Queen’s Hyperloop team to compete in California

Design Team only all-Canadian university to make it to final round.

The Queen’s Hyperloop Design Team preparing for an interview with SpaceX.
Supplied by Queen's Hyperloop Design Team

The Queen’s Hyperloop Design Team is travelling to California for Elon Musk’s SpaceX competition.

The team will be going to Hawthorne, California to test their prototype on July 21 in the final stage of the competition. Musk is the CEO of SpaceX, the company that built the one-mile Hyperloop test track at its headquarters in Hawthorne.

The competition judges will be evaluating the maximum speed and successful deceleration of competing pods.

Andy Tsuno, Sci ’21, the project’s director of design, told The Journal the team has been working on the current project since last May.

The first stage of the competition requires the submission of a preliminary design report in the fall. If the submission is successful, the team must submit a final design report of approximately 90 pages a few months later.

Tsuno said around 50 teams pass the preliminary round, then 25 submit successful final reports—although official numbers aren’t released.

Following these stages, teams are put through a video-call interview with SpaceX.

This year, 21 teams from around the world have made it through the interview to the final stage of the competition.

Prior to testing their prototype on the SpaceX track, the team’s pod will undergo a rigorous safety inspection a week before the competition.

Tsuno said, in previous years, only four teams have made it through SpaceX’s safety track and been able to run their pod on the track.

“We’re preparing right now to incorporate all the safety equipment that they’ve specified,” he said.

The team is also still working on assembling their pod, having bi-weekly progress meetings with SpaceX. They’ll be moving into testing very soon. 

Last year, the team didn’t make it through the preliminary report stage. This year, they are the only all-Canadian team heading to California—there is one other Canadian university team that’s partnered with a school in the US.

“I think last year was necessary for the team to buckle down and figure out how to actually get to this stage,” Tsuno said. “It’s let us reflect on what we need to do to become a better team as well as have a better overall design.”

Tsuno added the team did a complete overhaul on their design from last year.

For the new prototype, they received around $30,000 in sponsorship funding which has gone towards purchasing components for the pod, with some money allocated for travel to California.

“We’re all very excited,” Tsuno said. “Everyone’s obviously excited to go down to California and be a part of something pretty big.”

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