The aim: to hit over 800 mph and set a new land speed record.
In the last few years, the Bloodhound Land Speed Record project has made significant progress. Last year, the jet car was sent to the Kalahari Desert for high-speed testing, where it reached a staggering 628 mph. The next step? To attempt a new land speed record. Bloodhound has announced it will attempt to reach speeds of over 800 mph in South Africa in Q3 2021. If successful, this will beat the current land speed record of 763.035 mph set in 1997 by Andy Green.
For the land speed record runs, the Bloodhound LSR will be equipped with a rocket to provide extra thrust. This will be provided by Norwegian rocket specialist Nammo, which has designed a compact, zero-emissions rocket that will be used as a launch motor to put small satellites into space.
The Nammo rocket is a 'monopropellant' design that uses concentrated hydrogen peroxide as the oxidizer. Bloodhound explains how this is pumped at high pressure through silver gauze, which acts as a catalyst, causing it to decompose into super-heated steam (1,112 degrees Fahrenheit) and oxygen. The steam and oxygen are then channeled through a nozzle to generate thrust. As a result, there is no fuel 'combustion', which means there will be no flame or chemically harmful waste generated by the rocket from each run. Essentially, this means the Bloodhound LSR will be steam-powered.
Bloodhound is also currently working to optimize the auxiliary power unit required to pump the rocket's oxidizer. Originally, Bloodhound was planning to use a 550-horsepower V8 from a Jaguar F-Type, but this will now be an electric motor and battery pack with comparable power.
The team is also considering running the Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine on bio-fuel instead of Jet A fuel. "This is an extraordinary story of technology and human endeavor that will stand the test of time and the record we set may never be beaten," said Ian Warhurst, CEO of Bloodhound LSR.
"I'm also pleased that we are now able to bring many new, more environmentally-relevant technologies into the design of the project. To inspire future generations of engineers, we need to be doing this with relevant technologies. For example, the rubber-burning hybrid rocket is out and is being replaced by a clean monopropellant design. And the old V8 engine is being replaced with an electric motor - just as it should be."