SpaceX wants you to build Elon Musk’s Hyperloop pod

SpaceX opens public competition to build high-speed passenger transportation prototype

SpaceX wants you to build Elon Musk’s Hyperloop pod

Looking to hasten the development of a Hyperloop pod transportation prototype, SpaceX this week said it would open a public completion to build a half-scale passenger system capable of traveling at speeds in excess of 760MPH.

SpaceX founder, entrepreneur Elon Musk in 2013, envisioned the Hyperloop concept. He proposed building a network of elevated pneumatic tubes where specially build passenger pods could zip between two points – in this case between San Francisco and Los Angeles at speeds over 760MPH.

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Elon Musk

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"Short of figuring out real teleportation, which would of course be awesome (someone please do this), the only option for super fast travel is to build a tube over or under the ground that contains a special environment," Musk wrote in 2013. "Hyperloop is a new mode of transport... both fast and inexpensive for people and goods. Hyperloop is also unique in that it is an open design concept, similar to Linux. Feedback is desired from the community that can help advance the Hyperloop design and bring it from concept to reality."

Musk continued: “Hyperloop consists of a low pressure tube with capsules that are transported at both low and high speeds throughout the length of the tube. The capsules are supported on a cushion of air, featuring pressurized air and aerodynamic lift. The capsules are accelerated via a magnetic linear accelerator affixed at various stations on the low-pressure tube with rotors contained in each capsule. Passengers may enter and exit Hyperloop at stations located either at the ends of the tube, or branches along the tube length,” Musk wrote of the Hyperloop system in 2013.

While Musk has since said SpaceX would not be part of the building of a Hyperloop system, it can help move the idea along, hence the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition which is geared towards university students and independent engineering teams, the company stated.

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To support this competition, SpaceX will build a one-mile sub-scale test track with an inner diameter between 4 and 5 feet adjacent to its Hawthorne, California headquarters. Teams will be able to test their human-scale pods during a competition weekend at the track, currently targeted for June 2016. The knowledge gained here will continue to be open-sourced, the company stated. SpaceX says it expects to finalize the rules and specifications for the completion by August and competitors need to be finalized by September 15. Then in January 2016 it will hold a design weekend where entrants to submit their pod designs which, after receiving feedback and vetting from SpaceX officials, will then be constructed for the competition weekend slate for June 2016.

At least one company has committed to developing Hyperloop technologies already, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies said it intends to build a prototype system.

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