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Hyperloop rockets passengers in levitating pod

Harry Pettit, November 10, 2020 6:45PM The Sun

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The Virgin Hyperloop test site in Nevada, US. Picture: Virgin Hyperloop media_cameraThe Virgin Hyperloop test site in Nevada, US. Picture: Virgin Hyperloop


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Two people have become the world’s first passengers to ride a futuristic* high-speed transport system known as a hyperloop.

Developed by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop, the technology uses high-powered electromagnets* to push levitating* pods through a tube at up to 1000kmh.

The company announced this week that two staff members had ridden a capsule at a test site in the Nevada desert in the US for the first time.

Chief technology officer Josh Giegel and Sara Luchian, director of customer experience, hit speeds of 170kmh on a 500m test track.

Speaking to BBC News, Ms Luchian described the ride as “exhilarating* both psychologically* and physically”.

It marks a huge milestone* for Virgin Hyperloop and Sir Richard, who hopes to have a Hyperloop operating between Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates soon.

“For the past few years, the Virgin Hyperloop team has been working on turning its groundbreaking* technology into reality,” said Sir Richard.

“With today’s successful test, we have shown that this spirit of innovation* will in fact change the way people everywhere live, work, and travel in the years to come.”

Los Angeles-based Hyperloop envisions* a future where floating pods packed with passengers and cargo hurtle* through vacuum tubes at 966kmh or faster.

The Virgin Hyperloop pods hurtle through a tube. Picture: Virgin Hyperloop media_cameraThe Virgin Hyperloop pods hurtle through a vacuum tube. Picture: Virgin Hyperloop

In a hyperloop system, which uses magnetic levitation to allow near-silent travel, a trip between Melbourne and Sydney (878km) or Sydney and Brisbane (917km) or Melbourne and Adelaide (727km) would be possible in less than an hour. That’s faster than the flying time between these cities.

The company has previously run more than 400 tests without human passengers at the Nevada site.

Hyperloop is working toward safety certification* by 2025 and commercial* operations by 2030, it has said.

Canada’s Transpod and Spain’s Zeleros also aim to up-end* traditional passenger and freight networks with similar technology.

First proposed by entrepreneur* Elon Musk, hyperloop technology promises to slash travel times and traffic congestion.

The systems are also said to be better for the environment as they produce less greenhouse gases than cars and trains.

However, there have been concerns throughout the development about how safe the technology could be.

One researcher at Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology, argued that the high speeds involved could turn the Hyperloop into a “barf ride.”

This story was first published on The Sun and is republished with permission.

media_cameraArtist’s impression of a proposed Australian hyperloop transport system called the VicHyper. Picture: supplied


  • futuristic: having modern technology and design
  • electromagnets: metal coil made into a magnet by putting an electrical current through it
  • levitating: hover in the air
  • exhilarating: making you feel very happy or elated
  • psychologically: to do with feelings and thinking
  • milestone: significant stage or event
  • groundbreaking: doing something new
  • innovation: new method or design
  • envisions: imagines or visualises
  • hurtle: move at high speed
  • certification: approval from an official organisation
  • commercial: for the purpose of making money
  • up-end: turn upside down
  • entrepreneur: person who starts new businesses


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  1. Describe this invention and how it works.
  2. How fast could the pods go?
  3. How far is it between Melbourne and Adelaide?
  4. What other countries have similar inventions?
  5. Why did Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology say it could be a “barf ride”?


1. Hyperloop Reality
This hyperloop system could be in operation in 10 years or less, changing the way we live our lives and how we get around. Work with a partner and complete the table below outlining how this technology would affect different industries and the way we live. For example, if the hyperloop system was built between Melbourne and Sydney, people could realistically live in one city and work in the other.

Use a table like this one to complete your answers. media_cameraUse a table like this one to complete your answers.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and social, Critical and creative thinking

2. Extension
Josh and Sara who work for Virgin Hyperloop were the first humans to test the technology. Sara described the ride as “exhilarating both psychologically and physically.” What do you think she means by this statement?

How do you think she felt physically?

How do you think she felt psychologically?

Would you volunteer to be the first human to test this technology?

Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and social

An adjective is a describing word. They are often found describing a noun. To start with look at the words before the nouns.

Search for all the adjectives you can find in the article

Did you find any repeat adjectives or are they all different?

Extension: Pick three of your favourite adjectives from the text and put them in your own sentences to show other ways to use them.

Have you used any in your writing?

HAVE YOUR SAY: Would you travel by hyperloop?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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