Waterloop pod nicknamed "Goose 1"

Waterloo’s Hyperloop team and their pod, nicknamed Goose 1, will make their way home from a California competition this week bolstered by feedback from SpaceX judges and competitors — and looking to the future.

This was the first opportunity for teams from around the world to get familiar with the mile-long SpaceX test track in Hawthorne, CA. Ultimately, only three teams were judged ready to take their pods to the track. Others — including Waterloop — were put through a series of preliminary tests and advised on what to improve in order to be ready for the next stage.

Waterloop stands out for design

Architectural lead, Montgomery de Luna, says Waterloop’s Hyperloop pod stood out on several fronts, including for its light weight and simplicity of design: with pneumatic levitation, a user-optimized braking system and the largest test track of all of the teams.

“We presented our design to the world, as well as to SpaceX's Elon Musk himself, gaining valuable feedback,” de Luna says. “The critique we received as well as our experiences in the competition will be instrumental in the development of our pod for Competition II this summer.

While Waterloop didn’t make the top five in this weekend’s competition, they will make adjustments and plan to return ready for the second stage of competition this summer. Weekend winners included teams from the Delft University, Technical University of Munich, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and rLoop — the only team not affiliated with a school. 

“Really, this weekend is about getting as much experience as we could, meeting the other teams and collaborating, combining technology to create the best ride possible in the future,” says Jake Malliaros, magnetic braking lead for the Waterloop team in a video update shared by the team.

SpaceX judges praised Waterloop’s design simplicity and attention to detail, Malliaros says.

Waterloop team gains valuable feedback for return to summer competition

“Of course they had ideas for improvement and ways to make it better. Basically, more things for better stability, better ways to handle impact,” he says. “It was very good feedback, even in the area of magnets, so, instead of just saying ‘no’ and not really talking about it, they really dove into giving us good support, ideas and suggestions that will help us improve.”

The team will take what they’ve learned back to their workshop and 300-foot test track in Waterloo, and plan to bring an even stronger design back to the SpaceX test track this summer.

“I really hope that we can build a winning pod, and make sure that in the end, this technology does see the light,” Malliaros says. 

Learn more about the Waterloop journey.