It’s been nearly eight years since the Bloodhound SSC project was first announced. Yet the supersonic land vehicle that promises to be the fastest ever devised has yet to run. But soon the wait will be over.
Having now received the necessary backing, the team has announced its plan to go after the current land speed record. We doubt that the current record-holders will be too peeved, though, considering that both projects are headed up by the same duo of engineer Richard Noble and pilot Andy Green.
With their previous project, ThrustSSC, they reached a record top speed of 763 miles per hour, breaking the sound barrier on land in 1997. Now they’re at it again with the Bloodhound, and are aiming to beat their own record.
To that end, the Bloodhound SSC team is heading to the Hakskeen Pan in South Africa, with the stated goal of reaching 800 mph. The effort is scheduled to take place in October of next year – 20 years since they raised the bar with ThrustSSC. To get there, though, they’ll have a monumental list of tasks to complete.
For starters, it has to actually complete the vehicle. So far the one displayed was strictly a dry “trial build” constructed in order to check that all 3,500 components fit together. Now it will take it all apart, documenting the process before putting it back together as a functional vehicle. It also has to test the Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine (the same used in the Eurofighter Typhoon jet aircraft) and the custom Nammo rocket system.
Once everything’s in place, the Bloodhound SSC will travel under its own power for the first time at Newquay, England, a year from now. The shakedown test will take place at “slow speed,” which in supersonic terms means “only” 220 mph. The team will even practice loading the vehicle onto a Boeing 747 cargo plane, which will transport the car itself and its 16 containers full of equipment to South Africa.
All the while, the ground crew will need to rehearse what’s termed as “the pit stop from hell.” After completing the first run in one direction on the day of the record attempt, the team will have 40 minutes to prepare it for the return run. Otherwise the attempt won’t count, no matter how fast it goes. What’s more is that the South Africa run likely won’t be the Bloodhound’s last: it’s designed to top 1,000 mph, and this time it’s only going for 800.
Clearly the Bloodhound SSC team has its work cut out for it, and we’ll look forward to seeing how it all comes together. In the meantime, you’re invited to check out the series of illustrative infographics and the video clip below.