SpaceX’s Hyperloop Pod Competition: The Pod Flight Heard Around the World

Judy Warner
|  Created: August 28, 2017  |  Updated: March 16, 2020

Judy Warner at Hyperloop Competition
Judy Warner and Benjamin Kitzinger of Altium

If I had any question I am a total geek, all doubt was dispelled yesterday when I entered the gates to the Hyperloop Pod Competition II held at SpaceX headquarters in Torrance, California. I felt exactly like a giddy 8-year-old clearing the turnstile at Disneyland for the first time. Then, when the WARR Hyperloop team set the new pod world speed record, at 324 km/h (just over 200 mph), I nearly exploded--whooping and hollering LOUDLY--forgetting that this was behavior unfitting for the media bullpen in which I was cramped with cameras and microphones blazing on every side (sorry Reuters, Discovery Channel, and ABC!).

So, yeah it’s official, I’m a geek.

Behind the scenes at the Hyperloop Competition

Three teams won coveted spots to run their pods inside the near mile long depressurized tube that runs along Jack Northrop Avenue on the south side of the SpaceX facility. Team Paradigm and Swiss Loop both had successful runs before WARR Loop took the final run of the day. Elon Musk came to count down the pod launches of Swiss Loop and WARR Loop--hanging comfortably in both teams midst appearing more like a team member than billionaire tech icon.

Musk made a few brief comments after the record-breaking run, noting that we all need inspiring endeavors and moments like this to get us “out of bed” in the morning, and to make life “worth living.”

Having tracked the progress of Hyperloop technology, and knowing that a commercial company, Hyperloop One, had just broken the speed record last month, it was surreal to watch another record broken before my eyes. All the while Musk presided over it all, standing about 30 feet away, it was a moment I won’t soon forget.

The Tent of the Winning Team

Record-breaking aside, my favorite team hails from the University of Wisconsin-Madison: Team Badgerloop. Although they did not win an opportunity to do a tube run, they did win an innovation award for their incredible cold-gas propulsion system (basically a small rocket). In their short history, they've placed in Hyperloop Design Week for overall design, and they have won two innovation awards. Very impressive considering this is team consists largely of undergrads. Plus, Elon climbed into their pod in January--so they’ve got memories and pics to die for! Altium is honored to sponsor Badgerloop and several other Hyperloop teams around the world equipping electrical engineering teams with professional software to design the boards that allow these amazing Pods to function.

Judy Warner in the Badgerloop pod at Hyperloop competition
Sitting in the Badgerloop Pod

Thank you to Team Badgerloop and electrical lead Ryan Castle, (and Vaughn, Tristan, Johnny and Kali) for inviting us to be their guests and showing us around their pod at this exciting Hyperloop Pod Competition II. This geek is very grateful for an amazing day in Hyperloop history afforded by the partnership with Badgerloop, and we look forward to the next inspiring chapter in Hyperloop history!


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About Author

About Author

Judy Warner has held a unique variety of roles in the electronics industry for over 25 years. She has a background in PCB Manufacturing, RF and Microwave PCBs and Contract Manufacturing, focusing on Mil/Aero applications. 

She has also been a writer, blogger, and journalist for several industry publications such as Microwave Journal, PCB007 Magazine, PCB Design007, PCD&F, and IEEE Microwave Magazine, and an active board member for PCEA (Printed Circuit Engineering Association). In 2017, Warner joined Altium as the Director of Community Engagement. In addition to hosting the OnTrack Podcast and creating the OnTrack Newsletter, she launched Altium's annual user conference, AltiumLive. Warner's passion is to provide resources, support, and advocate for PCB Design Engineers worldwide.

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