Hyperloop Tunnels from SpaceX, Tesla, and Elon Musk

Picture this: You drop your bag on the counter of your Los Angeles apartment. It’s a regular Tuesday, but you feel like going out for dinner in New York. Sound impossible? Not in the world of Hyperloop One.
 
You leave your apartment and wander down the street. Not far away on a car-park sized platform sits an electric pod-like vehicle. This is a bus stop like no other.
 

How the Hyperloop Works

 
You enter the vehicle alongside a few neighbors. There’s no schedule. It shoots below the street to a subterranean tunnel.
 
The pod? Pressurized. The tunnel? Depressurized. It’s rush hour, so the pod speeds up to a max of approximately 600 miles per hour.
 
Your pod isn’t alone. Hundreds of others whiz by like fish swimming underwater under a moon’s pale glow.
 
You’re travelling on the Hyperloop.
 
21 minutes later you’re in New York City. Let the shopping begin!
 

What is the Hyperloop?

 
I bet you thought breezing across the USA in such short a time was science fiction. Think again.
 
It’s exactly what Elon Musk has in mind.
 

Meet The Boring Company

 
Musk’s Company originated with a drive to reduce city congestion. CEO Musk’s initial idea was to transport cars through the tunnels on electric sleds.
 
As of 2018, that focus has shifted. Elon Musk Tweeted to announce that The Boring Company’s focus would shift to mass transportation. This is a shift from its interest in individual vehicle usage.
 
Musk didn’t rule out tunnels ever supporting cars. But Musk said his
 
Musk described the system as “a 150 mph (241 km/h), underground, autonomous, electric bus that automatically switches between tunnels and lifts.”
 

The Hyperloop’s Origin

 
Making use of underutilized space underground isn’t a new idea. In 1972 physicist R.M. Salter wrote a paper describing a scarily similar concept.
 
Salter worked for the RAND Corporation, an American nonprofit created to improve policy with research.
 
He named his innovation The Very High Speed Transit System. He proposed electromagnetic levitation propelling cars travelling via vacuum tunnels.
 
The Very High Speed Transit System doesn’t conjure the same excitement as Hyperloop. Still, more than 4 decades ago Salter concluded that such a system was no far-out dream. The system would need no new scientific breakthroughs. All that needed addressing were the physical construction and political issues.
 
That’s precisely where Elon Musk and the Boring Company are at today.
 

The Boring Company’s Transportation Tunnels

 
Reportedly, work has already been completed on a 305-feet (100 meter) tunnel. The tunnel’s entrance is at Musk’s SpaceX HQ in Hawthorne, California. SpaceX has the green light to increase this tunnel by 2 miles toward LAX.
 
SpaceX plans to build a grid of low-cost, fast-to-dig tunnels. The city “Loop” will consist of pressurized tunnels with pods on electric skates traveling over 125 mph. The “Hyperloop” will be for long-distance travel in straight lines, such as NYC to DC. The Hyperloop will use pressurized pods in a depressurized tunnel to permit speeds of over 600 mph .
 
Whether the project comes to fruition comes back to cost. Radical improvements can come to tunneling technology. Still, building infrastructure size will be expensive. Really expensive. That means a successful Hyperloop will need government subsidy, and thus political will.
 

Benefits of the Hyperloop

 
Who wouldn’t want to be whisked from A to B at 600 mph in a vacuum tube? 29-minutes between the US capital of Washington, D.C. and New York City!
 
Experts from NASA, the US Department of Transport, and Hamburg University theorized the possibilities. The technology could be cheaper and greener in comparison to short-haul flights. The Hyperloop could be more environmentally friendly than long truck journeys, too.
 

Other Hyperloops

 
Musk’s company isn’t the only one thinking of Hyperloops.
 
In 2017, Richard Branson’s company partly funded Virgin Hyperloop. Virgin Hyperloop successfully tested full-scale pods with speeds reaching 190 miles per hour.
 
Hyperloops are a global phenomenon. Hyperloop lines are proposed to link Abu Dhabi and Dubai, two of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. More projects are proposed for European capitals Bratislava, Vienna, and Budapest, and several cities in Mexico.
 

The Future of Transportation

 
What made The Boring Company’s system different from a conventional subway? Some argue it was their transporting cars via electric sleds. With The Boring Company’s new concept of public transport, some envisioned a fancy subway train.
 
Unscheduled high-speed transport promises more than simply an enhanced subway. It promises with smaller entrances and exits taking up surface area.
 
The Hyperloop can reinvent transport and forever change the obstacles of time. Tunnels can provide greener travel alternatives. Soon we all might rethink our perception of distance.

Elon Musk’s Next Rocket Will Fly You to Earth

Travel Around Earth on a Rocket

“Anywhere on Earth in under an hour.”

SpaceX’s Elon Musk is never short of ideas.

Would you like travel from Hong Kong to Singapore in 22 minutes? Or London to New York in 29 minutes?

Nearing the end of a speech at the 68th International Aeronautical Congress, Musk touched on an innovative idea. Have you ever thought about using rockets for long-distance travel about Earth?

Why not? Humans have been stuck with 4 methods of travel for pretty much a century (vehicle, aircraft, boat, and rail.) Besides walking.

It’s time to think big.

But could rocket travel really work?

How Rocket Travel Would Work

Musk’s proposal goes like this:

Passengers take a ship (the water kind) from a dock in a city.

They arrive at a floating Launchpad where a rocket and ship (the space kind) awaits. This would be SpaceX’s proposed Very Big Rocket (nicknamed Big F*cking Rocket or BFR).

BFR zaps the spaceship into low-earth orbit. At its apex, the ship separates from the rocket and heads to another city at about 18,000 miles per hour. It lands on a similar ocean-based pad near the city.

SpaceX Rocket Benefits

BFR would be fast. Nowhere in the world would take much longer to reach than an hour. Contrast this with today’s commercial airline flights. A vacation from New York to Australia takes about 23 hours.

Problems with SpaceX

The immediate problem is that neither the new rocket or spaceship actually exist.

Also: price. On SpaceX’s own website, they estimate the cost for a flight by the current Falcon Heavy rocket at $90 million.

Estimates suggest the space ship’s capacity for travel to the Moon and Mars would be between 80 and 200 people per trip.

How would this ever be affordable for the average earth traveler?

Well, Musk suggests it could, and may in time cost about the same as an economy airline ticket.

Rocket Travel Risks and Safety

How would timid travelers cope with space travel? Takeoff and landing are problem areas. Airlines put great effort into reducing calming flying anxieties during takeoff and landing. Musk is proud that the last 16 Falcon 9 rockets landed successfully. SpaceX has become fairly adept at landing rockets both on both land and at sea.

To date, SpaceX has had more successes than failures. However, if we want to see this this technology work, we have to have a near perfect safety record. After all, flying on a plane is extremely safe, but not 100% safe.

Tesla and Musk are keen on safety. Tesla vehicles strive to have 5 stars in every safety category. That doesn’t mean 5 stars overall. That’s 5 stars in every category.

But the exploding rocket to successful rocket ratio is still too high for commercial passengers to jump eagerly on board.

The question also remains: How much demand is there? Supersonic passenger travel came and went in the form of Concorde. After a catastrophic accident, we no longer see commercial supersonic jets. Despite this, there has been talk of building a new Concorde. Up to 2018, the Concorde caused over 100 fatalities. One catastrophic failure and the Musk’s BFR is up in smoke.

The Concorde also failed because fuel costs were too high. Flights were uneconomical. Fuel is always a limiting factor in aviation.

Commercial Travel to Fund Space Exploration

From Space X’s point of view, it makes perfect sense. Commercial travel on a large scale could help fund missions to the moon or Mars. You would have dual uses for the hardware you build. SpaceX plans to launch two cargo ships to Mars by 2022.

Future of Air Travel

Musk plans to begin construction on Big F*cking Rocket in mid-2018. If it succeeds, BFR could make travel to the Moon and Mars possible. SpaceX could also revolutionize travel here on Earth. Just watch the skies.

Want to learn more? Watch our Mammoth Animations video on this topic.