Nearly a year to the day after hosting the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition on the Texas A&M University campus, students from the TAMU Aerospace Hyperloop team joined nearly 30 other teams in Southern California for the next phase in the ongoing quest to develop a functional hyperloop design.
Although the Aggie team was not selected to test its pod on the SpaceX test track, aerospace engineering doctoral student Dean Ellis said it was still a great opportunity to interact with their peers in the competition and showcase their work to industry representatives as well as the public.
"It was the culmination of a year and a half's work," Ellis said. "Just being in this competition was a privilege. ... With this project, we were able to apply all the theoretical knowledge toward something real. It's one thing to read about it in a book; it's another thing entirely to actually build it."
Set to graduate in May, Ellis said while he won't be able to participate in any more phases of the competition, he is grateful for the opportunities it has provided him.
"To me, this was like an engineer's dream," Ellis said. "We started from scratch brainstorming about creating something innovative and completely different, and we took it all the way to a final product. ... I'm proud of the dedication and perseverance that the team members had. We've had very committed members."
Adonios Karpetis, associate professor of aerospace engineering and one of the faculty advisers for the team, said Texas A&M plans to continue its involvement in the competition as it moves into its next phase this summer.
Karpetis said he is particularly proud of the levitation system that the team has developed during the competition, an innovation that he believes will prove crucial as students continue development on more complete designs.
Ellis said he foresees the SpaceX competition continuing in the coming years, becoming more complicated until a team is able to complete a working prototype.
Ellis said he hopes the experience and exposure Texas A&M has gotten from the competition will encourage officials to seek out more opportunities like it.
"Hopefully it encourages the university to keep taking part in projects like this," Ellis said. "I think it benefits everyone when the (Texas A&M) name gets out there and the university gets to showcase the kind of programs that it has."
Pictured aboved: The members of the TAMU Aerospace Hyperloop team are, from left: Dr. Moble Benedict, Adelin Destain, Farid Saemi, Dean Ellis, Kevin Garcia, Mauricio Coen, Sreekanth Konamaneti and Dr. Adonios Karpetis.
This story was reprinted with permission from Steve Kuhlmann and The Eagle