Hold on to your hats: The US Air Force has accelerated a sled down a magnetic levitation track at an incredible 633 mph, setting a new world record in the process.
Researchers from the the 846th Test Squadron set the new mag lev land speed record at Holloman Air Force Base. The system uses liquid helium to elevate the sled using superconductor magnets, with rockets powering it down a 2,100-foot track.
By floating just above the surface of the track rather than touching it, the sled overcomes huge amounts of friction. With the same force behind it as a wheeled counterpart, then, it’s able to move way, way faster. In the past, it’s traveled at 513 mph so now the team has beaten its own record by an impressive 120 mph.
Currently the world speed record for a maglev train stands at 366 mph. The new record is by no stretch the fastest a sled has ever been accelerated down a track, but it’s a new milestone for magnetic levitation.