SpaceX launches Hyperloop pod design competition geared for students and indie engineering teams

An initial diagram for the Hyperloop. [SpaceX]


An initial diagram for the Hyperloop. [SpaceX]

SpaceX is launching open competition “geared toward university students and independent engineering teams” to design and build pods for Hyperloop. And this should be fun: some of the Hyperloop prototype pods will race next year, on a subscale test track near the firm's Hawthorne, CA headquarters.


A cutaway shows passengers inside a Hyperloop passenger capsule. Image: Elon Musk / Tesla Motors / SpaceX


A cutaway shows passengers inside a Hyperloop passenger capsule. Image: Elon Musk / Tesla Motors / SpaceX

The high-speed ground transport system was first described by Elon Musk in a 2013 white paper, and its first route would connect Los Angeles and San Francisco with an expected journey time of 35 minutes, meaning that passengers would traverse the 354-mile (570 km) route at an average speed of around 598 mph (962 km/h), with a top speed of 760 mph (1,220 km/h).

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From documents obtained by Boing Boing:

The competition to design and build a half-scale Hyperloop pod. In parallel with the competition, SpaceX will be constructing a sub-scale test track (inner diameter between 4 and 5 feet; length approximately 1 mile) adjacent to its Hawthorne, California headquarters. On competition weekend, entrants will operate their pods within this test track.

“Full details will be available in August 2015,” reads the competition papers. “All submissions must be received no later than 5pm PDT on Sept. 15, 2015.”

“The SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition is the only official Hyperloop activity affiliated with SpaceX and Elon Musk,” the announcement adds, referencing unofficial announcements about Hyperloop not from SpaceX.

More at the just-updated official SpaceX Hyperloop website, and on Twitter: @hyperloop.

Official SpaceX Competition Guidelines [PDF].

And veteran space reporter Alan Boyle has a great writeup over at NBC News.