SpaceX announces Hyperloop test track and design competition for human pods

Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) has announced that it will build a working version of the Hyperloop concept for ultra-rapid transit, which was unveiled earlier this year.

The Hyperloop is a low-pressure tube that would use an electromagnetic railgun to propel passengers between Los Angeles and San Francisco at supersonic speeds.

SpaceX also announced a competition aimed at university students and independent engineering teams to design and build a pod for the Hyperloop.

SpaceX will construct a one-mile-long track adjacent to its headquarters in Hawthorne, California, on which the competition entries can be tested.

Teams will be able to try out their human-scale pods during a competition weekend at the track, currently targeted for completion in June 2016. SpaceX is likely to build its own pod for demonstration purposes.

This is the first time that Musk, SpaceX’s chief executive, who devised the Hyperloop in 2012, has had any direct involvement in its development.

Artist’s depiction of the Hyperloop tube (Hyperloop)

Potential entrants can find out more about the competition here. More advanced technical details will be announced in August this year. The deadline for submissions is 15 September.

The designs will be judged next January at Texas A&M University, where a panel of experts will examine the entries and choose a shortlist.

Tesla Motors, Musk’s other company, recently unveiled solar-charged batteries for powering homes, as has Mercedes-Benz.

Image: Artist’s depiction of the Hyperloop tube (Hyperloop)

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