Speed Trials

Student-built Hyperloop Finds Fast Company at Global Competition

A student team from the University of Maryland finished among the top contestants at the global Space X HyperLoop Pod Competition II held Aug. 25–27 in California with its refined design of a fully functional vehicle that could transform the speed of mass transit.

Here's how the team got this far:

JULY 2012

SpaceX founder Elon Musk proposes a revolutionary mode of supersonic transport that would send passenger or freight pods rocketing through sealed tubes in a vacuum at 800 mph.

JUNE 2015

Musk announces a SpaceX-sponsored Hyperloop competition; UMD aerospace engineering major Kyle Kaplan ’18 forms a team to design and build a vehicle.


At a design competition in Texas, the UMDLoop team presents its sleek pod concept to SpaceX execs. They invite top teams, including Maryland’s, to build and test a prototype at SpaceX’s California vacuum-tube track.


Out of a field of 27 competitors from around the globe, the 50-plus-member Maryland team wins the Performance in Operations Award for its deft execution of various pod tests at the SpaceX facility. It places fifth in the pod design category.


U.S. and international pod teams reconvened in the first test of all-out speed. UMDLoop debuted its redesigned pod, Nemesis, with an improved braking system and enough room inside to carry a human-sized dummy. Although the UMD students didn't win this phase (a German team that topped 200 mph did), they placed among the top six of 24 teams, moving the Hyperloop concept closer to real-world application.


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