Virgin Hyperloop has recently made history with its first-ever transport of human passengers. The test carried Josh Giegel and Sara Luchian, both staff of Virgin Hyperloop, at 48 meters per second through a long tunnel under a desert in Nevada. Virgin first revealed its full-scale passenger capsule back in 2018, but no human demos have ever been conducted until now.
Hyperloop’s test site is a 500-meter DevLoop in Las Vegas, where the company ran over 400 unoccupied trials before bringing humans into the pod. Richard Branson emphasized the significance of the milestone, noting that the “spirit of innovation” will change the way people “live, work and travel in years to come.” Josh and Sara sat in a custom two-seater XP-2 pod that, prior to its crewed-demo, went through an intensive safety check to ensure a sound system.
The vehicle was designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Kilo Design, and the same safety-critical systems found in the XP-2 will be replicated on commercial Hyperloop systems. Commercial vehicles will be able to seat up to 28 people and travel at 670 miles per hour — a speed that will be able to bring passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in less than 45 minutes. CEO of Virgin Hyperloop Jay Walder mentioned, “with today’s passenger testing, we have successfully [demonstrated] that not only can Virgin Hyperloop safely put a person in a pod in a vacuum environment, but that the company has a thoughtful approach to safety which has been validated by an independent third party.” According to a press release, the test was an important step in locking in certifications for Hyperloop systems that are essential for starting commercial projects around the world. “Today, we took one giant leap toward that ultimate dream, not only for me, but for all of us who are looking towards a moonshot right here on Earth,” said Giegel.
In case you missed it, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo will be launching for the first time from Spaceport America.
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