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Arizona students looking to develop lightning-fast mass transit system

Systems engineering doctoral student Samantha Janko goes over information for the power team with grad student Prashanth Mansani. The AZLoop team is getting ready to submit its latest plans to SpaceX. (Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now)

PHOENIX — A group of Arizona State University students are working to create the most efficient and fastest form of mass transit for the SpaceX Hyperloop competition.

ASU Now reported that the students — who make up a team called AZLoop with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Northern Arizona University students — are looking to get from Phoenix to San Diego, covering more than 355 miles, in just half an hour.

Their proposed mass transit, also known as Hyperloop, can hit speeds up to 750 mph, according to AZLoop team captain and project lead Lynne Nethken.

“Picture a plane without wings, called a pod, that resides in a steel tube,” Nethken told ASU Now. “The idea is to bring down the pressure in the tube, near vacuum, significantly eliminating the atmospheric drag, allowing it to go much faster.”

The team submitted a design package for faculty review before the students will present the plan to SpaceX engineers in the spring. And if they get approval from the engineers,”we’ll have the OK to go to the build phase,” project co-lead Josh Kosar said to ASU Now.

The publication reported that if it gets to that point — which the team is confident that it will — they will construct a test track on ASU’s Polytechnic campus in Mesa.

“We’ve got the right team,” Kosar told ASU Now. “We’ve got the right backing. We’ve got the resources. The timing is right — it’s going to happen.”

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