MIT Students Win First Round of SpaceX Hyperloop Contest

Published in MIT News by Leda Zimmerman, School of Engineering

Editor's Note: Hat's off to the Edgerton Center, which has played a significant role in the success of the Hyperloop Team by providing advising, work and machining space, and administrative support.

Design tops more than 100 entries at an international high-speed transportation competition inspired by Elon Musk and sponsored by SpaceX.

A team from MIT took top honors Saturday at a competition at Texas A&M University to design the Hyperloop, a high-speed transportation concept dreamed up by Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

MIT Hyperloop TeamBeating out a field of more than 100 other teams from around the world, the group of MIT graduate students won the best overall design award for a vehicle, or pod, that will ride inside the Hyperloop, a system of tubes connecting major cities — or what Musk calls “a fifth mode of transportation.” They will now move on to build a small-scale prototype of their design and test it this summer on a track being built next to the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

“MIT has been involved in so many technological breakthroughs in the past century,” says team captain Philippe Kirschen, a master’s student in aeronautics and astronautics. “It just makes sense we would help advance what might be the future of transportation.”

In 2013, Musk declared war on conventional inter-city travel. Last summer, he threw down the gauntlet, announcing a year-long competition to design vehicles for his Hyperloop scheme, a transit system ideally suited for major city pairs separated by 900 miles or less (think San Francisco and Los Angeles). In Hyperloop, people and freight are propelled in pods through tubes maintained at a near-vacuum. In the absence of air or surface friction, the pods travel at close to the speed of sound (around 750 miles per hour), using low-energy propulsion systems...

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