Today we're doing an interactive AMA! We have a 12 hour stream on HyperRPG from 9am to 9pm PT where we'll be answering questions on the air!

Our short bio: In June of 2015, Elon Musk announced that SpaceX would be holding a competition where teams would compete to design the best hyperloop pod. We redditors took up the challenge, along with ~1,200 other teams.

Our crowdsourced design group, rLoop, won best non-student design and is now one of only 30 teams which will advance to the final round, where we will build and race our pod on a 1-mile test track at SpaceX HQ this summer! We would like to thank the reddit community for their incredible support!

The success of our open-source collaborative online model has been incredible, and has garnered some media attention and even the front page of reddit! We see the internet as a tool for empowering humanity, and we hope to show people what can be accomplished when an online community comes together to help solve the world's most exciting challenges.

I am the Project Manager of rLoop and will be answering questions here and in the twitch stream via Skype. Another rLooper, /u/-Richard, is in person on the stream and will also be answering questions.

Proof: This tweet.

Comments: 531 • Responses: 28  • Date: 

Lets_Adapt42 karma

If you were not studying engineering what would you study?

beltenebros91 karma

i actually went to a classical music school for 10 years, followed by visual arts, followed by film, followed by motorcycle mechanics and, finally, mechanical engineering.

if i were to go back to school again, it would probably be for astrophysics.

kroxigor015 karma

What instrument mate

beltenebros5 karma

focus was on harmony and composition, but had to play piano. and sing.

WightWabbit33 karma

California has recently moved towards funding for high-speed rail. What impact will that have on the prospective hyperloop?

beltenebros32 karma

the hyperloop concept actually arose out of dissatisfaction of the planned HSR in CA. to pull a quote from the Alpha Paper:

How could it be that the home of Silicon Valley and JPL – doing incredible things like indexing all the world’s knowledge and putting rovers on Mars – would build a bullet train that is both one of the most expensive per mile and one of the slowest in the world?

Hamsa1926 karma

An airplane is on a conveyor belt which moves in the opposite direction. Can the plane take off?

beltenebros3 karma

What kind of belt is on the conveyor?

sorry_wasntlistening21 karma

How come I never got my shirt for donating?

beltenebros12 karma

donating to the campaign? all perks have an (approximate) ship date of August, 2016. however, many of the perk levels (shirts, sweaters, posters) will be shipped much sooner than then...

VirKatJol21 karma

What colors will the tubes/pods be? Will a shark design be a real option?

beltenebros10 karma

while the tube is outside of our control, the pod is - but as /u/starcraftre pointed out, paint is just weight. full scale, i'd love them to be white.

JonathanD7619 karma

What do you think the max speed of your pod design will be, especially re: the air pistoning problem?

beltenebros4 karma

during the competition, 300mph. as /u/starcraftre said we'll be avoiding the pistoning altogether at our cross sectional area and pressure.

VirKatJol17 karma

If you win what kind of cake will you have at the after party?

beltenebros15 karma

i'm a lemon meringue kind of guy.

LuckysGoods18 karma

No way! We're doing red velvet.

boilerdam16 karma

I vote for Red Velvet as well! or some kind of double chocolate fudge thingy.

beltenebros32 karma

we can have all the cakes.

MuppetZoo17 karma

Having a worldwide, distributed team doing design is one thing, how are you planning on doing the actual manufacture and assembly? Is everyone going to take a month off work and go live in a warehouse together?

beltenebros19 karma

luckily (planned), our head of engineering and our head of manufacturing are in CA. we also have a team who will be working on it full time, and others who will be working on it part time. we're using an approach we call micro manufacturing, with members who have access to specialized equipment or materials manufacturing as much as they can feasibly remotely. on site, we'll have our full timers wearing go pro cameras and receiving guidance from the remote team. we're excited!

tamarack_smack8 karma

How large are your pods you're designing? In the contexts of buses and trains, where they have to accelerate and decelerate so often to let people on and off, more energy is wasted. Would a Hyperloop system be more efficient with taxi sized pods to bring passengers directly to their destination?

beltenebros6 karma

our pod will accommodate 1 dummy passenger and is approximately half scale. the system would be from point A to point B, and not able to accommodate stops in between (at least in its current design). the levitation system we are using would accommodate such a system, and is capable of operating outside of the tube as well - that is unique to our design.

PeteWhiz8 karma

Are there any plans to expand into things other than Hyperloop?

beltenebros6 karma

VTOL, astro mining, beamed propulsion... (This should summon /u/zarok )

beltenebros1 karma

the open source, crowd sourced concept has been incredibly successful for us, and we look forward to applying it to other 'moon shot' projects.

arhanv8 karma

If you had to explain Hyperloop to a five year old, how would you do it?

beltenebros8 karma

it's a car driving through a tube, but we remove the wheels and make the car levitate, then fill the tube with space!

munch85048 karma

how large are the magnets needed to get the pod hovering?

beltenebros4 karma

we're using mag lev tech from Arx Pax - the hover engines are 10.5" in diameter and we'll require 8 of them to levitate our pod mass between 6 and 10 mm.

EDIT: updated specs on hover engines have them at approx. 8.5"

zzzabre5 karma

Arxpax look pretty cool. Have you tested or simulated it?

beltenebros7 karma

yes, we're working on a 1/12th scale pod to test our control system. our engineering lead, /u/ZAROK , has tested the Hendo Hoverboard at Arx Pax HQ as well.

tarasis5 karma

What effect would natural phenomena like Earthquakes have on the Hyperloop?

beltenebros4 karma

earthquakes would cause some issues, but systems can be implemented to mitigate - both for the tube and for the pod. actually, fun fact, Arx Pax initially developed the MFA tech as a means to levitate buildings/homes during an earthquake!

Chairmanman5 karma

Do you know when the competition track is going to be built and when the competition will actually take place?

beltenebros6 karma

the best info we have right now is 'end of august, early september'. the specifications of the track have still not been finalized, and construction has not yet started.

MondorTheGreat4 karma

Have you guys considered using the rLoop as a new form for sending things into space?

beltenebros17 karma

beltenebros5 karma

Should be a paint drawing incoming...

Caitirona4 karma

I'm running out of serious questions right now so, What Hogwarts house would you be in?

beltenebros5 karma

never read harry potter, but my wife says griffendor or ravenclaw. whatever that means.

VirKatJol3 karma

favorite things to snack on while you work?

beltenebros6 karma

Soylent. And beer.

VirKatJol2 karma

Did you guys do a dance when we hit 15,000 on the stream?

beltenebros3 karma

i was dancing. and have started mentally preparing for the shark suit.

Tokugawa2 karma

Would it be possible to use a Hyperloop-esque system to launch objects into orbit?

beltenebros2 karma

SalomonX1 karma

Have you guys considered using eddy currents for braking?

beltenebros1 karma

our primary braking is ec. /u/whiplash01 has done extensive simulation on that if you're interested!