Virgin Hyperloop's First Ever Two Passenger Test Is a Success

The important milestone saw the two passengers hurtling through a nearly airless tube in a small pod at 100 mph (160 km/h).
Fabienne Lang
Virgin Hyperloop's pod, PegasusSarah Lawson/Virgin Hyperloop

Virgin Hyperloop's ultra-fast transportation system successfully moved its first two passengers through the Nevada desert for the first time. 

The test took place on Sunday 8 November, and its first two passengers were the company's chief technology officer and co-founder Josh Giegel, and Sara Luchian, the company's director of customer experience. 

The two swiftly moved through an airlocked system, essentially a vacuum, in a cozy red and white pod named Pegasus. 


Shortest ride

Pegasus seamlessly transported Luchian and Giegel across the length of the 1,640 feet (500m) DevLoop test track, or tube, in 15 seconds, reaching a speed of 100 mph (160 km/h).

Virgin Hyperloop's First Ever Two Passenger Test Is a Success
The first two passengers Luchian (left) and Giegel (right). Source: Sarah Lawson/Virgin Hyperloop

This is just the tip of the iceberg, as Virgin Hyperloop plans on reaching speeds of up to 760 mph (1,220 km/h)

Sunday's test marked an important milestone for the company that was founded in 2014. Its plans of carrying passengers through magnetically levitated pods hurtling through nearly airless tubes in complete comfort are taking shape. 

Virgin Hyperloop's First Ever Two Passenger Test Is a Success
The pod's futuristic and cozy interior. Source: Sarah Lawson/Virgin Hyperloop

It was no easy task reaching Sunday's achievement, as the company stated it carried out over 400 tests before deeming the system safe enough to transport people. 

The XP-2 test, as it's known, is only the start of an ambitious project. The plan is to create a full-size pod capable of transporting up to 23 passengers, weighing 2.5 tons and roughly 15 - 18 feet (4.7 - 5.4 meters) long

Virgin Hyperloop's First Ever Two Passenger Test Is a Success
The pod, Pegasus, going into the DevLoop test tube. Source: Sarah Lawson/Virgin Hyperloop

The inside of the pod is meant to resemble an atmosphere that people are familiar with, so as to make the ride an enjoyable one—and rather than one resembling a panic-inducing-rollercoaster-ride. 

Giegel mentioned to The Verge that the acceleration felt similar to when a plane takes off. The pod moves forward thanks to a similar mechanism as magnetic levitation high-speed trains, such as Shanghai's Maglev.

Virgin Hyperloop's First Ever Two Passenger Test Is a Success
Giegel and Luchian in the pod. Source: Sarah Lawson/Virgin Hyperloop

Sunday marked an integral day for the future of transportation and for Virgin Hyperloop's plans. Some of its lofty plans are to cut down travel time, for instance with Virgin Hyperloop the 28 mile (46 km) journey between Raleigh and Durham in North Carolina would take only nine minutes, compared with 40 minutes of driving.

"I can’t tell you how often I get asked 'is hyperloop safe?,'" said Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop.

"With today’s passenger testing, we have successfully answered this question, demonstrating that not only can Virgin Hyperloop safely put a person in a pod in a vacuum environment, but that the company has a thoughtful approach to safety which has been validated by an independent third party."

Virgin Hyperloop isn't the only company working on creating this mode of transportation, but it's the first to have carried passengers with it so far.

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