Tuesday, August 15, 2017 - 10:00am to 12:00pm

UMD Students to Compete in SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition This Month
Media invited to see UMD’s pod and meet student team members

WHAT:  The University of Maryland invites reporters to College Park on August 15, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., to meet students who will be competing in the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition on August 25-27, 2017, in Hawthorne, California. Members of the media will have the opportunity to interview students from the “UMD Loop” team, learn about the team’s “Nemesis” pod and see the pod close up.

The SpaceX competition aims to advance the “hyperloop” concept for a long-distance, high-speed transportation system that would send pods full of cargo or people through a near-vacuum at 700 miles per hour. The August competition follows a recent announcement by Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla and the originator of Hyperloop concept. Musk’s latest startup, the Boring Company, received verbal government approval to build an underground transportation system that would enable travelers to make the trip from New York City to Washington, D.C., in 29 minutes.

To accelerate the development of functional prototypes and encourage innovation, the SpaceX competition challenges teams to design and build the best high-speed pod. The pod prototypes are scaled-down versions designed to operate on the SpaceX test track. The August contest will be the company’s second competition this year—the first took place in January 2017. In that first competition, the UMD Loop team won the Performance in Operations Award and placed in the top five for overall pod design.

The upcoming competition with 24 teams will focus on a single criterion: maximum speed. Taking what the students learned from the January competition, Nemesis’ design features include:

  • A frame that is 60 pounds lighter with integrated pneumatics and electronics, leaving a cleaner exterior
  • Brakes that allow us to vary the drag and center the forces the pod experiences when racing down the track
  • A magnetic levitation system that allows the pod to maneuver on wheels at low speeds and decreases magnetic drag so that the pod reaches levitation speeds sooner

The UMD Loop team includes more than 40 physics, engineering, computer science, graphic design, communications, business and astonomy majors.


  • Chris Moseman, Mechanical Systems Lead, UMD Loop; Aerospace Engineering Major
  • Michael Rennie, Assembly Lead, UMD Loop; Aerospace Engineering Major
  • Noah Ryder, Chief Faculty Advisor, UMD Loop; Research Associate and Lecturer, UMD Department of Fire Protection Engineering

WHEN:  Tuesday, August 15, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

WHERE:  University of Maryland, College Park; Institute for Physical Science and Technology (IPST) (Map); Room 1114 (IPST Conference Room)

To confirm attendance, please contact Abby Robinson at abbyr@umd.edu or 301-405-5845.