countdown to launch is on!

MORE: Vandals Voyage: Engineers from the University of Idaho share project excitement

READ: Vandals Voyage: University of Idaho students send science project to the International Space Station