A sled on wheels levitated above a set of tracks in a vacuum-sealed tube at 70 miles per hour (113 km/h) in the Nevada desert, said the company Hyperloop One, heralding a first for its futuristic transportation technology.
Hyperloop One is working to develop an idea proposed by Elon Musk, the founder of rocket maker SpaceX and Tesla, who in 2013 suggested sending pods holding passengers and cargo inside giant vacuum tubes between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Backers of the project envision the pods reaching velocities of 750 miles per hour (1,200 kph), but skeptics say the project faces real-world challenges ranging from obtaining construction permits to making turns at jet speed.
California is developing a high-speed rail system, not a hyperloop, for the nation's most populous state.
On May 12, in the latest Hyperloop One test in the Nevada desert, the company's test sled for the first time levitated above a track using magnets, said Marcy Simon, a spokeswoman for the company.
It levitated for 5.3 seconds in a vacuum-sealed tube. By comparison, another test by Hyperloop One that made national headlines last year was done on an open-air track, not in the tube that is key to achieving high speeds.
The results of the latest test were released on Wednesday because the company is gearing up to send a pod hurtling down a set of tracks in another experiment in the next few weeks, Simon said.
The company hopes to reach speeds of 250 mph (402 km/h) in its next phase of testing.
Hyperloop One has raised $160 million in funding and has touted the technology's potential as a rapid-transit option.
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