SpaceX finally announced the date of its hotly anticipated Hyperloop pod competition: January 2017. The contest was initially planned for the summer of 2016, but SpaceX said it was pushing it to next year after several of the teams requested more time to complete their pods.
"We know everyone is really excited to show off their designs, but many have also told us that you'd like more time to refine your designs," the announcement posted on SpaceX’s website reads. "We’ve listened to the teams' feedback, and to maximize the number of participating teams, Competition Weekend will be held on January 27-29, 2017."
The means the competition will be held exactly a year after the first phase of the contest, when dozens of college engineers descended on Texas A&M University to show off their designs for the futuristic, super-fast transportation system first conceived by Elon Musk.
From over 120 schools, 29 college teams (plus one high school team and one non-student team that formed on Reddit) were picked to advance to the next round. They are now building fully functional, three-fourth scale models of their pods to test on SpaceX’s one-mile track.
Most of the teams had thought the competition would be held late summer or early fall 2016. So the news that they’ll have more time to perfect their designs is sure to be welcome to many. However, a spokesperson for SpaceX wouldn’t say whether the construction of the test track in any way effected the decision to push back the competition.
Previously, SpaceX had emailed the teams to say that the "best guess for Competition Weekend is early-to-mid August," but even that date can move around depending on construction and testing. Last January, the company announced it had selected Aecom, one of the world's largest construction and design firms, to build its Hyperloop track.
Of course, the delay of SpaceX’s competition is not the most serious news to hit the nascent Hyperloop industry these days. Hyperloop One, an LA-based startup interested in developing commercial versions of the tube-based transportation system, is mired in controversy after one of its co-founders filed suit against his former partners, alleging financial misconduct, abuse, and physical threats.