China scoops Hyperloop with 2,500-mph supersonic ‘flying train’ idea
In the latest installment of wildly ambitious ideas to reinvent long-distance transportation, China’s state-run space contractor says it is researching a “high-speed flying train” capable of supersonic speeds of nearly 2,500 miles (4,000 km) per hour.
The concept from China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation envisions a passenger pod that uses magnetic levitation and travels through a near-vacuum tube. That also pretty much describes Elon Musk’s much-vaunted Hyperloop concept, but the Chinese version, if these things are to be believed, would eclipse the proposed 750 mph or so top speed of the Hyperloop. It also happens to be about four times faster than commercial air travel and three times faster than the speed of sound.
The agency says it owns more than 200 patents for the project and first aims to hit top speeds of 1,000 km (621 miles) per hour, Quartz reports. The plan is to export the “flying train” to 60 or so countries across Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
The state-run agency has been involved in developing satellites, rockets and missiles. China also operates the world’s fastest network of bullet trains, capable of an operating speed of 217 mph (349 km/h).
Meanwhile, Musk’s Tesla-branded Hyperloop pod just hit 220 mph (355 km/h), which breaks the 201 mph record set earlier this week by the Warr team from the University of Munich at the Hyperloop Pod Competition. Both records happened at the SpaceX test track at its Hawthorne, Calif., headquarters.