SpaceX opens applications for its 2018 Hyperloop Pod competition

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SpaceX confirmed at its second Hyperloop Pod design competition that there would definitely be a third, and now it’s opening up registration for that test, which is set to run next year. The 2018 competition will again take place at SpaceX’s 0.77-mile long test track near its Hawthorne HQ, and will challenge student teams to design the best pod they can create.

The engineering-focused effort is again targeting one metric of performance in particular: Speed. That was the focus of the most recent Hyperloop Pod competition, too, which took place on August 27 and which Munich’s WARR Hyperloop won with a 201 mph top pod speed. Check out our recap:

At the event, Elon Musk said that he saw no reason future pods couldn’t manage 500 to 600 mph on the same length of track, so he’s clearly hoping that setting speed as the target for the next competition will produce better results than last time around. SpaceX later ran its own vehicle down the track to see how fast it could go, and beat 220 mph – so that’s really the new goal post for anyone participating in 2018.

There’s another new twist for the next competition – all participating pods must be self-propelled, meaning they can’t make use of SpaceX’s own pusher vehicle, which provided a starting boost to pods that didn’t have their own means of acceleration.

This new round is open to both existing and new pod design teams, and applications are being accepted until September 29, 2016. The competition itself is set to take place sometime during summer next year, with a final date TBD.