WARR Hyperloop Wins 2nd SpaceX Student Pod Competition

Feature Article

September 2017 

They did it again

It’s the second time this year, that a student group from Technical University of Munich joined the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod competition called out by Elon Musk.

And for the second time, the WARR Hyperloop team won. Providing a fantastic end to the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod competition, their pod accelerated to a final top speed of  324 km/h— which is the fastest speed ever reached by a Hyperloop pod. Kudos and hat taps are in order to the the team that represents the Technical University of Munich and its Scientific Workgroup for Rocketry and Space Flight (WARR).

A successful week of testing

It came as no surprise that the WARR Hyperloop team should be the frontrunner within the group of 24 competing student teams. After a week of safety and functional testing at SpaceX headquarters, WARR Hyperloop was among the three teams who received clearance to race their prototype through the tube on the day of the competition. The Munich team was keen and confident to bring home the bacon. In a nerve-racking competition they proved themselves and won the title of the fastest pod, sending the Paradigm Hyperloop from Northeastern University and Memorial University of Newfoundland with a speed of 104km/h to 2nd place and the Swissloop team from ETH Zurich with 39 km/h to 3rd place.

A change in concept

Contrary to the the first competition earlier this year, where the WARR Hyperloop won in the category for ‚fastest pod‘, this competition had only one goal set by Elon Musk. The founder of SpaceX and Tesla and initiator of the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition defined that the fastest pod would win the competition. Based on this change, the WARR Hyperloop team decided to re-design the pod. Stepping away from the previous prototype they were able to create a significantly lighter version with its own propulsion system. Using an electric motor enabled the team to go without the SpaceX accelerator vehicle which most competitors relied on. This decision provided the deciding factor for gaining the record speed and gave the team from the Technical University of Munich the advantage over the other teams.

Smooth ride and controlled braking

The pod was tested in an 1.25 kilometer long tube which was built just for the Hyperloop Pod competition and is placed right next to the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Los Angeles. For the test of the pod, the tube was depressurized in order to reduce the air resistance during the high-speed run. In these 15 minutes the team eagerly waited in the control tent before the WARR Hyperloop operators could start the launch sequence. After this initial stage, the pre-programmed control sequence within the pod kicked in and took over. The pod accelerated smoothly and reached it’s record speed of 324 km/h after a 937 meter journey through the tub. Then the brakes brought it to a halt in around 3 seconds. Everything was under control – except for the adrenaline flowing through the teams veins.

3rd Competition already called out

Student teams interested in joining the 3rd competition can register until September 29th, 2017. The competition will be held in summer 2018.

AuthorBritta Muzyk-Tikovsky