Hyperloop One, just one of several startups trying to build Elon Musk's Hyperloop, has notched up an important milestone, today announcing it has successfully tested its full-scale system for the first time. While it has still got considerable work to do before it fires passenger pods through tubes at supersonic speeds, it was able to levitate the moving test vehicle over the track in what it describes as its "Kitty Hawk" moment.
Hyperloop One, along with its competitors like Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and Arrivo, aims to one day establish networks of near-vacuum tubes that shuttle passenger and cargo pods along at close to the speed of sound. This Hyperloop system would make it possible to travel between San Francisco and Los Angeles in 30 minutes.
And Hyperloop One does seem to be making some solid progress. In March it revealed its full-scale test track in the Nevada desert, and it is also conducting feasibility studies with governments in Russia, Finland and Dubai.
It describes its latest step forward as its first full systems test, and it actually took place in a private setting back on May 12. The practice sled only reached 70 mph (112 km/h), but saw the team test all of the system's components together for the first time, such as the motor, vehicle suspension, magnetic levitation technology and vacuum pumping system.
The sled levitated above the track for 5.3 seconds using magnetic levitation, reaching nearly 2Gs of acceleration en route to the target speed of 70 mph. By the time the test took place, the team had reduced the pressure inside the test tube to around five pascals, which it says made it the fourth-largest vacuum chamber in the world and the largest in private hands.
Hyperloop One has also unveiled a prototype of the passenger and cargo pod that will eventually travel inside its tubes, seen in the picture at the top of the page. Made from structural aluminum and carbon fiber, it measures 28 ft long (8.5 m) and will be demonstrated traveling along the track as the company moves into its next phase of testing, which will also include running its test vehicle at target speeds of 250 mph (400 km/h).
You can check out the test in the video below.
Source: Hyperloop One