SpaceX is hosting a competition for students to build the best ‘pod’ for hyperloop travel
The last phase of SpaceX’s first ‘Hyperloop Pod Competition’ is happening this weekend at the company’s Hawthorne, California, headquarters. Hyperloop is SpaceX’s new proposed transport system which will move passengers along tubes at near-vacuum. “Hyperloop is a new way to move people and things at airline speeds for the price of a bus ticket. It’s on-demand, energy-efficient and safe.” says their website. The competition is mostly student run (it is open to non-students, but only one such team made it past the design phase and into the race proper), and may turn out to be the biggest demonstration of the technology since Elon Musk first proposed it in 2013.
SpaceX has built a one mile (1.6 km) long test track in Los Angeles for the competition, and while not to scale, it is still a functional hyperloop tube. It can create a near-vacuum from 0.02 psi (~99.8% vacuum) to 14.7 psi (pressure at sea level). The tube will be reused for a later competition this summer, as well. Two dozen teams of students and engineers will use the track to race their own hyperloop pods, attempting to compete for the greatest speed and control along the track.
The inside of a hyperloop tunnel
Hyperloop isn’t just a science experiment however, as construction is already underway for a full-scale version, Hyperloop-One, which will function as an actual transport system in Las Vegas. Elon Musk previously promised a livestream of the actual races, but as of yet, no information has surfaced on where one might find such a stream.