- Reuters/Mike Blake
SpaceX recently held a Hyperloop competition for students across the globe, but the company has since used the occasion to puts its own system to the test.
A Hyperloop is a nascent transportation system that pushes pods through a vacuum-sealed tube with the goal of one day transporting people between cities at speeds of up to 700 mph. SpaceX first challenged students in 2015 to design and build a Hyperloop pod, and we got to see the results of their efforts on Sunday at SpaceX’s competition.
SpaceX and Tesla designed a “pusher pod” to help some students get their pods going. A few days ago, SpaceX and Tesla decided to see how their pusher pod performed. It hit a top speed of 220 mph, the fastest recorded time to date.
We took the SpaceX/Tesla Hyperloop pusher pod for a spin by itself a few days ago to see what it could do when not pushing student pods (some need a push to get going, e.g. passive maglev). Got up to 355 km/h (220 mph) before things started ????. Kind of like racing with a tugboat. Maybe able get past 500 km/h (about half speed of sound) next month with a few tweaks or maybe tiny pieces …
WARR Hyperloop, the student-run team that won SpaceX’s competition, hit 201 mph on the same track. The track is only 1.25 kilometers, so both pods could feasibly reach higher speeds with a longer runway.
Hyperloop One, a startup pursuing the system for commercial use, reached a top speed of 192 mph in August on its 500-meter test track in Nevada.
Musk has said he wants to build a commercial Hyperloop between New York City and Washington, DC, through his newest venture, the Boring Company.