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SpaceX to build massive, new Hyperloop tunnel for 2020 competition, says Elon Musk



SpaceX has just completed its fourth hosted Hyperloop competition since its debut in 2017 and the Hyperloop inventor and CEO Elon Musk had tackled the successful event with a great demand: In 2020, SpaceX plans to host competition 5 on a completely new vacuum tunnel who can offer all kinds of new opportunities to next year's student team.

According to Musk, the new track – presumably being built by The Boring Company with SpaceX help – could be up to 10km (6.2m) in length, supporting a full vacuum as its 1.6km ( 1 mi) predecessor and will have a curved track. Overall, these features could support really crazy top speeds and let the teams test pods with far more realistic acceleration profiles over those tested on SpaceX's track over the last few years. Furthermore, Musk specifically describes the new track as a "1

0km vacuum tunnel", which immediately takes into account the obvious possibility of a new Boring Company collaboration.

As mentioned above, SpaceX packed up its fourth Hyperloop competition in two years. Of the 21 teams that won slots in the event, only four were convicted by SpaceX to be ready for the voyage. Of the four, the German team TUM Hyperloop (formerly WARR Hyperloop) reached a top speed of 288 mph (463 km / h, 128 m / s) before the pod showed visible damage and performed a flawless emergency stop, drew dozens of Gs and

In a nominal result, the TUM Hyperloop expected their fourth generation pod to reach a top speed of over half the sound speed (~ 380 + mph, 600 + km / h). In 2018, they achieved a spectacular top speed of 290 mph, which only expands Pod IV's pre-anomaly performance this year. Runner-up, Swissloop, reached an impressive top speed of 260 km / h, a demonstration of how far ahead of its peers TUM / WARR remains.

At the end of the day, speed records are just icing on the Hyperloop Competition cake, and follow the main motive of offering an almost unbeatable appliqué technological learning opportunity for student groups around the world.

Hyperloop Alpha?

Assuming SpaceX and / or The Boring Company are able to pull off a smaller construction miracle and successfully build a 10km vacuum tunnel in one year, the company will easily set itself up to host countless more contests over the next few years. In addition, provided that the "tunnel" refers to a full-scale tunnel that can be built by The Boring Company, SpaceX's new Hyperloop test facility will be at or near full-scale to the operational, man-made transport system that is the ultimate goal of the concept.

The test tunnel literally boring under today's overlying Hyperloop track has a final usage diameter of 3.7 meters, more than double the 6 foot (1.8m) diameter of the track today used for competitions. In addition, it would be even bigger than the Hyperloop One's 11 foot (3.3m) diameter Nevada test track. Finally, such a large tunnel will at the same time provide the Boring Company experience with building a true vacuum tunnel system and allowing for full-scale vacuum trains (i.e., hyperloop) testing over unusual distances.

Maybe, just maybe, Elon Musk is thinking about spending a little more time turning his original Hyperloop concept into a finished product.

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