The plan for the Hyperloop is on paper but SpaceX took another step today toward making Elon Musk's high speed transportation system a reality.
While SpaceX isn't affiliated with any of the companies that have announced plans to bring Musk's vision for high-speed travel on the ground to life, the Hawthorne, California, based space travel company said it was launching a competition to help accelerate the process.
What SpaceX hopes to find are new ideas for human scale pods. Teams will have the opportunity to try out their pods on a one-mile test track next summer, according to a SpaceX website announcing the initiative. The knowledge gleaned from the testing will be open sourced.
"While we are not developing a commercial Hyperloop ourselves, we are interested in helping to accelerate development of a functional Hyperloop prototype," the SpaceX website said.
Musk first unveiled his futuristic idea in 2013, calling it "a cross between a Concord, a rail gun and an air hockey table."
Musk published the 57-page design plan on both Tesla Motors' and SpaceX's blogs as a PDF available for download.
The Hyperloop could carry travelers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in half an hour, easily beating out a costly high-speed rail project, according to Musk's concept.
The Hyperloop is a large pneumatic tube, similar to the system used by some hospitals to transport documents, samples and medications in a more efficient manner. New York City also relied on a network of pneumatic tubes to transport mail during the first half of the 20th century.
For human travel, Musk plans to mount a large fan to the front of a pod, which would re-direct high pressure to the rear of the capsule, facilitating even higher speeds.