Hyperloop may have had its’ “Kitty Hawk moment” on May 12 and nobody noticed. That was the day Hyperloop One tested the first full-sized pod in a tube at its North Las Vegas, Nevada, test track.
Only a few dozen Hyperloop One employees were on hand to watch the history making event, a press release indicates. The moment consisted of a sled moving at 70 miles per hour (112.65 kilometers per hour) through a tube.
Hyperloop One kept it secret probably in case something went wrong and to make sure it could be duplicated. My guess is that the company has made hundreds of test runs since then and told nobody which is pretty smart. There’s no use having tourists and reporters gumming up the works.
The world had to wait until July 12, to get a glimpse of Hyperloop One’s pod the XP-1 and hear about the test. That way the company can make sure they repeat in case any celebrities drop by the test track. The XP-1 looks sort of like an Olympic bob sled.
Is it the Real Kitty Hawk Moment for Hyperloop?
This might not be Hyperloop’s real Kitty Hawk moment because nobody was in the XP-1 although it looks to me like it could hold people. I would describe the real Kitty Hawk Moment as the first time people ride in Hyperloop.
Something to point out is that Elon Musk’s SpaceX conducted tests of a Hyperloop at its competition in January. That was not a full-sized system and it did not go very fast.
Hyperloop One now faces two big tests having people ride in the system and having it move at a respectable speed. The 70 mile an hour speed is less than what a lot of people drive at on the freeway and slower than many passenger trains.
The press accurately notes the similarities between the Hyperloop test and the Wright Brothers’ first airplane flight at Kill Devil Hill near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903. That was largely ignored by the media for several years.
One big advantage Hyperloop One has over the Wright Brothers is that the media is paying attention to it, largely because it has a good PR department. For a good view of how the media ignored the Wright Brothers see Kill Devil Hill by Harry B. Combs and Marin Caidin.
If their account is correct the Wright brothers were actually flying around outside their hometown of Dayton, Ohio, for some time. Their flights were even seen by commuters on a local light rail line. Journalists did not notice until average people walked into the newspaper office and told the reporters that big news was going on under their noses.
Is Hyperloop Coming to South Korea
The South Korean government wants to build a Hyperloop line between the cities of Busan and Seoul within four years.
The government plans to team with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) and the Hanyang University on the project, Wired reported. The hope is to have it up and running within four years, that’s a tall order considering that nobody has actually ridden in the Hyperloop yet.
The South Korean Hyperloop is supposed to be around 200 miles long. Yet it has government support perhaps because the Republic of Korea’s leaders hope to embarrass their enemies in North Korea. A Hyperloop would certainly make Kim Jong Un’s 1950s missile technology look stone age.
Unlike Hyperloop One, HTT is yet to test its technology although it is building a test facility and a passenger pod in Toulouse, France. It looks as if the Hyperloop race is on, may the best pod win.