Virgin billionaire Richard Branson is taking up Hyperloop One chairman role

Virgin Hyperloop One hit about 240 mph with a travel circuit that magnetically levitates a pod and sends it through a tube according to a statement Monday

Branson stepping into the chair role comes as one of its board co-chairs, investor and co-founder Shervin Pishevar, has been removed from the company (as well as from his own investment firm) following allegations of sexual harassment levied against him.

The company today also announced a new $50 million round in funding to keep its futuristic transport ambitions afloat and the appointment of Richard Branson as non-executive chairman.

Other competing companies have since cropped up, including one backed by Elon Musk, who originally conceived of the mode of transportation.

Virgin Hyperloop One did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

On Monday, the company also announced that Virgin Group founder Richard Branson would become the startup's chairman. Hyperloop trains are expected to be used for cargo transport before moving passengers.

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"I am excited by the latest developments at Virgin Hyperloop One and delighted to be its new Chairman", Branson said. These two companies are based in Russian Federation and Dubai, respectively, with Virgin Hyperloop One starting off on its capital and running out, with 300 employees at risk of losing their jobs if more funding wasn't secured.

The test was performed in a complete hyperloop system with a working pod and the tube depressurized down to "the equivalent air pressure experienced at 200,000 feet above sea level". Branson's company has invested a unknown sum in the company, which renamed itself Virgin Hyperloop One in October.

The Hyperloop achieved a speed of 240mph in its testing facility in Nevada.

Hyperloop may also provide a safer travel option to traditional travel by train: On Monday, an Amtrak train derailed on an overpass in Washington state, killing three people and injuring 100 more. "All components of the system were successfully tested including the airlock, highly efficient electric motor, advanced controls and power electronics, custom magnetic levitation and guidance, pod suspension, and the vacuum".

In the defamation suit, Pishevar accuses Definers Corp, a Virginia public affairs firm founded by former Republican campaign managers, of generating the news reports as part of a smear campaign against Silicon Valley.


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