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Hyperloop One zooms through speed test

Image: Hyperloop One sled
Hyperloop One’s propulsion test sled zooms down a Nevada desert track. (Credit: Hyperloop One)

The newly renamed Hyperloop One venture sent an electrically propelled sled down a Nevada test track at speeds that went beyond 100 mph in just two seconds, marking the public debut of its rapid-transit propulsion system.

Hundreds of journalists and VIPs watched the open-air propulsion test, which represents a milestone in the effort to commercialize a high-speed transportation system conceived three years ago by Elon Musk, the billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors.

Theoretically, such a system could transport passengers in levitating pods through elevated tubes at near-supersonic speeds, bridging the distance between, say, San Francisco and Los Angeles in a half-hour.

But turning theory into fact will probably require spending billions of dollars, pioneering scores of technologies and negotiating unprecedented regulatory hurdles. Today’s test was meant to demonstrate first-generation Hyperloop technology, and show that Hyperloop One was serious about building hardware and laying track, albeit for scaled-down testing.

Hyperloop One already has raised more than $100 million for its venture, including$80 million in investments that were announced on May 10.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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