A team of University of Maryland (UMD) students are about to compete in an opportunity of a lifetime in SpaceX's Hyperloop Competition. What started more than a year ago as ambitious engineering ideas set to paper by several UMD students, including team captain and aerospace engineering student Kyle Kaplan, has transformed into a group of more than 60 students building a streamlined pod of the future that represents the '5th Mode of Transportation.'

More than 40 UMD team members made the trek to the west coast where SpaceX has built a 1-mile test track adjacent to the company’s Hawthorn, Calif. headquarters. There, teams will pit pod against pod to see who comes out on top in the areas of: Final Design and Construction, Safety and Reliability, and Performance in Operations.

The 30 teams were selected during SpaceX’s competition Design Weekend held January 29-30, 2016, on the Texas A&M University campus. More than 115 student teams from around the world presented their pod design plans and were judged on a variety of criteria including innovation and uniqueness of design, full Hyperloop system applicability and economics, level of design detail, strength of supporting analysis and tests, feasibility, and quality of documentation and presentation. 

Mentored by UMD Department of Fire Protection Research Associate Noah Ryder, along with faculty and graduate advisors, the multidisciplinary team now includes more than 60 students from across UMD’s A. James Clark School of Engineering and College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences


For more information on the UMD-led team, visit and follow the team on Twitter and Facebook at @UMDLoop and  

For more information on the SpaceX’s Hyperloop Pod Competition visit

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January 27, 2017

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