Elon Musk promises new 10km vacuum tunnel for next Hyperloop competition

Image via TUM Hyperloop (Twitter)

Ever since its inception in 2017, the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition has consistently been won by the Technical University of Munich's (TUM) team. This year's competition wasn't much different in that respect, with TUM winning for the fourth time in a row. After TUM Hyperloop (previously known as WARR Hyperloop) broke its own speed record yet again, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced that next year's contest will take place in a new 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) vacuum tunnel with a curve.

In comparison, this year's installment was held in a 1.21 kilometers (0.75 miles) straight-line test tunnel located in SpaceX's Hawthorne, California headquarters. This makes the new tunnel over eight times longer than the one being used right now, and it's currently unclear where it will be situated. Before this announcement, when the competition finals were taking place yesterday, Musk did mention planned adjustments to the in-place track specifications on-stage, as per TechCrunch, noting, "I don’t think we’ll have a long enough, straight enough underground tunnel a year from now but I think three years from now we definitely will. So figure three years from now, we’ll at least have a couple miles […] now then you can really move."

Based on the aforementioned statements, one might surmise that a different tunnel was being discussed at that time, as it was noted to be a straight tunnel ready for use after approximately three more years, rather than a curved one arriving next year. It's also unlikely that the 10km curved tunnel will be subterranean, given Musk's current thoughts regarding the potential expansion for the underground tunnel.

TUM Hyperloop set a new speed record of 463kph (288mph) in this year's competition, winning it for a record fourth time in a row. However, this is interestingly only a few miles per hour quicker than the speed it set last year, and still well off Musk's initially envisaged 1,200kph (760mph) figure.

Source: Elon Musk (Twitter) via TechCrunch

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