Bloodhound SSC Rocket on Track to Break 1,000 MPH

Offbeat

Check out the latest testing of the hybrid rocket engine and see how three engines will combine to take the SSC to over 1,000 mph.

Richard Noble held the land speed record from 1983 to 1997 after recording a speed of 633 mph in the Thrust2. He then built the first (and only) land vehicle to break the sound barrier, dubbed the Thrust SSC (Super Sonic Car), which was piloted by wing commander Andy Green who took the car to 763 mph in 1997. Green's latest project is the Bloodhound SSC, which aims to break the 1,000mph barrier while keeping its three steel wheels on terra firma. The ice-cool Andy Green will once more man the controls.

Its been years in the making, and while we are still some way off from the record attempt, the first test firing of the Bloodhound SSC's hybrid rocket has taken place. Three engines will power the earth-bound jet, producing a combined total of 135,000 horsepower.

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An EJ200 turbofan jet engine from the engine bay of a Eurofighter Typhoon will account for half of the Bloodhound's thrust, taking it to around 300 mph in fifteen seconds and on to 600 mph, and a rocket booster, with the help of a 2.4-liter Cosworth V8 F1 engine, will do the rest. Designed by 28-year-old Daniel Jubb, a self-taught rocketeer, the rocket combines solid fuel (synthetic rubber) with a liquid oxidizer (high-test peroxide), which react with a catalyst of fine silver to produce just enough heat and energy to blast the car and pilot to the target speed of 1,050 mph (Mach 1.4, or 469 meters per second) in twenty seconds.

In those twenty seconds, the 750hp Cosworth F1 engine will serve as a fuel pump, supplying 800 liters of HTP to the rocket at a rate of 40 liters per second. Working in tandem in the acceleration's final phase, the combined thrust of the two engines will be 47,900 lb-ft of time-warping torque.

Made from solid aluminum, the wheels will spin at over 10,300 rpm and be subjected to 50,000 times the force of gravity. When the time comes to slow down, the Bloodhound will decelerate at nearly 3g. During the testing of the rocket, around 35,000 horsepower was generated and 185 decibels was recorded at the rocket nozzle, which is loud enough to burst your eardrums. In a year from now, the Bloodhound SSC will make its first run at Hakskeen Pan in South Africa and hopefully hit a top speed in excess of 800 mph. After some more tweaking and reengineering, it should return in 2014 for the 1,000 mph attempt.

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