Hyperloop is project launched by Elon Musk and his startup SpaceX. He envisages a system that can transport pods with a top speed of 1200 km/hour through a vacuum tube. The project is about transporting both passengers and goods. The competition for possible Hyperloop transport pods will once again be held in California this year.
A new pod from Swissloop will also be taking part in this competition. Swissloop is an association of students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) and other Swiss universities. They entered the contest in past years with their Escher and Mujinga pods.
The students’ new pod has been named Claude Nicollier, after the first and so far only Swiss astronaut. ETH reported in a press release that the new pod is 3.27m long and weighs 220kg. It consists of more than 1,400 individual components, of which around 147 are custom-made. In contrast to Escher’s cold gas propulsion and Mujinga’s electric motors, the new pod features a linear induction motor. Two batteries power the pod, generating a total of more than 800 volts and 600 amps, which corresponds to the capacity of about 555 normal car batteries.
The students presented their pod in Zurich on Wednesday and will be travelling to the USA for the competition in mid-July. They will test their pod on the SpaceX site for a week in order to qualify for the final on 21 July. The fastest pod to brake successfully without any damage will then be crowned the winner.