A team of students from Stony Brook University designed a model for a revolutionary new mode of transportation to compete against 120 teams from 20 countries in the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition Design Weekend at Texas A&M University.
The Hyperloop is an idea proposed in 2013 by entrepreneur Elon Musk for a high-speed pressurized capsule that could transport people between major cities through a reduced-pressure tube. Musk is CEO of SpaceX, the company that hosted the competition, where the Stony Brook team presented its design to judges from SpaceX, Tesla Motors and engineering faculty from across the country.
The competition was open to any university team interested in designing a conceptualized model of the Hyperloop capsule. During the fall semester, a small group of engineering students met in the Melville Library to discuss entering the competition. Within two months, the Hyperloop team expanded to include undergraduate and graduate students across multiple departments. Alumni Relations Executive Director Matthew Colson connected team leaders with alumni working at Boeing and SpaceX. These alumni became industry advisors for the team and assisted in the design process. The Hyperloop team also established a partnership with aerospace and mechanical engineering students from the University of Virginia, and the project became a cross-institutional collaboration.
Throughout fall and winter, the team worked tirelessly using various remote online communication platforms. To maximize efficiency, team members were divided into subsystem groups: capsule geometry, suspension/stabilization, propulsion, braking, materials, telemetry and passenger safety. After numerous iterations, the final design included a “teardrop” aerodynamic exterior with high-performance magnetic systems for suspension, stabilization and braking. Propulsion was achieved with a compressor system that expelled pressurized air from the capsule thruster. Passenger safety incorporated multiple innovations adapted from the aerospace industry. By the end of the semester, the team submitted a thorough design report and was invited to present at the SpaceX Hyperloop Design Weekend.
On January 30, the team traveled to Texas A&M University to compete. The competition incorporated a booth display and design pitch to engineers from SpaceX and Tesla, as well as distinguished faculty members from various institutions.
“U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx compared the implications of the Hyperloop to the historic Apollo moon landing,” said Hyperloop Team Captain Lukas Vasadi, a biomedical engineering student. “At the closing ceremony, Elon Musk commended each team for their hard work and opened the floor to a Q&A. The members of the Hyperloop team are proud to have represented Stony Brook University on an international stage among some of the greatest innovators of the modern time.”
For information about joining the team for next year’s competition, please contact Lukas by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stony Brook Hyperloop Team
Jay Hyeon An, Sophomore, Mechanical Engineering
Shipra Arjun, Senior, Biomedical Engineering/Applied Mathematics & Statistics
Christopher Balzano, Junior, Biomedical Engineering
Andy Chu, Senior, Mechanical Engineering
Amna Haider, Junior, Biomedical Engineering
Tao He, PhD candidate, Mechanical Engineering
Matthew Lee, Junior, Mechanical Engineering
Eashan Saikia, Graduate student, Mechanical Engineering
Gazi Sakib, Sophomore, Mechanical Engineering
Han John Tse, Graduate student, Mechanical Engineering
Lukas Vasadi, Senior, Biomedical Engineering
Minqi Wang, Senior, Biomedical Engineering
Abdullah Yar, Senior, Engineering Sciences
Carlos Colosqui, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
David Westerfield, Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering
Madeline Augustin ’05, Stress Analyst Engineer, Boeing
Rita Kalra ’05, Radiation Effects Engineer, SpaceX