Florida Tech Team Travels to Texas A&M for SpaceX’s HyperLoop Competition

Florida Tech’s SpaceX Hyperloop Team to compete in SpaceX’s Design Weekend at Texas A&M

Finalists will be invited to test human-scale HyperLoop pods at SpaceX headquarters this summer

Six Florida Tech students mentored by Mechanical Aerospace Engineering professor Gerald Micklow will pitch their “Panther Pod” concept in the first phase of SpaceX’s HyperLoop Pod Competition at Texas A&M University on Jan. 29-30.

Florida Tech is among the elite universities from around the world that qualified for SpaceX’s Design Weekend competition. More than 1,000 students from 120 universities are expected to attend. Students will mingle with SpaceX and Tesla engineers, leaders of industry and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, who will deliver the event’s keynote speech.

The engineering students will present their 108-page paper outlining their pod design to judges from academia and industry. The judges will determine which pod concepts will be invited to compete on a one-mile test track outside SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California this summer.

Organizers for the SpaceX HyperLoop event expect around 30 teams to make the final cut.

And what is a HyperLoop? In 2013, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk proposed a mode of high-speed transportation that would shoot passengers between big cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.

As of now, SpaceX isn’t developing its own commercial HyperLoop, but is interested in developing a functional prototype. The competition was created to generate open-sourced ideas through university students and independent engineering teams to design and build the best HyperLoop pod.

The Florida Tech students involved in the project describe their vision for the Panther Pod like this:

“The Panther Pod utilizes a variable inlet design that allows for the optimization of the levitation system, consequently reducing drag at any speed above the levitation critical velocity. In addition, the pod has a removable section for quick payload loading and unloading for future scalability.”

Go, Florida Tech! We’ll keep you posted on how the weekend shakes out.

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