Elon Musk's Hyperloop pod contest could kick off as early as next month

The countdown to Elon Musk’s Hyperloop pod competition has officially begun.

The Hyperloop, of course, is a futuristic transport system that carries passengers in capsules at speeds reaching more than 500 miles per hour.

Musk first proposed the idea back in 2013 and made his research public so others could pursue developing the concept. While Musk is not commercially pursuing the Hyperloop, his company SpaceX is sponsoring a contest to find the perfect Hyperloop pod design.

Teams that previously qualified will have the chance to shoot their pod down a one-mile test track at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

While SpaceX has not yet publicly revealed the exact dates of the contest, the company has set dates for testing at SpaceX headquarters.

According to a source familiar with the matter, the company is planning to let participating teams begin testing their pods in vacuum chambers and a section of the tube on August 19. Participants will have until August 25, just one week, to test out the human-size pods before the actual contest.

The company is expected to share more details about the competition weekend with participating teams on or before July 18. But because testing will be going on between August 19 to August 25, it’s possible the contest could occur not long after.

The company told teams in February that the contest would likely happen in mid-August, however, it said at the time that the date could be pushed back. And a source tells us the final part of the competition will likely occur in October at the earliest.

SpaceX declined to comment on specifics.

You can check out all the pod designs that made the final round of Musk’s Hyperloop pod contest here.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that teams would be able to test their pods on the test track.

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