While Elon Musk isn’t building a Hyperloop transportation system himself (he clearly has a lot on his plate already), SpaceX is building a test track for Hyperloop pods from others. SpaceX is hosting a Hyperloop Pod Design Competition for student and engineering teams, and 23 winners were selected earlier this year to build their pod prototypes and race them on the test track, a 1-mile tube capable of achieving 99.8 percent vacuum. Said track was photographed by reddit user 42finder this week (via Electrek).
Pod testing would be a big step for Hyperloop technology. The two main companies competing to build the first operational Hyperloop systems, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and Hyperloop One, have yet to create pod tests. HyperloopOne has beginning construction on its own test track in the Nevada desert, of course, but the SpaceX project looks considerably further along.
Back when SpaceX first announced the competition, the timing of the final round which includes the actual test of final prototype pods was set for Summer 2016, but in July SpaceX announced that would slip to January of next year. It’s unclear if the considerable setback SpaceX just experienced via the loss of a Falcon 9 rocket and Facebook’s expensive Internet.org satellite this week will impact those timelines.