SpaceX plans to host its fifth Hyperloop student engineering competition at a 10 kilometer (six-mile) vacuum tunnel in 2020, according to Elon Musk. The SpaceX chief executive officer made the announcement on Sunday after the company completed its fourth competition since its 2017 debut.
SpaceX and Musk launched the competition in 2015 to develop a high-speed transport means for the future. Their goal is to develop a sleek pod-like capsule levitating inside a low pressure steel tube and capable of speeds of 745 miles per hour to transport people from San Francisco to Los Angeles in less than half an hour.
Teams of engineering students from around the globe are pitted against each other to race pods through a 3/4-mile straight test tunnel at SpaceX’s Hawthorne headquarters in California. Prizes are awarded for the best-developed transport pods.
The 2019 edition saw the reigning champions from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) return to set a new speed record for the fourth year running. Their pod reached 288 miles per hour on the current test tunnel, compared to 290 miles per hour.
Safe deceleration and maximum speed remained the key measurement at this year’s edition, though teams needed to also to create and implement their own communications systems.
Next year, the challenge is likely to get a lot more tough. SpaceX will construct a full 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) vacuum tunnel with a curve, according to the multi-billionaire tech mogul.