Elon Musk Starts Pod-Design Build Competition, Also Plans To Make One-Mile Hyperloop Test Track
Elon Musk always said he was filled to capacity in running Tesla Motors and SpaceX to handle his other large desire, the hyperloop. Musk had uncovered his proposal for a 700-mph human transport system through steel vacuum tubes in August 2013. In theory, one could travel from the outskirts of San Francisco to the outskirts of Los Angeles in half an hour. This theory was met with a lot of mixed reactions from the people. While Musk turned to the two exceptionally large pursuits he already had going, two startups ran ahead with the thought for his quick pea shooter.
Today, SpaceX announced that it will build a one-mile test track at half-scale next to its headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif, which will be finished within a year. Simultaneously, SpaceX is starting a pod design-build competition that is open-sourced and accessible to anyone who submits a filled form on SpaceX’s new Hyperloop web site. The last day to enroll for the competition is September 15. SpaceX will send technical guidelines in details in August. Teams will have time to submit their final design package until December 15. In January, the teams will inspect their work at Texas A&M. Further, in June 2016, assuming that is completed, they will bring their hardware to the Hawthorne test track for a spin. All contenders will be unmanned capsules.
SpaceX says it is not venturing into the loop business, just that “it is interested in helping to accelerate development of a functional hyperloop prototype,” says a spokesman. There are still many mechanical and engineering issues to settle around safety mechanisms, costs, force and suspension systems and manufacturing techniques. Teams can present their complete pod designs, individual subsystems or safety features. It will also probably build its own pod, which SpaceX says will not be qualified to win the competition. In August, the conditions for winning the competition will be released.
The news does not come as a surprise to the founders at the two startups that are now to an extent in competition with Musk himself. In March, Hyperloop Technologies, which was on the cover of FORBES is going to take delivery of its own test track components at its downtown Los Angeles offices, in the hope to know more about the tolerances and requirements for preserving a near-vacuum state in a wider-diameter steel tube. Los Angeles-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, which is the other start up is in the consenting process to construct a five-mile showcase track on Interstate 5 fifty miles north of Bakersfield, Calif., in an eco-friendly real estate development. Its access, like Musk’s, has been to obtain suggestions from different teams and has been working for the last 18 months on various features of the technology.
Hyperloop Tech plans to finance a design team or two in SpaceX’s competition. Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies says, “They asked us and we will see if it’s possible as there are many issues that would need to be standardized. We will support them and the community where we can.”
Also, we are now aware that the owner of the Twitter account @hyperloop is SpaceX.