The world is going to have to wait till the dog days of summer before they get to watch a bunch human-sized pods racing down a pressurized, one-mile test track at a few hundred mph. SpaceX emailed student teams on Thursday informing them the final part of the company’s Hyperloop Pod Competition would be delayed until August — and possibly later.
Since last year, SpaceX has been slowly backing away from their initial June 2016 timeline for holding the last leg of the contest. Just before the design weekend at Texas A&M last month, SpaceX changed that deadline into a more nebulous “Summer 2016”, as you can see on its website.
All things considered, the news isn’t that surprising. No one has ever built a Hyperloop track before — it’s an insanely new form of technology that very few people in the world were even thinking about before Musk published his white paper in 2013. Currently, two private companies are constructing their own commercial Hyperloop test tracks, but optimistically they won’t be finished until later this year.
“We expected [the delay] for a while,” John Mayo, the project manager for MIT’s Hyperloop team, tells Inverse. “It takes a bit of time to build the first Hyperloop test track.”
More importantly, Mayo and his team — and the other 21 teams that will be testing their pod prototypes at the final round — are probably relieved for the delay. Each team needs to pack in an intense amount of construction, testing, and troubleshooting in a relatively short amount of time. Even Mayo, whose team took home top honors at the design weekend, expressed that this would be a somewhat daunting challenge. The extra weeks could be just what the teams need to put on the finishing touches to their pods.