Space

SpaceX to build Hyperloop test track, host pod-building competition

SpaceX to build Hyperloop test...
Hyperloop was originally released as a white paper by Elon Musk in 2013
Hyperloop was originally released as a white paper by Elon Musk in 2013
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An imagined Hyperloop line running through Las Vegas
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An imagined Hyperloop line running through Las Vegas
Hyperloop was originally released as a white paper by Elon Musk in 2013
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Hyperloop was originally released as a white paper by Elon Musk in 2013
One startup is already planning a Hyperloop for a small California community
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One startup is already planning a Hyperloop for a small California community
SpaceX is looking for young designers to come up with "human scale" Hyperloop pods
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SpaceX is looking for young designers to come up with "human scale" Hyperloop pods
The Hyperloop involves shooting pods through a pressurized tube and speeds approaching mach 2
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The Hyperloop involves shooting pods through a pressurized tube and speeds approaching mach 2
An imagined Hyperloop line running through Los Angeles
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An imagined Hyperloop line running through Los Angeles

In 2013, Elon Musk released a white paper outlining his Hyperloop concept, a new form of high speed mass transit that he apparently cooked up in his spare time away from running SpaceX and Tesla Motors. A handful of startups (including Hyperloop Technologies and the completely different Hyperloop Transportation Technologies) have sprung up to pursue building their own Hyperloop and now SpaceX says it will spur the efforts along by building a 1-mile long test track and hosting a competition for university and independent engineering teams to build their own Hyperloop transport pod prototypes.

The initial deadline for teams to declare their interest in competing is September 15, and SpaceX says the target date for the competition to be held at the Los Angeles-area company campus is June 2016. But before the final competition weekend, an earlier design weekend meetup will be held in January at Texas A&M University. This is where competitors will submit their design plans to be evaluated by SpaceX. It will also be a venue for companies to network with entrants and perhaps sponsor or otherwise contribute funds to the construction of a pod prototype for the competition weekend at SpaceX headquarters.

While the pod prototypes are to be built to "human scale," SpaceX says no people will be allowed to ride on the SpaceX test track during the competition weekend.

SpaceX is looking for young designers to come up with "human scale" Hyperloop pods
SpaceX is looking for young designers to come up with "human scale" Hyperloop pods

There's no mention in the overview document provided by SpaceX about potential prizes for competitors, but presumably the most successful designs could attract the interest of any of the companies currently working to develop their own Hyperloop designs. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, for example, already plans to build a 5-mile demonstration Hyperloop of sorts in a planned community in California's central valley.

However, SpaceX says the knowledge gained through the competitive process will continue to be open-sourced, so perhaps the true prize here will be a great job at a Hyperloop startup?

More detailed rules for the competition will be released by SpaceX in August.

Source: SpaceX

6 comments
Derek Howe
Awesome. I'm looking forward to seeing some pretty cool looking designs next year.
Jayna Sheats
It is sad that the government no longer is the main source of support for future technology as it was in the Apollo era, but it is great that Musk is able to mobilize private resources for this. It may be "futuristic" now, but if this just catches people's imagination, some version of it can actually be done. And our clogged freeways desperately need help.
Island Architect
Why on earth would you show a low efficiency fan in the background when the Betz limit has been hit and you are trying to sell the future? Bill
Cispa Thrasher
Too bad Governor Brown isn't willing to build water for drought ridden California and wait for a train until hyperloop is ready... Guess Feinstein's husband can't wait for that $70B paycheck.
Bob Flint
Have anyone of these guys actually done a ROI on this? Why are the tubes clear, when there are no windows on the vehicles?
Stephen N Russell
See ET3.com concept (http://www.gizmag.com/et3-vacuum-maglev-train/21833/) & told its cheaper than Hyperloop & HSRR.