A New Tube Is UnderwayJanuary 29, 2020
The Hyperloop Pod Competition is always causing a lot of commotion. It is a contest organized by SpaceX and its goal is to monitor and encourage the development of hyperloop high-speed pod prototypes. It is dedicated to student teams from all around the world. An additional support for the project is provided by The Boring Company, founded by a visionary entrepreneur and a billionaire Elon Musk.
SpaceX was founded by none other than Elon Musk himself in 2002 and its main purpose is to design, manufacture and launch advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company states that its ultimate goal is to make life multiplanetary.
Apart from dealing with rockets, SpaceX announced their plans for holding an international Hyperloop Pod Competition in 2015. For the first time, the contest took place in January 2017. The next two were in August 2017 and July 2018. All of those three events were judged based on just one criterion which was the maximum speed along with successful deceleration. However, the rules were changed for the fourth Hyperloop Pod Competition that took place on July 21, 2019. Newly added rules were the following:
“1. Teams used their own communications system. SpaceX did not provide an on-pod communications system, otherwise known as the Network Access Panel (NAP).
2. Pods were designed and tested to propel themselves within 100 feet of the far end of the tube before stopping. This could take the form of a single main run to that point or a “slow crawl” after the pod’s main run was completed.”
There is a significant difference between the first competition when the top speed amounted to 58 mph (around 93 km/h) and the most recent one when the top speed reached 288 mph (roughly 463 km/h). One thing did not change though. The Technical University of Munich, whether called WARR Hyperloop or TUM Hyperloop (the team has changed its name), always wins when it comes to having the fastest pod.
Elon Musk himself promised more changes for the fifth competition that would take place in 2020. Previous events were held in near SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California, where the company had built a special 1-mile-long (1.6 km) subscale test track. Its outer diameter is roughly six-feet-long and basically a straight run.
On July 22, 2019, so one day after the latest contest, Elon Musk posted:
Next year’s @Hyperloop competition will be in a 10km vacuum tunnel with a curve
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 22, 2019
That was the last announcement posted from an official Twitter account for the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition. A while ago people started wondering whether the competition is actually happening this year since there were no updates on the topic. There were even some speculations that it might be postponed or some other company has taken over the challenge of organizing the contest. Luckily, it looks like Elon Musk is still watching over the whole project, as he recently has replied to a tweet regarding this promised 10-kilometre tube:
We’re working on it
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 26, 2020
The news does not entail many details but it has reassured people that there is something being done about this year’s competition.