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His Awesomeness, Elon Musk, has unveiled conceptual work on his ultra-rapid-transit concept known as the "hyperloop."  The full 57-page work is available in PDF form on the Tesla Motors website, divided into two sections - one is a brief description for laymen and the other is a long, highly involved description with technical details for professionals.  Basically, Hyperloop is a mid-range transit solution conceived specifically for the case of transportation between Los Angeles and San Francisco, with slower options being more efficient for shorter distances and (hypothetical) supersonic air travel being ideal for longer ones.  Musk has done the preliminary conceptual work in the hopes that others will run with it and bring it to fruition, since he himself is too busy with Tesla and SpaceX.

Musk tweeted this illustration this afternoon, and the accompanying paper contained additional illustrations:

Hyperloop1

Hyperloop5

If I understand the descriptions correctly, Hyperloop is a tube-transport system with the tube maintained in near-vacuum rather than hard-vacuum because the latter is too difficult, and the transport pod (as seen in the illustration) contains a compressor in the front that deals with heterogeneous pressures by squeezing it out the back.  This would presumably come into effect at high speeds, which would initially be achieved and perhaps partly maintained electromagnetically.  Musk and his team project that the full system would cost only a small fraction of the planned "high-speed rail" project while vastly exceeding it in speed.    

Conceptual artwork of the infrastructure show something science fiction fans would instantly recognize - vacuum tubes on pylons, also with some solar panels:

Hyperloop2

Hyperloop3

The technical section goes into extreme detail in many parts, but also includes illustrations that are relatively understandable to the layman:

Hyperloop4

Hyperloop6

The route examined in the conceptual work:

Hyperloop7

I suppose a question that should be asked is whether, if someone does step up and run with this work, would Musk be willing to fund it?  The State of California is not going to abandon its rail project in favor of a purely conceptual work with no precedent, so the only way this gets built is privately.  Perhaps with some modest initial investment drummed up by Kickstarter?  We'll see how the work is received among other entrepreneurs and technologists.  

2:57 PM PT: Can't believe I forgot to mention the speeds it's designed for: Depending on the local curvature of the tube, between 300 and 760 mph.

3:31 PM PT: LtdEdishn points out in comments that Business Insider has a Q&A with Elon Musk about Hyperloop with some very hopeful statements - e.g., he might build a small prototype:

http://www.businessinsider.com/...

3:57 PM PT: Think of it this way: Hyperloop is basically an aircraft in a can.  It flies on air inside the tube without coming in contact with any part of the structure.  So it's kind of a fusion of air and high-speed rail.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The boldest aspect of it (15+ / 0-)

    is the decision (?) to run it almost right on top of the San Andreas Fault. Wouldn't it make a bit more sense running between Boston and DC, say, than along an active earthquake fault?

  •  Looks cool! (10+ / 0-)

    It may not be developed for years, but at least someone is thinking.  

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 02:49:14 PM PDT

  •  Not being well versed... (6+ / 0-)

    in these sorts of things, I read about this new proposal (and it is hot off the presses) only an hour or so ago.  

    My thought immediately went to not only cost, but what a headache it would be to gain property right access for construction of the needed infrastructure.  That being said, this does seem like an exciting idea if it can be pulled off!  

    Thanks for posting...

  •  California should merge this concept into (7+ / 0-)

    its rail project. They both have formidable right-of-way issues which are probably the biggest barriers, IMHO. The specific technology is not as costly, although untested concepts may prove hugely costly or even never work at all.

    •  I agree. If someone moves forward with this (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim, elwior, whenwego

      and proves they're willing to invest a lot of private resources to make it happen, California could probably be convinced to amend its HSR plans to some extent.  So even if there were no hyperloop, there could be better HSR.  Or if there were no HSR, there could still be hyperloop.  Synergies could be sought.  Although there is a danger of such cooperation being undermined by political forces with money on the line.

      •  Yes. I kind of hate the way Musk starts his (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        whenwego, Troubadour

        new manifesto with an expression of disappointment in California's HSR plans, thus pitting the maybe-someday-better against the good.

        It turns out that the skill set required to get elected is completely different than the skill set required to effectively govern.

        by VictorLaszlo on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 04:05:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Most of his projects are born of disappointment (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chipoliwog, nirbama

          with the way other people are doing things.  Detroit refused to pursue electric vehicles, ergo Tesla.  Congress refused to pursue human Mars missions, ergo SpaceX.  The HSR program, as much as I support it vs. the great big nothing we have now, sucks.

    •  Add an aqueduct! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour, raines

      And, you know, a Starbucks at the back of the tube.

      If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

      by Bensdad on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 09:04:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Futurama" is on its way! (5+ / 0-)

    "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

    by elwior on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 02:52:10 PM PDT

  •  It's great and all, in concept (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour, elwior

    And I guess when our old infrastructure is crumbled beyond functionality, we'll need something...else.

  •  A new q/a article... (8+ / 0-)

    from "Business Insider" on this topic:

    How likely is it this will be built?

    Musk says that while he will continue to focus on Tesla and SpaceX business in the immediate term, he is "somewhat tempted to make a demonstration prototype."

    He would build a sub-scale version, "then hand it off to somebody else," he explained. "I'll probably end up doing that."

    http://www.businessinsider.com/...
  •  If you build it...they will come (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour, ColoTim, LtdEdishn, Jorybu, elwior

    I could see something like this along all major interstates.

    maybe Branson will invest.  he likes fast stuff.

    I fall down, I get up, I keep dancing.

    by DamselleFly on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 03:24:32 PM PDT

  •  Another important advantage of HSR - schedule. (11+ / 0-)

    Instead of one very large train that leaves occasionally, Musk envisions small capsules that take off and leave continually.  So you can potentially leave whenever you want, like you would on a car trip.  Only this is incredibly fast and doesn't pollute.

    There are clearly all sorts of obstacles to building something like this, but it's an incredibly far-sighted, breakthrough concept.  

    •  Important advantage OVER HSR - sorry. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour, GAS, JesseCW
      •  Yup. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour, nirbama

        Having to schedule around limited departure times adds a lot of time to a travel schedule.

        You need to be somewhere at 6 but your choices are 5:15 or 6:15....so you lose 45 minutes.

        Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

        by JesseCW on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 04:25:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  realistically though... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Troubadour, Judge Moonbox, Bensdad

          with small 28 person capsules, you WILL have line ups at the terminals or you will have to schedule a specific departure timeframe.  if 100,000 people want to travel between LAX and SFO in a day, only so many per hour can go. In fact, at 30 second headways only about 69,000 people could go.

          --United Citizens defeated Citizens United...This time. --

          by chipoliwog on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 05:40:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Obviously, there is a capacity limit here (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Troubadour

            There just  isn't a train/plane issue of "We only depart at these times".

            Yes, you may have to book a reservation - but if you're far enough in advance, you can book it for 6:05 or 6:10 or 6:15 or ....

            as opposed to a high speed train hauling 500 people that departs hourly to every three hours depending on time of day/day of week.

            Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

            by JesseCW on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 05:48:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  They could expand to more than two tubes. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW
          •  Total annual air traffic between LA and SF: (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Troubadour, Dogs are fuzzy

            2,8 million passengers.
            Max annual capacity of hyperloop: 7,4 million.

            So the problem is?

            And if it becomes super-popular and you hit capacity?  That's not a bad thing, that's a WIN.  And you start right away on a massive statewide or even nationwide network.

            Mind you, I think they need multiple tubes in each direction anyway, the only obvious solution for if one goes down kinda sucks (making the other way alternate between directions every 1 1/2 or so, you'd get 1/3rd the net traffic and an average departure delay of 45 minutes).  Best would be if they're not the exact same route, but parallel each other, serving a broader geographic area.

            Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

            by Rei on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 08:58:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Build a hyperloop to Bainbridge Island, please! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Troubadour

          Though the 35-minute ferry ride to downtown Seattle and back to bucolic Bainbridge Island is a satisfying experience, having to schedule your life around departures that occur once every 55 minutes is a major drag.  Would love to ride in a tube under Puget Sound, even at way less than subsonic speed, if a capsule left every 5 minutes!  Also, I heard that the hyperloop concept includes a tube and capsule big enough to transport cars.  That would be SUPER COOL.  

    •  It could be almost continuous (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GAS, PJEvans

      like a subway, with new pods arriving every few minutes.  Although I suppose it depends on how expensive the tickets ultimately ended up being.

    •  to make it really work, they're going to need (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour

      some accommodations for luggage and preferably bikes.  But it doesn't look like that should be too hard.

      Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

      by JesseCW on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 04:23:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Luggage compartments are included. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, Troubadour, Jorybu

        from p. 15 of the PDF: luggage compartments will be at front or back of the capsule.  They appear to have factored in luggage weight in the plans.  Don't know about bikes, Jesse, but hey you could ask!

        I've only skimmed the beginning of the pdf but it's pretty remarkable how much Musk and team have thought through (including estimated pricing of every component).  

      •  bike share at either end (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour

        program is already launching in SF and is up and running in dozens of cities domestically and abroad.

      •  Bikes? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour

        One of the two variants discussed can take a whole car!  :)

        Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

        by Rei on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 08:58:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The one primarily being discussed certainly cannot (0+ / 0-)

          take a car.

          It's adorable when you desperately try to pretend you're here for more than one reason in an effort to build something resembling cred, but it really doesn't change anything.

          There are some people, (for instance, Troubadour) with whom I have extremely heated arguments about some issues and yet can have perfectly civil discussion with on others.

          That's because, however much I may disagree with them or even be disgusted by some of their views, they're not fakes.

          Please don't make smarmy little smiley faces at me.  It makes me want to vomit.  Just do what you're here to do.

          Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

          by JesseCW on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 01:41:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, grow up. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HudsonValleyMark

            You got me, I don't give a damn about efficient transportion, I only drive a Honda Insight and started an EV software company to get under your skin.

            If you can't handle disagreeing about one topic without dragging them into the next, you need to go back to preschool and stay there until you get a "gets along well with others" sticker.

            Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

            by Rei on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 04:25:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I just came across this myself! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour

    I need to read the whole thing - it looks very interesting.

  •  hopefully aknowledges originator of & SCI-FI use (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour, annan, GAS, whenwego, raines

    of

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    Vactrain 1st designed/ proposed by George Goddard in 1910

    and heavily used by MANY/ MULTIPLE sci-fi authors/ writers

    Vactrains have occasionally appeared in science fiction novels, including the works of Arthur C. Clarke (Rescue Party, 1946), Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451, 1950), Peter F. Hamilton (The Night's Dawn Trilogy), Joe Haldeman (in his novel Buying Time), Larry Niven (A World Out of Time), Robert A. Heinlein (Friday), Jerry Yulsman (Elleander Morning), and Jasper Fforde (the Thursday Next novels). Flash Gordon (1947) and the movie Logan's Run (1976) featured similar high-speed transport trains. The Space: 1999 TV series, featured a Lunar Vactrain. 23rd century San Francisco has one stretching across the Golden Gate Bridge in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). Earlier Gene Roddenberry television productions, Genesis II and Planet Earth, featured such transport systems.
    •  Naturally. But there were many technical hurdles (5+ / 0-)

      that the basic concept doesn't deal with, that Hyperloop appears to.  Namely, hard vacuum is extremely difficult to maintain over a large extended volume, and going with merely low pressure creates a lot of friction and a heterogeneous medium that could result in turbulence.  Hyperloop goes the latter route and deals with it with the compressor in the front.  Advances in aerodynamics and electrodynamics make this a lot more attainable than in the 20th century.

      •  And electronics. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour

        The onboard batteries would have been five times the weight just in 1990.  The motor and power electronics for the compressor, probably similarly high.  Heck, if they went with an outrunner motor they could probably cut even the current motor's weight in half.

        Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

        by Rei on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 09:01:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  not a vac train (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour, highacidity, nirbama

      The tube is not a vacuum, just lower air pressure. And the train creates cavitation field (for lack of better description) around it.

      --United Citizens defeated Citizens United...This time. --

      by chipoliwog on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 05:49:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ok, it is open source so anyone can begin the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour, nirbama

    ...building process. There are enough rich folks around to get a company up and running. There is also nothing keeping a state from building one.

    Hopefully someone will take advantage of this interesting design.

    The politicians may be bought, and the system corrupt, but it is our duty to fix these things.

    by sebastianguy99 on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 04:02:56 PM PDT

    •  The only thing in the way is conservatism. (4+ / 0-)

      In both the political and psychological senses.  Why would rich people invest in a society they no longer feel any loyalty toward?  They can just hop in their private jets and go wherever, whenever, and don't have to deal with the logistics we do.  What do they care how quickly the unwashed masses can get between cities?  Fortunately, Silicon Valley has a somewhat different outlook, so hopefully there will be enough interest there.

      •  Those folks (0+ / 0-)

        Are leeches on our society. If you had a leech on your body what would you do? We need to treat those rich folks the same way.

        "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

        by US Blues on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 05:37:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Musk's Costs are Waaay Underestimated (0+ / 0-)

        Six billion for the whole system? Hardly, considering the accuracy and smoothness necessary for a surface over which air bearings operate.  And who would fund it?

        Putting all that aside, Figures 26 is hard for me to believe.  In Figure 26, the vehicle has reached 300 mph in maybe 20 seconds (the scale is hard to work with) after departing Los Angeles.  This works out to +0.68g.  That's an 11-second quarter mile, NHRA fans. The other two accelerations are easier at about +0.57g and +0.48g. The decelerations are similar; -0.48g, -0.57g, and -0.68g. The seats will need to be semi-reclining, have four-point harnesses, and should swivel 180 degrees for deceleration. Beverage service will be discontinued during these episodes.

        This kind of concept has long appeared in speculative articles in Popular Science magazine (I'll bet this one does too), followed twenty, thirty, or forty years later by another article saying, "My, my, weren't we naive back then."

        Let's wait and see how much of his own money Musk sinks into an experimental prototype and how successful it is.

        "A famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' But as I once said, "If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like." – Max Headroom

        by midnight lurker on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 08:36:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I see nothing wrong... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Troubadour, Dogs are fuzzy

          in the proposed mechanism to get the required smoothness tolerances (a cleaning and boring machine).  It should be noted that Musk isn't exactly an outsider to automated production of high-precision parts - SpaceX is built on a common tank stack to allow a low-scale mass production of parts, which is largely automated.

          0.68g is hard to accept?  Musk has more than a little familiarity with that, as the Tesla Model S does around that.    And the actual reported figure is 0.5g.  By comparison, a commercial airplane can easily be over 1g, both on takeoff and landing.  Do you see four-point harnesses in commercial airliners?  

          This kind of concept has long appeared in speculative articles in Popular Science magazine (I'll bet this one does too), followed twenty, thirty, or forty years later by another article saying, "My, my, weren't we naive back then."
          Want to go this road?  Fine.  This kind of post has appeared over and over again, first on forums about Tesla said they'd be bankrupt in months and never produce a desireable car (reality: they've now sold more Model Ss than were produced globally of the 1st gen Insight, which I drive, during its entire production run, and have gotten incredible reviews), and about SpaceX, where they said they'd never get to orbit in the first place with the Falcon 1 (now it's to the point that its successor, the Falcon 9, has docked with the ISS and is now the official plan for NASA's transferring crew and supplies to it, having succeeded where NASA's own Ares project failed, as well as being a regular launcher of commercial contracts)

          And as for all of the "why isn't he running out and doing it", the guy is running three large companies, for crying out loud, funded with his own personal money - cut him some slack for his time and assets being more than a little tied up at the moment.

          Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

          by Rei on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 09:27:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It Would Seem ... (0+ / 0-)

            "A famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' But as I once said, "If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like." – Max Headroom

            by midnight lurker on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 02:04:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  One is never alone in being spectacularly wrong. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Rei
            •  Your article is nonsense. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              aseth, Dogs are fuzzy

              Lets just check out its claims:

              Initial schematics for Hyperloop unveiled Monday evening assume passengers and any luggage they carry will average about 220 pounds. The average American man, according to a Gallup poll conducted last year, weighs 196 pounds.
              Given that women and children exist and average far lighter, and nonetheless most people don't do frequent 30 minute commutes hauling 24 pounds of luggage and the thing has large margins of error built into every system, what's the problem?


              Since 1995, most airlines have assumed a weight of 180 pounds for each adult passenger in summer and 185 pounds in winter; checked bags are assumed to weigh 25 pounds each.
              Moving on...
              Meanwhile, passengers would have to fit on a space less than 27 inches wide, less room than currently taken up by the average economy-class airline seat.
              Oh, is that so?  They even have a link!  Except... apparently they've got a reading disorder because their link says:
              Current standard coach seat widths range from 17 to 19 inches between the armrests, says Luedeke
              Hyperloop is quite luxurious by comparison.  Gee, where'd the other figure come from?
              A typical seat pitch in coach measures from 31 to 35 inches, Luedeke says.
              Pitch is not width, it's legroom.
              “Ignoring the physics of it, to make it viable, pricing would have to be astronomical to have a reasonable payback period,” said Zafar Khan
              Great - where's your alternative calculations, Zafar Khan?  Because Musk's paper is full of them.
              Khan further noted that, while future-facing projects like Hyperloop are the stuff of science-fiction fantasies, companies have had less-than-stellar records in pursuing grand schemes of this kind.
              Um, Musk has a personal record of doing precisely that.  Wrote and sold a video game when he was 12, changed the way most people paid for goods online then made over a billion dollars doing so with PayPal.  But then he actually got ambitious, and decided to make a new company to mass produce a profitable electric car in an industry where it's almost impossible to start up any new car company, let alone an experimental one, and also decided to beat NASA at their own orders-of-magnitude-better-funded game in getting people and cargo to freaking outer space.  And he succeeded both times.  

              Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

              by Rei on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 04:45:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah, and Whose Money Is Supporting SpaceX Now? (0+ / 0-)
                NASA’s Commercial Crew integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative award winners were announced on Friday [August 2], with SpaceX, Boeing and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) all winning agency money to develop their vehicles to the next stage of providing domestic access to the International Space Station (ISS) for US astronauts.

                In the end, Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Directorate William Gerstenmaier opted to award Boeing with $460m, SpaceX with $440m and SNC with $212.5m.
                -- space.com

                "A famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' But as I once said, "If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like." – Max Headroom

                by midnight lurker on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 06:17:06 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  NASA is *paying them* (0+ / 0-)

                  buying rides from SpaceX, because their own rocket, Ares, turned out to be a disastrous failure.  

                  Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

                  by Rei on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 06:38:19 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Sorry, No (0+ / 0-)

                    NASA is not at this point "buying rides" on CCiCap. NASA is paying for the SpaceX development in parallel with efforts from Boeing and SNC.

                    "A famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' But as I once said, "If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like." – Max Headroom

                    by midnight lurker on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 07:33:32 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  SpaceX has a contract with NASA (0+ / 0-)

                      to fly 16 ISS resupply missions.  Thats known as buying rides.  The fact that Boeing and Sierra Nevada also have NASA contracts is irrelevant.  SpaceX has both government and private contracts, a successful launch history, and is by any measure a big success.

                      While NASA's own rocket program was an engineering disaster.

                      Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

                      by Rei on Wed Aug 14, 2013 at 04:03:56 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Where Did the Development Funding Come From? (0+ / 0-)
                        While SpaceX's previous launcher, the Falcon-1, was developed exclusively using private funding, the development of the Falcon-9 was significantly accelerated by the purchase of several demonstration flights by NASA. This started with seed money from the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program in 2006.
                        --Wikipedia
                        In other words,
                        SpaceX contracted with the US government for a portion of the development funding for the Falcon 9 launch vehicle ...
                        --Wikipedia
                        Time will tell how well the Falcon launch vehicle series pans out. There are quite a few "rides" scheduled, but there have been only five launches so far, two of which were demo flights funded by COTS.

                        Further downstream, man-rating a launch vehicle is a significant challenge.  Government is really the only customer, and I'm pretty sure they're not going to back down on the qualification standards. Look for more NASA development money to flow into SpaceX for that purpose.

                        This is off-topic from the hyperloop project, which I personally think is just an embellished brainstorm, getting publicity only because of Musk's aura.

                        And just to wrap things up, if an aircraft touched down at 120 kts and could apply a 1g average deceleration, it would stop in 636 feet. If it could accelerate at an average of 1g, it would take 6.2 seconds to reach a rotation speed of 120 kts.

                        "A famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' But as I once said, "If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like." – Max Headroom

                        by midnight lurker on Wed Aug 14, 2013 at 06:59:47 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

  •  You could easily triple the solar panels (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GAS, Troubadour, nirbama

    shown by just counterlevering out off the sides of the structure.

    The overall lightness of the design would really help to reduce the cost, too.  It means a hell of a lot lighter towers for overpasses and the like.

    I wonder what kind grade it could handle?  While it would lose speed, I don't see why it couldn't easily take much higher grades than trains can.  There's no traction issue.

    Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

    by JesseCW on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 04:11:15 PM PDT

  •  I'm only part way through the doc... (6+ / 0-)

    ...but I'm convinced.

    This thing rocks!

    Get the shovels!

  •  I Think They Should Try It At Disney World (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GAS, whenwego, Troubadour, DB55, JesseCW, nirbama

    first.  It would be great to get from EPCOT to Magic Kingdom in 5 minutes.  If it worked good Disney could get one built to Tampa or to Miami.  Imagine getting to Disney from Tampa in 15 minutes.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 04:19:47 PM PDT

  •  30 minutes to/from SF to LA (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour, DB55

    according to yahoo.

    http://news.yahoo.com/...

    But will you need a catheter?  Bottom picture (above map) so indicates.

    He who would trade liberty for security deserves great customer service.

    by Publius2008 on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 04:50:54 PM PDT

  •  I'm a bit disappointed in one thing (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour, nirbama, Khun David, raines

    He expects someon else to tackle the teleportation problem. What a slacker!

    Oh, and this thing is teh awesome. Elon Musk is frigging amazing.

    All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

    by subtropolis on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 05:01:19 PM PDT

  •  What about LA to Vegas? n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour, nirbama

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities" Voltaire.

    by JWK on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 05:03:59 PM PDT

    •  He's got it as a possible future branch route. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour, nirbama, Khun David

      From pp. 51-52 of pdf:

      Las Vegas, Nevada:
      a. Connects to Los Angeles, California main station.
      b. Uses a portion of the San Diego branch route near Los Angeles and
      tube branches near San Bernardino, California.
      c. Capsule departures every 8 minutes.
      d. Transports around 1.8 million people per year.
    •  If it works and is economical (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, nirbama, Lawrence

      there's no reason it wouldn't branch out into all the expected routes.  I assume the LA-SF line would expand Northward to Vancouver and Southward to San Diego, then LA-Vegas would probably happen while separate systems are built DC-New York-Boston.  Then they'd hook them up through Chicago, I'd guess.  But LA-SF would be a decade away anyway, so the rest would be like 20 years away.

    •  California State assembly HATES the idea (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour, Bensdad

      of high speed rail to Las Vegas.

      "Driving cash out of the state on a rail".

      They never think for a second about all those people from Las Vegas and its burbs who would come here to go to amusement parks and cool down at the beach.

      Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

      by JesseCW on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 05:55:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually the math is pretty lopsided. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW

        Might have to arrange some kind of kickback scheme where the Vegas casinos pay some of it back to California.

        •  There's no way Nevada would go for that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Troubadour, raines

          directly.

          But if the tickets cost 80 bucks each way in prime time and the casino's offer the customer a 60 dollar voucher for booking a room?  Or a 30 dollar voucher with 200 bucks in chips?  They have similar deals with Greyhound.

          It's not as lopsided as you might think.  People who really really like to gamble in Vegas already just jump on the 30 dollar round trip Greyhound and go gamble, or fly out of Bob Hope if they have money to burn.

          This would just get them there on a much smaller carbon footprint, and the State could make money on it.

          Now, there would be an upsurge in people going to Vegas to see comedians and shows and the like, and it would be pretty damn big, but there would be that big upside of decreased road maintenance, no need to expand the 15 or the 40, ect.

          Lastly?  Charge a pretty penny for the tickets.  Use it to subsidize the rest of the system.  Offer budget deals for round trip passengers originating and ending in Las Vegas, and charge higher prices for folks going the other way ;)

          After all, the tube running Las Vegas to L.A. will be pretty empty Friday afternoon otherwise, right?  Make the ticket 10 or 15, operate that side at a loss, and charge 45 to go out to Vegas.  Vice-Versa Sunday night.

          Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

          by JesseCW on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 07:07:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Gamblers in Cali go to Indian casinos. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW

            I've been doing the rounds at San Manuel for a while.  Vegas is mostly about people taking a vacation now, and about international clientele.  I'm not enough of a businessman to speculate about the details of a deal that would make it worth our while to subsidize a spur to Vegas.  It'll happen eventually anyway, but soon?  Probably not.

            •  The hardcore gamblers. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Troubadour

              Most probably still will.

              The reservation casinos offer free package deals and the like, have cheap food, ect.

              Las Vegas isn't really so much catering to that market anymore.  Now, a fast tube to Laughlin or Reno would cause them some worries....

              If it's a money maker, because "Vegas, Baby" (young kids looking to hook up love that town, even if they don't gamble that much) brings a ticket price that more than covers costs, it's a winner.  

              It would be subsidizing other projects.  And, christ, the carbon saved on killing those short-hop flights....if we ever get a decent carbon credit system that actually rewards public investment....

              Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

              by JesseCW on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 07:22:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  they don't think about (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, Troubadour

        all the people driving to Vegas. That's a five-hour drive (minimum).

        (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

        by PJEvans on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 06:57:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I wouldn't want to be stuck in a tube..... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour

      ....with two guys heading back to LA from a bender in Vegas.

      Well.....I'd want to be check out the guys first.

      If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

      by Bensdad on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 09:11:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If some casino owners (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour

      think it feasible, it might just get done.

      Although, there'd be a collective expression of "What the hell?" if Sheldon Adelson decided to head a consortium of casino owners to build it.

      Sigline? What Sigline?

      by Khun David on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 12:19:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The wingnuts will be having a field day with this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    US Blues, Troubadour

    One of the first things Walker did here in WI was to get rid of any plans for high speed rail (the "half-fast" train as the talk shows referred to it) even in spite of the negative economic consequences that resulted from this decision.

    "Education and literacy remain the greatest threats to conservative rule, whereas religion remains its most potent and complicit ally" - J. Newman

    by macleme on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 05:22:12 PM PDT

  •  When I was a kid (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour, Lawrence, raines

    I was promised a Jetson's lifestyle. I'm glad someone is trying to make it happen.

    "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

    by US Blues on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 05:28:23 PM PDT

    •  Can we haz....... (0+ / 0-)

      ....flying cars now?

      If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

      by Bensdad on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 09:14:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The technology toward that is inevitable. (0+ / 0-)

        More powerful, more compact batteries or capacitors, better induction for recharge at a distance, improvements in ducted fan design through better aerodynamics from the wind industry, automated driving ultimately making a pilot's license unnecessary as long as it stays within certain altitude and speed parameters, etc.  We just underestimated the advancements that were necessary.

  •  From 1896... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour, raines

    From 1896:  Solutions to the Transit Problem.  The idea has been around for quite a while.

    Read my webcomic, "Hannibal Tesla Adventure Magazine" at http://www.kurtoonsonline.com/

    by quarkstomper on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 05:35:51 PM PDT

  •  I am curious about break downs... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour

    I assume that there will be few if any stops available (none of course in a 35 minutes trip form LA to SF) but what happens when there is a mechanical failure?  If for some reason it stops because of a failure of some type, would there be emergency exits in the capsule? In the Tube?  

    Would the capsule coming behind you at 760MPH automatically stop as well?  Would there be some type of offlining capability to remove a capsule stuck in the middle?

    Earthquakes don't bother me. I was in the big one near SF in 89' at Moffett Field in a blimp hanger.  It's sort of like a tornado in that if it happens, it happens and there is not a hell of a lot you can do about it so you just don't worry about it.  However, maintenance failures happen a lot more frequently and when a malfunction happens at 760 MPH in a sealed, near vacuum tube 380 miles long with potentially another capsule traveling at 760 MPH coming up behind you... That may worry me a little.

    "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

    by Buckeye Nut Schell on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 05:49:52 PM PDT

    •  It's not that hard to control. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      highacidity, DB55, AdamR510

      If one pod has a problem and has to stop, you make sure the ones behind it know about it and slow down or stop as long as necessary.  You make it failsafe by making it so they only run when they receive an active All Clear from the system.

      It would probably be very rare where you would have to stop at a specific place vs. stop right now, so you could probably just have emergency ladders and/or stairwells in a pylon every mile or so.  And if you do have to stop right now, it would just be like when they have to rescue people from a roller coaster, only a lot safer because there's no loops.

    •  It will malfunction and people will die. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AdamR510, Troubadour

      That will happen.  It happens with trains, buses, aircraft, and boats.

      I have no doubt at all there will be times when all the failsafes fail and cars collide and people die.  Possibly dozens of people.

      Bet a dollar it would be twice as safe as airline travel and 20 times safer than auto travel, though.

      Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

      by JesseCW on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 07:13:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh, WTF? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour

    My Ron Paul friends are using this story as "proof" against the "But who will build the roads?" argument against libertarianism.

    Yeah, only took 5,000 years of civilization.

  •  Five bucks sez the Chinese let Elon build it there (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour

    Imagine the colossal headache of achieving this in CA, with legions of out-of-work lawyers, versus connecting two likely cities in China.

  •  Not exactly ADA compliant... n/t (0+ / 0-)

    "We see things not as they are, but as we are." - John Milton

    by Jasonhouse on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 05:54:40 PM PDT

  •  air cushion in a vacuum? (0+ / 0-)

    hmmmmmmm?????

    more like high temp maglev as the original ET3 paper suggested.

    http://www.et3.com/...

    •  OR, you could read the pdf. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour
    •  No, not at all like high temp maglev. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour, Dogs are fuzzy

      What sort of person makes a mocking tone without learning about what they're mocking?  Get over yourself.

      It's a partial vacuum, not a hard vacuum.  At the high speeds, a column of high pressure air would build up in front of it; this problem is taken care of by a compressor on the front of the craft.  Air from the compressor augments the air cushion under the skis and the rest is jetisoned out the back.  I say "augmented" because at high speeds aerodynamics alone helps build up a cushion of air under the skis.

      Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

      by Rei on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 09:34:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  you don't have any idea what you are talking (0+ / 0-)

        about.

        do you understand what kind of drag coefficient would be effected by having an "air cushion" holding up a passenger-laden shuttle moving at 700 mph?

        hmmmmm???

        a partial vacuum would still have to have the same air pressure per square inch below the transport as the weight of the transport to keep it from grinding against the bottom of the tube.

        perhaps this is more of a thought piece than an actual device and that is why he muses that he needs to build a prototype?

        in the end, the idea of having a rail gun maglev partial vacuum tube transport has been around since the 1970's.

        •  Read the PDF. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rei
          •  I did read the pdf (0+ / 0-)

            Fine,

            From the PDF

            28 air bearing skis that are geometrically conformed to the tube walls. The skis, each 4.9 ft (1.5 meters) in length and 3.0 ft (0.9 meters) in width, support the weight of the capsule by floating on a pressurized cushion of air 0.020 to 0.050 in. (0.5 to 1.3 mm) off the ground. Peak pressures beneath the skis need only reach 1.4 psi (9.4 kPa) to support the passenger capsule (9% of sea level atmospheric pressure)
            this is augmented when they say,
            Lift is supplemented by injecting highly pressurized air into the gap. By applying an externally supplied pressure, a favorable pressure distribution is established beneath the bearing and sufficient lift is generated to support the capsule. This system is known as an external pressure (EP) bearing and it is effective when the capsule is stationary or moving at very high speeds. At nominal weight and g-loading, a capsule on the Hyperloop will require air injection beneath (each) ski at a rate of 0.44 lb/s (0.2 kg/s) at 1.4 psi (9.4 kPa) for the passenger capsule.
            please note that they say 1.4 psi when they mean 1.4 psid (differential) not psia

            They go on to say that

            This brings the total capsule weight near 57,000 lb
            Please see the following document:  http://www.dtic.mil/...
            Feasibility Study of Air Bearing Rocket Sled Slippers

            The rocket sled slippers are 15 inches long and wrap around a rail.

            they say,

            increasing slipper length would lower pressure requirements but increase flow requirements
            page 38
            The rocket jet flow requirements are .16 lb/s at 110 psi

            This is for a rocket that operates with about 1/6th of the weight of the hyperloop and at speeds that are mach 5 in normal atmosphere.

            Contrast that with the hyperloop slippers, there are 28 of them, each has a much larger surface area.  but their flow rates and differential pressures are much lower than the military rocket.

            In the military design they found that a .002 air gap was optimal but at .005in gap there was a significant penalty associated with increased air requirements,  (fig 22 page 43)  The Hyperloop states their air gaps will be 10 times the amounts deemed feasible in the study.

            so, in summary, the 1.4 psi is differential pressure above that of the surrounding pressures, the flow rates are low (according to the feasibility study) by a significant amount for the requirements of the lift at those air gaps.  On top of this, the design of the hyperloop slippers allows significantly more air loss from the lateral edges of the slippers (as opposed to a rail slipper) so it is likely that their calculations for air volume are low by a significant amount.  

            The volume amount currently calculated by (space-x?) is .44lb/s for a 45 minute flight which yields 1,188 lb of air (538 kg)

            This amount is equal to 417 cubic meters of air at STP, per shuttle during the SF-LA transit, vented into the tube.  It is likely then that the amount of air vented into very high vacuum (100 pa or about 1/100th of atmospheric pressure) will actually be 20-50 times this amount.

            At any given moment there will be approximately 5 shuttles in each tube (3 in transit and 2 accelerating/braking)  This means there will need to be a system-wide evacuation system that can continually remove all of this constantly venting air, to maintain the very high vacuum.

            If vacuum is not maintained then the operational speeds will drop due to the significant drag coefficient, more air will need to be vented and the air capacity will be drained.

            So why not a maglev?

            •  Wow, congratulations. (0+ / 0-)

              You actually read what you were debating about halfway into the debate about it.  Kudos to you, want a cookie?

              The rocket jet flow requirements are .16 lb/s at 110 psi
              This is for a rocket that operates with about 1/6th of the weight of the hyperloop and at speeds that are mach 5 in normal atmosphere.
              First off, comparing a hypersonic air slipper with a subsonic slipper is an absurdity, shocks will render it to having completely different performance characteristics.  Secondly, the rocket is operating in normal atmospheric condition, so that furthermore not only renders the comparison moot.  Third, it's idiotic taking an air gap conclusion from skis with one set of dimensions, shapes,  and operating conditions and saying that they're going to automatically apply to a set of totally different skis in a totally different set of conditions; the pressure requirements and distances will vary tremendously (you can go all the way up to several meters separation on an air cushion if you add stubby wings - look up "ground effect vehicle").  And lastly, they've already done CFD sims, these are the numbers the CFD sims yield.
              At any given moment there will be approximately 5 shuttles in each tube (3 in transit and 2 accelerating/braking)  This means there will need to be a system-wide evacuation system that can continually remove all of this constantly venting air, to maintain the very high vacuum.
              (Must Find Wall To Bang Head Into

              The air is coming from the compressor.  That means, from the tube itself.  It's coming from the tube, and leaving to the tube.  There is no net change.  These aren't rocket engines venting exhaust.  The tube remains the same pressure.  The whole point of hyperloop is that it's a self-contained low pressure system.  There's no way on earth that a ~350kW compressor would have trouble producing the required flow and pressure rates when the vehicle itself is moving at hundreds of miles per hour - it's only 15-20% of the total that would be shunted to the skis.

              If vacuum is not maintained then the operational speeds will drop due to the significant drag coefficient, more air will need to be vented and the air capacity will be drained.
              1/1000th of an atmosphere is enough to render the pressure low enough that a reasonable-sized onboard battery bank and compressor can move all of the air from in front of the vehicle to behind it.  So there's really no point to going further, as energy requirements and construction difficulty rises tremendously trying to go all the way to a hard vacuum.
              So why not a maglev?
              Because maglev costs a bloody fortune, which is why it's been so little utilized.  The whole point is economical low energy transport.  Air cushion will always beat maglev hands-down in cost effectiveness.

              Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

              by Rei on Wed Aug 14, 2013 at 08:27:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Seriously, when you're standing in a hole, (0+ / 0-)

          stop digging.  You made stupid remarks, criticising a system that wasn't proposed.   Own up to it and move on.

          Secondly, air cushions reduce drag, not cause it.  Air injection is a well known technique for restoring laminar flow from turbulent and reducing (actually, for a small distance, eliminating) skin drag.  It helps so much that some next gen spacecraft are even considering plasma injection - even when what you're injecting onto your wings is so hot it's not even a gas any more, it still reduces drag so much that it overall cools your skin.

          Yes, it would have a relatively high PSI under the skis to hold it up.  The couple millimeters under the skis.  Its such a small volume it's not a meaningful distinction.

          Why don't you Actually Read The Document before you criticize it?  Again, what sort of person does what you're doing?  It blows my mind.  It's like saying, "I hate Obama's plan to give everyone a free pony!"  "Um... Obama doesn't have a plan to give everyone a free pony..." "Well I still hate it!"

          Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

          by Rei on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 04:32:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  points (0+ / 0-)

            above,

            restoring laminar flow for the bearing isn't the issue, it has to do with differential pressures and air volumes, and the effect of constantly venting this amount of air into an evacuated tube which will lead to increased air volume in front of the shuttle, leading to massive drag.

            The drag that I was referring to on the bearings involved the .5 degree lift in the front of the slippers which was supposed to provide additional lift.  To have this small angle of surface area provide any significant pressure increase there would have to be a significant volume of air trapped in front of the sled.

            you can't have it both ways, either it operates in a vacuum with a LOT of air being vented underneath the sled to support the 25 TONS of craft

            or

            you actually operate within a vacuum using a maglev.

            •  The point I was trying to make is (0+ / 0-)

              from the original concept design published by ET3 here:

              http://www.et3.com/...

              ET3 can use any type of maglev. The cost will be less than 1/10 the cost of using maglev to levitate 100-ton trains. ET3 capsule weight per unit of length is less than 1/15 that of a train so much less material is needed for ET3.
              The High Temperature Superconductive Maglev (HTSM) invented by Professor Wang at Southwest
              Jiaotong University (SWJTU) [1] and preferred for use in ET3 has safety and cost advantages compared with other maglev systems. HTSM is not reliant on motion, external or internal power, or electronic control to maintain stable levitation. The capsule will levitate indefinitely as long as the HTS bulks are kept in a superconductive state by coolant
            •  *Millimeters* (0+ / 0-)

              How much air do you think it takes to raise the pressure for a millimeter or so under a ski?  Stop and think about that for a second.

              Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

              by Rei on Wed Aug 14, 2013 at 04:08:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  the original feasability study (0+ / 0-)

                used .002 to .005 inches with the exponential increase in air volume needed for gaps increasing above .003

                the pdf says .02 to .05 inches.

                The thing is, if you are traveling in a tube that you are trying to keep at a vacuum approximating that of a particle accelerator, you need to do everything you can to prevent air from getting into that tube.

                •  It is *not* the pressure approximating that (0+ / 0-)

                  of a particle accelerator.  It's about 1/1000th (about 0.1 kPa) the pressure on earth.  It is not a hard vaccuum.  It's nothing like space.  It's nothing like a particle accelerator.  

                  The tube has a cross-sectional area of about 35 thousand square centimeters.  The air cushion under the skis has a cross-sectional area of a few square centimeters and the pressure only needs to reach 9.4 kPa.  That is, it only needs to be 100 times the density of the average air, yet has a cross section 1/10000th of the total.  Only about 1% of the air needs to go under the skis.   It is simply not a problem to get the required pressure under the ski, period.

                  Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

                  by Rei on Wed Aug 14, 2013 at 08:01:19 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  if It isn't a problem (0+ / 0-)

                    then why don't we see pad-based lifts for moving cargo around a ship or warehouse?  it would be so much easier to simply put 16lb psia under a few pads to lift and move around a 5,000 lb shipping container.  if it only takes .44 lb per second of air per pad, that isn't a problem at all is it?

                    I don't think you are grasping what I am saying.

                    what I am saying is that it will likely take about 50 times as much air as the paper says it will.  that this air is going into the tube at 5X the calculation that I am showing you for a single car.  That this will be happening almost 24/7.

                    that the difficulty with using air in a vacuum tube is so much greater than a maglev that it makes it untenable.

                    do you have a clue why a maglev wasn't proposed as the original document says?  

              •  you did not read (0+ / 0-)

                the post I made to troubadour above it is linked here:

                http://www.dailykos.com/...

  •  Looks interesting, but limited capacity (0+ / 0-)

    I'm wondering if that amount of money is better off spent on that kind of transport option for what I would guess is a few thousand people a day, or on shorter but higher volume transport options like expanding subway or light rail within a city or a metropolitan area.

    Of course if you have enough money you can do both, but when was the last time there was enough money?

    •  as opposed to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      highacidity, Troubadour, Lawrence

      the tens of thousands who drive that distance on any given day. Or fly it, if they have the money and don't object to security theater.
      FWIW, it's one of the busiest intercity routes in the country, maybe in the world. One airline used it as their principal route, and was making money with low fares.

      (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

      by PJEvans on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 07:00:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The question wasn't how many make that trip (0+ / 0-)

        The question was if this is the most sensible way to spend money to increase the effeciency/flow of ALL trips required, both on that route and on other routes, and whether using this new method or a different method designed to handle much higher volumes.

    •  You can always build multiple loops. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour, nirbama

      You are correct that the capacity would probably be rather low but if the demand was there increasing capacity would be rather straightforward and wouldn't require the sort of construction headaches you get when adding a lane to a highway.

      Realistically you'd probably want two of the things running side by side in any event so that service could continue 24/7 on at least one loop.  But I can't imagine a reason other than cost why you couldn't have half a dozen or more running the same route.

      "It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said." "The War Prayer" by Mark Twain

      by Quanta on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 07:37:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  High-speed rail already on plan for this route. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour

      The question isn't whether we build for this route, but whether we do HSR, change that to hyperloop technology, or perhaps some merger of the two ideas (although I don't know how that would work exactly).

    •  I reject false dilemmas (0+ / 0-)

      and one of the things that makes Elon Musk a living superhero is that he proves that you can do that and still achieve things.

    •  It has 3 times the annual capacity (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour

      as annual passengers on the LA/SF air corridor.  What's the problem?

      Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

      by Rei on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 09:34:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love this idea! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AdamR510, Troubadour, nirbama, Lawrence

    It is so refreshing to see someone actually think outside the box and not just complain about how we are not accomplishing anything as a society.  My husband and I just ordered a Tesla and have followed Mr. Musk for quite some time.  I have no doubt he will accomplish this.  He doesn't seem to give up easily and is not swayed by politics or the oil and gas industry.  I would never bet against him.

  •  I wonder if they've given much thought to what (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AdamR510, Troubadour

    happens in the event of a system failure.....are you simply stuck in a hermetically sealed tube until help arrives?

    •  Yes. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour, skrekk

      That's in the doc. The pods can activate electrically driven wheels from the on board battery to an access hatch. There is also on-board air-masks (like in jets). The pods are distanced out by many miles. So for some it will make more sense to coast to "home base" instead of operating the emergency brake.

    •  Yes, there's emergency braking, emergency exits. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour, skrekk

      PDF p. 27: "safety emergency exits and pressurization
      ports will be added in key locations along the length of the tube".

      Obviously, this would need to be worked out in detail if/when an actual project commences, but I don't see why emergency evacuation can't be built in just like in any subway or auto tunnel.  

  •  we always seem to be an afterthought down here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour

    on these sorts of projects. A corner case, you might say.

    Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

    by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 10:31:15 PM PDT

  •  it's a bold idea, but needs a lot of work (0+ / 0-)

    I like the idea of vacuum tunnels, but,
    the California HSR system runs downtown to downtown,
    the Hyperloop starts out in the burbs.

    That last mile is what's pricey.

    The second thing is the throughput isn't as good as predicted.
    (Not a big thing to make the stations bigger or the cars bigger, but you need big long transit stations to
    let people get out and a lot of crossovers, and bypass lanes,
    the first time a car gets stuck in a tube, you need
    escape paths,,,,

    take a look at the Euro-tunnel.  they have a maintenance
    track in the middle and when they had a fire in the tunnel,
    they were screwed for weeks.

    so to make this work, the stations need to be much bigger, the cars much bigger, you need a third tube with crossovers
    say every 10 miles, you need escape rail and doors every
    400 feet,

    then as an engineering improvement i'd put crossovers
    and fans between the tubes over head.  that way the effective tube area can double to reduce drag and reduce
    power to the cars.

    It's a bold vision and i like the idea of thinking boldly, but
    engineering reality wants a lot more system.

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