SpaceX’s Hyperloop Pod speed competition in photos

0/51 Replay Gallery More Galleries
SEE SLIDESHOW

SpaceX’s Hyperloop Pod speed competition in photos

SpaceX held its second big Hyperloop Pod design competition for student teams on Sunday, and the goal was to field the fastest pod in a race down the mile-long test track SpaceX built near its HQ in Hawthorne, CA.

Three finalist teams ran their pods on Sunday, aiming to break records. One team, WARR Hyperloop from the Technical University of Munich, emerged victorious. But the whole event was incredibly interesting, especially if you’re interested in aerospace, transportation or Hyperloop engineering in general.

Take a look at what it was like to be there — and watch Elon Musk do a little dance and eat some ice cream.

1/51

SpaceX Hyperloop Pod by Paradigm

Team Paradigm’s Hyperloop Pod. Created by a collaboration between students at Northeastern University and Memorial University. Final work being done prior to loading.

2/51

Paradigm student Hyperloop Pod

A closer look at the pod’s case, which includes the logos of the student team’s sponsors. Every team present had corporate backers.

3/51

The tube entrance

The entrance to the SpaceX Hyperloop test track, which extends to 0.77 miles. This is where student teams loaded their pods.

4/51

Last-minute preparation on Paradigm Pod

A student engineer does some last-minute hardware work on the Paradigm Pod before closing it up.

Advertisement
5/51

The full enclosed Paradigm Pod

The front faring is on and it’s ready to go into the tube. Once the track is sealed, it’ll be depressurized to functional vacuum.

6/51

Paradigm Pod and SpaceX Pusher

The vehicle behind the Paradigm Pod here is the SpaceX Pusher, which starts the pods that don’t have their own means of locomotion down the track.

7/51

Hawthorne Mayor Alex Vargas

Mayor Vargas spoke prior to the competition, praising Elon Musk and his various efforts, and talking about Hawthorne’s enthusiasm for cooperating with his various projects.

8/51

Wheels on Paradigm Pod

Paradigm’s pod uniquely employed an air bearings system for its wheel system. This was something described in Elon’s original Hyperloop white paper.

Advertisement
9/51

Paradigm Pod goes in

The Pod is being loaded into the tube by Paradigm team members in preparation for its run.

10/51

SpaceX Pusher vehicle

A close look at the SpaceX Pusher vehicle, which is used to start student pods off if they lack their own engine or motor. SpaceX will run this EV in the pod soon to test its top speed.

11/51

Paradigm loaded

The Paradigm Pod visible just inside the tunnel opening. It’s waiting to be sealed up.

12/51

Swissloop Hyperloop Pod

Team Swissloop’s Pod, on display prior to being loaded into the tube. You can see their propulsion system here.

Advertisement
13/51

Swissloop Pod

The Swissloop Pod next to its faring, awaiting its turn on the track.

14/51

Swissloop Pod faring

The faring of the Swissloop Pod, complete with a tiny window. It has a scoop-like front edge for optimizing aerodynamics.

15/51

Swissloop propulsion

The exhaust for the Swissloop Pod’s propulsion system.

16/51

Hyperloop test track

The test track closed, with the Paradigm Pod inside and ready for its run.

Advertisement
17/51

Team Paradigm

Team Paradigm watches their run on the large display.

18/51

Hyperloop test track door

The porthole is the only way to see in from the outside, but cameras mounted within provided a feed to large screens on display. Note the X logo handle.

19/51

Team Paradigm celebrates

The team got pretty emotional when their pod made it down the track. They weren’t the fastest; they encountered a technical issue that caused them to run at less than full vacuum.

20/51

Paradigm's cargo system

Advertisement
21/51

Swissloop on the track

Swissloop has its pod up on the track, and is getting ready to load for its run.

22/51

Swissloop Pod

The Swissloop Pod is inside the Hyperloop track, but it’ll be pulled out once more to install the faring before launch.

23/51

Swissloop faring

The top of the Swissloop Pod en route to the main mechanical portion for installation.

24/51

Team Paradigm returns

Returning from the end of the track, Team Paradigm pushes their pod along.

Advertisement
25/51

Finishing the Swissloop load

Swissloop finishes loading in their pod with its cover attached.

26/51

Sealing the track

A Hyperloop tech screws in bolts to close the hatch for the track, manually doing the job using two wrenches.

27/51

Details, details

The tech polishes the window, removing smudges from the glass.

28/51

Swissloop photo op

A Swissloop team member can’t help but get a picture with his smartphone through the viewing port before the launch.

Advertisement
29/51

Elon Musk arrives

Musk showed up just prior to Swissloop’s planned start, having flown in specifically for the event with his family.

30/51

Elon waits and watches

Musk waited with the Swissloop team as they prepared to count down to launch.

31/51

Something goes wrong

Swissloop lost connectivity with their pod before they were able to launch. Musk looked on, clearly not impressed.

32/51

Elon Musk bides his time

Musk spoke to the audience briefly while Swissloop pulled their pod out of the tube to fix their issues.

Advertisement
33/51

Musk counts down

Elon counts down to launch in Swiss German as the pod is back up and running and ready for launch.

34/51

Musk likes what he sees

The Swissloop Pod took off and Musk enjoyed the view.

35/51

Swissloop watches

Musk and team Swissloop watch their pod’s progress in the tunnel.

36/51

Musk high fives

Team Swissloop got high fives all around from Musk as their pod completed the track run.

Advertisement
37/51

Team WARR gets ready

Team WARR prepares their pod, carrying the faring to the track.

38/51

Team WARR Pod faring

The faring is made entirely of carbon fiber, and you can see the structure here as they flip the lid for installation.

39/51

Team WARR Pod ready

The WARR pod is being loaded into the test track, ready to start its run.

40/51

Team WARR watches

As their run beings, Team WARR members are glued to their monitoring screens in the control tent.

Advertisement
41/51

Winning run!

Team WARR celebrates their run, which easily won with a top speed of over 201 mph.

42/51

Musk thanks the crowd

Musk thanks the teams and attendees, as well as SpaceX volunteers, before leaving.

43/51

Hyperloop trophy

The trophy to be awarded to the winning team. It depicts a conceptual Hyperloop pod from Musk’s original vision.

44/51

SpaceX and Boring Co. staff

Staff from both SpaceX and The Boring Co. were on hand to award runner-up prizes in addition to the grand award.

Advertisement
45/51

Team Texas Guadaloop

Guadaloop from the University of Texas at Austin won one of the creative runner-up prizes.

46/51

Team HyperPodX

Another runner-up, from the University of Applied Sciences Emden-Leer and the University of Oldenberg.

47/51

Team Badgerloop

Third concession prize winner, the Badgerloop team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

48/51

Team WARR triumphant

The team really enjoyed receiving their award. They were confident in their victory early on, though.

Advertisement
49/51

Team WARR wins

The trophy held aloft by the victors, Team WARR from the Technical University of Munich.

50/51

Team WARR

A group shot of the entire winning team from the Technical University of Munich.

51/51

That's a wrap!

The competition was fierce but friendly, and in the end a good time was had by all. Students seemed thrilled at the opportunity just to be there.

BACK TO
TOP