By Jamie Leary
GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4)– The School of Mines has a second shot at one of the toughest competitions in the world.
On July 22, the Digger Hyperloop team will head to SpaceX headquarters in California for the 2018 Hyperloop Pod Competition. It will compete among 19 other teams from across the globe.
This is the second time the school has been. The team hopes to have the top speed and along with the attention of some of the world’s best engineers. SpaceX hopes the competition will encourage innovation for the future Hyperloop.
“The goal from the very get-go, to go 300 mph within a mile, that’s no easy feat,” said Tyler Evans.
Evans just graduated from the School of Mines but you would never know it. The 21-year-old spends every waking moment on campus.
“It’s just a lot to do, a lot to think about all the time. It’s a difficult project but a good one that’s for sure,” he said. “I was here until 4 a.m. yesterday.”
Evans is the project manager, a role he took on after being a part of the 2017 DiggerLoop team which was when the Mines first landed a spot in the Space X competition. The students did well but never made it onto the Space X test track. The team never had the chance to see it in action; so this year, Evans and his team decided to start over.
“Well of course there’s definitely no guarantees. We have to go through a lot of requirements and pass a lot of tests before we can get onto any of their tracks,” said Evans.
They ditched the design the 2017 team came up with and made in favor of one that is more compact, sleeker and shorter. Evans says the new design is like an engine that can pull a passenger car. He says it is like going from an electric car, to an electric train.
“I think people were very ready to get rid of this thing.” Evans said pointing to the 2017 pod, which currently sits in a shop corner collecting dust. “We built a whole new chassis.”
Evans says he is not doing this purely for the experience. He wants the DiggerLoop ideas to play a role in the next big Hyperloop project.
“To be able to say ‘yeah, this is our design’ and have their employees, Space X and the Boring Company say, ‘Wow, yeah, okay that’s a good design…’”
The Hyperloop has been a concept made more popular by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in 2015. Since, the technology has been progressing. Plans for a Hyperloop near Denver International are entering the second phase of a feasibility study. The Rocky Mountain Hyperloop would be centered at Denver International Airport at stretch to Fort Collins, Pueblo, Vail and Cheyenne, Wyo. From DIA, it would reach Fort Collins in 20 minutes.
The Mines team is the only Colorado team in the competition. If they make it to the final test track in the competition this year, the engineers may have a shot at contributing to the Rocky Mountain Hyperloop.
Jamie Leary joined the CBS4 team in 2015 and currently works as a reporter for CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. She couldn’t imagine a better place to live and work and will stop at nothing to find the next great story. Jamie loves learning about and hearing from her fellow community members, so connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @JamieALeary.